Q&A – 47

PR Friday is a joyous day where we congregate like Vikings at a wooden table and discuss the week’s training. Join the discussion in the comments.

Last Week’s Challenge was kind of goofy, but it entailed going up and down some monkey bars. I’ll give the guy who did the most a discount to one of the books.

Next Week’s Challenge: Eat as many animals as you can in a meal or day. If you’re working with different cuts of the same animal, point that out.

Week In Review: It was a short week due to adventuring and drinking a lot of beer last week (before that trip I created a few posts to auto-post but didn’t really have a computer for a bit). The “Limited Training” post provided some ideas for guys that have a lack of time or equipment but still want to get a decent training session in. The “Manly Deeds” was just a recap from a few weeks ago of some of the amusing deeds they did, but I wanted to highlight how taodoju helped a mentally handicapped girl in the gym. Since I’ve grown up with a handicapped brother (and lots of different kids at various programs), I thought it was a very nice thing to do. Don’t be afraid to say hello to these boys and girls; they and their parents will probably appreciate it.

Next Week’s Preview: Two things will hit you in the face next week. The first will be a continuation of The Revolution, but winter style. The second will be the restart of 70’s Big  Radio, a podcast. Stay tuned.

Q&A

 

Gurdeep S. asks:
Rip is now teaching the press w/ dead stop every rep but using reflex off of hips forward to initiate each rep (here) I currently press with a bounce in similar fashion to this video of AC.
Rip claims at the end of this vid that you can handle more weight in this newer way than the bouncing style because of more muscle mass involved. Is this true? I could see that there may be less chance of the bar getting forward with the newer way taught because of the exaggerated hips forward to initiate every rep. Whereas, with the bouncing style the most exaggerated hips forward initiation will occur on the first rep. Does it matter?

 

Dear Gurdeep,

Let’s break this down into a few topics.

1. What is being taught. The “hip whip” prior to the start of the press is what is being taught. It was standard ops in Olympic weightlifting prior to ’72. Exhibit A and Exhibit B show you the technique. The “hip whip” is a push of the hips forward to lay back the torso with the bar on the clavicles or upper chest, followed by pulling the hips back to push the torso forward. This applies force to the bar to push it up, thereby helping the bar off of the chest. Note that in the videos, both lifters (including Serge Redding in the first video despite the front angle) are flexing and extending their knees. It happens quickly and was apparently difficult to judge, but there is clear knee movement in their presses. They then follow this hip whip with a layback, which was sometimes excessive. Rip’s CrossFit Total or pressing rules would limit layback to a line where the axillary (armpit) cannot move back past the glute — this was not the rule in pre ’72 weightlifting. So, to clarify, the “hip whip” to start the rep is what is being taught by Rip in the video.

2. Can you handle more weight his way? On a single repetition, yes. Is there more musculature being used? Yes, but in a similar that there is more musculature being used in a push press. Instead of thinking about inclusion of musculature, we should look at what musculature is contributing to the movement. In this case, the hips and abdominals are being used to lay back and then jut the torso forward. This is different than the pressing muscles solely applying the force at the beginning of the rep.

3. As for Gurdeep’s assumption that it would be harder to get the bar forward, this is not effected by the technique as the lifter will still need to keep the bar close to their face and get under the bar in order to prevent the bar from going forward. In other words, this hip whip does not effect forwardness of the bar.

4. What is my opinion? My opinion is that I want people to use the press to increase their upper body strength, augment their bench press, and get bigger muscles with it (this doesn’t mean Rip disagrees, and I’m sure he agrees with at least the first two things). While more weight can be handled with this method, it is for a single repetition. On multi-rep sets, the lifter will need to do what AC does, and that’s seamlessly use “touch and go” reps. Touch and go creates a stretch reflex in the muscles which is why AC’s second rep is a little faster than his first. The point isn’t about the stretch reflex; the point is that the subsequent reps require different mechanics than the hip whip method.

Even lifters who have received coaching do not press or bench well. Their grip is off, their elbow position is poor, and their shoulders do not have good external rotation. It’s why I made the unnecessarily shirtless video below (“3 Press Fixes“). We lifters are pressing for one of four things: a) to have a strong upper body, b) to augment the bench, c) to have a big, legitimate press, and d) to get jacked as a result of using the press. If a person is not properly externally rotating the shoulder (and therefore keeping the elbows “in” during the movement as opposed to flaring them), then none of these things are achieved. This means that the “3 Press Fixes” are more important than anything else.

Personally, I deem the “hip whip” as a more advanced technique. Barely anyone that I’ve coached in any setting — seminars or otherwise — has pressed with optimal technique. Until they did so, I wouldn’t worry about teaching a “hip whip”.

5. Besides, there are two problems with the “hip whip”. The first is that it encourages spinal movement, whether that is with anterior/posterior pelvic tilt or movement at the thoracic/lumbar junction. I don’t want trainees moving their spine under any circumstances during any barbell movement, so I will not bother teaching them something that opens them up to do so until they have solid mechanics (and a solid trunk).

The second is that since I teach particular wrist, elbow, and shoulder positioning, it is not a requisite for the bar to sit on the clavicles or upper pecs. In fact, when people do this, it usually results in poor wrist position (see the video, the wrist is not a close-compacted joint, creates torque at the joint, and therefore reduces force application to the bar). If someone were going to hip whip efficiently, then they would want their torso in full contact with the bar — like on a push–press — to fully take advantage of the force application from the hip whip itself. The hip whip inherently accepts the fact that there is an arbitrary amount of upward force applied from the hip whip and therefore not being applied by the pressing muscles (shoulder flexors like the anterior deltoid and elbow extenders like the triceps). This fact could potentially be a deterrent for its use, though a counter point would be that there is more weight locked out at the top. Still, I’d rather have full muscle action through a full ROM as opposed to removing the muscle action in the very beginning of the movement. A hip whip press is similar, but not exactly like, a push-press in that the lower body muscles get the bar out of the bottom position.

The third problem is that the hip whip encourages knee flexion and extension. This doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be coached, but lifters will not always have someone like Rip standing there telling them to do it correctly.

6. Given that the hip whip encourages spinal and knee movement, reduces an arbitrary amount of force application from the pressing muscles in the beginning of the movement, and is overly complicated for beginner lifters who almost always cannot perform the basic mechanics (which will effect which muscles are utilized and how efficiently they act), I think that it’s not necessary to teach until someone is an advanced presser. Also factor in the fact that the press is not a competitive lift, and it just solidifies the lack of utility — especially for the average lifter — for this movement.

Instead, I would not have a problem with someone using a bit of dip on their first rep to utilize a stretch reflex. This, of course, would not be allowed in a competition, but there isn’t a sanctioned competition for pressing so it doesn’t matter. The way it differs from the hip whip is that the pressing muscles are actually applying force on the bar from the very bottom ROM as opposed to the lower body moving the bar an arbitrary amount out of the bottom. A preceding stretch reflex makes allows greater contraction whereas the hip whip does not. You can see an example in the below video (Note: I am not a great presser and I would not accept this technique in a competition, but it’s used for muscle action and strength, not for competition).

 

So, Gurdeep, for the reasons above, I do think it matters. I would only teach the hip whip to someone if their mechanics were solid and there was a competition in which the press were contested. Still, if they weren’t easily pressing over 200 lbs, I wouldn’t worry about it. Especially since a competition that will actually include the press with strict standards doesn’t occur very often.

 

Hello Justin,

What do you think about programming deficit deadlifts for a period on a TM template? I currently doing a 5rm in deficit deadlifts on the intensity day. I’m thinking about staying with this exercise for a couple of months, and will wait until my next meet (end november) to do a regular pull, and see how that goes.
Any thoughts and comments from you on this?
Thanks for a great site,
Chris BDM
Dear Chris, 
To be honest, I haven’t programmed deficit deadlifts that much or in the way you describe. Depending on the advancement of the lifter, I may be hesitant to administer them since they will slightly alter the mechanics. If a lifter’s normal deadlift mechanics are solid, then I don’t have a problem. The first instance that I would use them in would be as an “active deload” alternated every week. I got the idea from Johnny Pain in this podcast episode (also discussed a little here in the first question). Basically an active deload would alter the movement so not as much weight was used to reduce the stress. In the case of deadlifting heavy every week, a lifter may benefit from alternating that heavy week with a lighter stress day. This is what I essentially do in the Texas Method: Advanced by alternating heavy and speed deadlift days, but you could do the same with something like deficit deadlifts.
Anyway, your question is just asking about them in general. In general, I don’t really have a problem with you doing it. However, I do have a problem with you not doing a regular pull until your meet. I’d rather you get a month or so of pulling regularly because the deficit will slightly alter your mechanics. Several years ago when we were using the terrible “halting deadlift” to try and push deadlift strength (which it didn’t), it significantly altered mechanics where the fellas didn’t like it at all. I don’t know if the deficit deadlift will significantly alter your mechanics, but that’s not a chance I’m willing to take. Besides, I think you could get better progress by using a different approach (like the aforementioned Texas Method: Advanced stuff). This does NOT mean that your approach will be unsuccessful. I’m curious to see how it goes, because it will essentially allow you to linearly progress the deficit dead every week. You are actually handling less weight than you normally could on a regular deadlift, and it could possibly help your off the floor strength (though this is not typically an issue with guys who have trained properly).
Let us know how it goes. Be sure to point out what program you were using in the preceding months before going to the deficit deadlift and detail your progress by using it. I would still have you do some conventional pulling in the final month (but not anything heavy within 7 to 10 days of the meet).
Ritchie S. asks
Competed in a comp on the 6th, took a week off like you advise in the 2nd Texas method ebook, back at the gym today and feeling very weak, is this normal? How should I be implementing the TM after the week long break.Thanx

 

Dear Ritchie,

You’ll feel weaker because of the hormonal change due to the (assumed) modest peak and time off. The first week back should be considered a ramp up week. You could ascend your volume work and keep the weight a little lower on that first day. It’s also not a bad idea to do a Light-Medium-Heavy set up on that first week back. This is standard though. You’ll be back to crushing weights in no time.

 

101 thoughts on “Q&A – 47

  1. Thoughts:

    Please read and respond.

    Simply doing push press instead of ‘strict press’ (even though what rip is teaching is not really in my opinon a strict press, it’s a misguided push press), solves the problem he believes he is solving with this new ‘strict press’. How a strict press is generally initiated is analogous to an andersen squat, and it’s pretty obvious to me that this fails to acknowledge the method by which the body outputs force: stretch reflex, the lengthening a muscle under load. You cannot use the stretch reflex if you start a strict press from the rack. So, why not jerk the bar up and begin the rep from the top? I have been experimenting with this for heavy singles and double and I very much prefer it.

    Additionally, in my opinion, a strict press is less ‘functional’ than a push press because it does not involve hip/knee/ankle extension. Simply put, in my opinion, using your hips to output force whenever possible is more functional than restricting leg flexion. If you are going to be using any lower leg flexion in your movement (e.g., Rip’s new press) simply realize that this is occurring, accept it, and do push press instead. Cal strength agrees that push press is a superior strength building exercise than strict press. Most olympic weightlifters consistently push press.

    Thanks,

    Will

  2. Hit a deadlift PR of 405 at 185# BW. Less than a year ago I was struggling holding on to 315, which was my max at the time. But now I can say that I pulled 405 without any problems with holding onto the bar. So a grip PR too, I guess!

  3. Interesting press info abounds! I am excited for the www to go off now that Rip has released that video.

    I am going to an SS Seminar in January. Pressing is my “best” lift, and I am dreading him dismantling it, tearing me apart, being a dick, and then I’m left pressing less than normal using his “new” way. But, muy interesting nonetheless.

    I worked up my press using the hip whip, and breath in the rack, but my work set was down w/ the stretch reflex/ breath at top style.

    Snatch 115 x 2 x 8
    LBBS 250 x 5 x 3
    Press 140 x 5 x 3

    3x 2 Glute/Ham lowers + 8 barbell rows @ 135

  4. This week I PR’d my bench press even after not benching for months and being on a low-calorie cutting diet for a month. I’ve actually been training my strict press very hard during this time and managed to increase it significantly. Yesterday I pressed 120 for 3×5 (missing only the final rep of the final set.) I remember a few months ago I couldn’t press 120 for 1.

    So, I decided to try benching again to see if it would carry over much. I’ve always had a bad relationship with the bench press and I don’t like doing it, but it’s holding me back from the 1000-pound club. My previous PR on bench press was 185×2, failed on 200. This week I worked up to 205 for 1 rep and probably could have gone a little higher, but I wanted to leave some for next time.

    TL;DR: 20 pound bench press PR, while on a cut! Bringing my total to 910. Once I start a gaining cycle again, the 1000-pound club is within reach.

  5. I’m posting my animals eaten from Saturday:
    Chicken eggs, bacon, and pork sausage in the morning.
    Turkey and some poor bug for lunch.
    Deer chili, deer/beef hamburgers, and grilled squirrel for dinner; Corned beef hash for a side.
    We were going to add raccoon to the mix, but the glowing eyes from the tree turned out to be sap…