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.
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?
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
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
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.