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  1. #1
    smathews is offline Senior Member
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    Default Jerks vs. Presses

    I posed a question on another thread, but it got lost in the noise of creation vs. evolution and religious beheadings, so I'll repost it here.

    The original question was about whether pressing is a natural movement for humans. I'm not a physiologist, so this is a sincere question. It seems that the shoulder girdle and it's musculature is very well adapted to supporting heavy loads overhead, but not to pressing. As a bit of anecdotal evidence, I can strict press a 32k and not much more, but I have supported 175 pounds with one arm in an overhead lockout without too much struggle.

    Pavel and RKC put a lot of emphasis on the press. However, if the jerk can move more weight (or the same weight for more reps) than the press, and incorporates more musculature, then what makes the press so great?

    I know that some will answer "full body tension." I have worked with my hands since I was young, doing farm and construction work. In my experience, the only time I have needed full body tension is in lifting and carrying heavy loads- pulls, not presses. On the other hand, I have often used my legs to propel things overhead, as in jerks and push presses.

    It seems that the jerk is more functional than the press. Can an RKC explain why the press has unique advantages?

  2. #2
    Britt Buckingham is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by smathews View Post
    I posed a question on another thread, but it got lost in the noise of creation vs. evolution and religious beheadings, so I'll repost it here.

    The original question was about whether pressing is a natural movement for humans. I'm not a physiologist, so this is a sincere question. It seems that the shoulder girdle and it's musculature is very well adapted to supporting heavy loads overhead, but not to pressing. As a bit of anecdotal evidence, I can strict press a 32k and not much more, but I have supported 175 pounds with one arm in an overhead lockout without too much struggle.

    Pavel and RKC put a lot of emphasis on the press. However, if the jerk can move more weight (or the same weight for more reps) than the press, and incorporates more musculature, then what makes the press so great?

    I know that some will answer "full body tension." I have worked with my hands since I was young, doing farm and construction work. In my experience, the only time I have needed full body tension is in lifting and carrying heavy loads- pulls, not presses. On the other hand, I have often used my legs to propel things overhead, as in jerks and push presses.

    It seems that the jerk is more functional than the press. Can an RKC explain why the press has unique advantages?
    Aside from the ending position, the lifts are not that similar. Jerks are more a lower body movement with an overhead support. No doubt strength can be gained by support, but not in a full range of motion.

    Your anology would be similar to this....If can support 600lbs on my back out of a squat rack, so what would ever be the point of actually squatting with lighter weights?

    Having a strong press might aid soemwhat in a jerk, but as you alluded simply being able to jerk does not translate to a stronger press. If you only strengthen the lockout of a movement, that leaves a pretty big weakness throughout the other ranges of motion. From a different but related perspective...Not all training is done simply to put up max size numbers. There is a lot of injury prevention benifit from strengthening around a joints full ROM. The press does that in this case, the Jerk does not.

    You already know Im not RKC, but another aspect and possibility why... is that the press is a far less technical movement than a jerk. While you might be able to safely have someone pressing in a matter of minutes, the Jerk can take a lot more time to effectively acquire let alone master. I think it again boils down to fact that aside from the similarities in appearance of the lifts, they are really two entirely different movements with very different focuses on what is worked throughout the movement.
    JMO
    Last edited by Britt Buckingham; 03-29-2011 at 08:36 AM.

  3. #3
    David C. is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Britt Buckingham View Post
    ...Having a strong press might aid soemwhat in a jerk, but as you alluded simply being able to jerk does not translate to a stronger press. If you only strengthen the lockout of a movement, that leaves a pretty big weakness throughout the other ranges of motion. From a different but related perspective...Not all training is done simply to put up max size numbers. There is a lot of injury prevention benifit from strengthening around a joints full ROM. The press does that in this case, the Jerk does not.
    JMO
    There it is.

  4. #4
    smathews is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks, Britt. What you said about injury prevention makes sense. Perhaps I did not word my question well. It seems like the human body was engineered to jerk, but that the strict standing press with heavy weight is not a natural movement. Does this make sense?

  5. #5
    Steve Freides is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by smathews View Post
    Thanks, Britt. What you said about injury prevention makes sense. Perhaps I did not word my question well. It seems like the human body was engineered to jerk, but that the strict standing press with heavy weight is not a natural movement. Does this make sense?
    The human body can press less than it can jerk - that doesn't make either movement better, worse, or more or less natural, just different.

    -S-
    Flexibility Guide from kbnj.com

  6. #6
    Steve Freides is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Britt Buckingham View Post
    You already know I'm not RKC
    What are you waiting for? Come to an RKC weekend!

    -S-
    KBNJ.COM - Steve Freides, RKC Team Leader

  7. #7
    JasonL.Ac. is offline Senior Member
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    Great question (thank you for removing it from the trainwreck that is that other thread) and great answer Britt (and Steve as well). This is an example of dragondoor at its best, kettlebell lifters from various different perspectives (RKC, GS, and somewhere in the middle) comparing and learning from each other.

  8. #8
    BJones RKC is offline Senior Member
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    In my mind it's not jerks vs. presses it is jerks + presses + Get-ups +.....

    Get-up - a reactively stabile shoulder through great ranges of motion, connecting core to upper and lower body
    Press - strength and stability through the whole range of motion
    Push-press - connecting lower body power through a solid core to a stabile shoulder
    Jerks - similar to push-press except second dip etc...

    Which is "best"?
    Who are we putting the exercise on?

    Brett

  9. #9
    maxnavo is offline Member
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    I am not a member of the RKC - I earned my kettlebell cert. through the WKC organization. However, someday I will attend RKC when I have the money and the location is suitable, because I admire the RKC training methods for strength and conditioning purposes. The WKC is a great organization, and I endorse its kettlebell "sport lifting" practices. (I will not digress. I will not digress.)
    Back to topic: I have heard many discussions regarding the purpose of the human shoulder. For instance: It acts as a stabilizer; it should press; it shouldn't press; it should only assist in pulling; maintain the shoulder in its socket while performing exercise; do not motion it this way, that way; etc. etc.
    The fact of the matter is: The shoulder is susceptible to injury during any press and pulling exercise because of its anatomy, which is comprised of the three bones--clavicle, scapula and humerus--and joints. But correct me if I am wrong, isn't the knee susceptible to injury during many of its movements? (e.g. lateral, lineal, squat, squat jump, lunging.) Because the knee is susceptible to injury during these complex movements, should we as coaches, trainers and athletes constrict our practices/students to a moderate, lineal movement, such as walking? The response: Of course not.
    Instead, as a strength coach, I instruct and teach all movements. My students/clients practice these movements because life is the most unexpected test, and in order for an individual to succeed he or she must prepare.
    Occasionally, one must pull, press, stabilize and heft a heavier weight. Only the strongest survive.

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