T Nation

Log Pressing


#1

Two years ago I couldn't OHP 65lbs which was really embarrassing becuase I was about 325lbs at the time. I worked my way through a lifetime of bad and weak shoulders and now press pain free.

Recently I started training at a gym that has sleds, stones, more diferent bars that the French Quarter in New Orleans, and logs. I hit a max of 150 with the log last week but this week I could not get it to rack right, get under it and press right. My shoulder mobility is still not great, another work in progress, but part of the reason I like the log is the slightly shorter ROM takes some mobility out of the equation.

So, my question is, is there any exercise recommendations for racking the log, or asistance for the log c&p in general?


#2

I'll address mobility first, then some other practical things to do during the actual event itself.

A side to pressing mobility that is often overlooked is your hip mobility and lat/shoulder tie in mobility. If you have a posterior pelvic tilt, chances are (highly) that your upper back is suffering from some kind of kyphosis. Intuitive/dynamic stretching within your hips, adductors and glutes can help your body in alignment with the press. As for the lats, it plays a huge role in your ability to put weight over your head. The lats are like the supervisor of your overhead mobility. If your shoulders have a good range of motion, but you've got an impinged tie in to the shoulder via lat, you won't be achieving much of anything. Try rolling and/or giving your lat some good time to open up before you press. It's made a big difference in my pressing, but also things like front squats.

In regard to cues and other practical stuff during the press, I'll just give a brief explanation of the entire lift itself.

First thing I do when I approach a log is angle it so that the end of the handles that are closer to you are angled up a bit and I grab about a half inch toward the back (again, toward me, NOT away.) In doing this, it allows for two profound things to happen. This makes it so when the log is picked from the floor, it won't be AS far from your base of support as it otherwise would if you grabbed toward the center of the handles.

Remember, because of the nature of the log, when it is deadlifted, it is further in front than a deadlift or clean, so grabbing back a bit with angled up handles makes it much easier to get off the floor and into your lap. When it's in your lap, flare your elbows out to the side, hug the log against you, and stand up as fast and aggressively as possible. The clean's all about triple extension and hip drive. Once on your chest, the aforementioned half-inch back hand placement will help to create a higher rack position, allowing for a stronger press.

To summarize..
-Mobilize your hips and lats too
-Angle the log so the back end of the handles are facing upward
-Flare out your elbows and stand up aggressively for the clean to the chest, hugging the log to you hard
-With elbows forced in, and up, visualize pressing behind your head, catching the log

The log press is one of the most difficult events, and it's also very hard to become exceptional at, so practice and don't be discouraged immediately.


#3

Thamks Vinny, that's what I was looking for.


#4

How did you do that?


#5

Lorez, I started by benching on a smith machine, because I could focus on form safely (no training partners). I kept elbows in, lats engaged, and taught/forced myself to get my shoulder blades mobile and in place. I did everything from the Dave said in the so you think you can bench press vids. I stretched between sets but really didn't know real mobility style stretching. After a while I started finding the right form for me, the "feels strongest" form, so I'd get that form no matter how long it took before I'd bench. I moved off the smith onto the real bench.

At the same time all the articles seemed to concour that OHP was the best way to a stronger bench, especially if your shoulders were a limiting factor...so I started. I used the same, (still do) cram myself into form, set up, roll shoulders into place, get back, abs, and gluts tight (on any lift from empty bar to 1RM) rack and lift. I really, really sucked in the begining. I channeled the embarassment of a guy 1/2 my size warming up with more than my max into aggression and kept pushing. At this point someone took the time to correct my form, closer grip and push the head through, actually press to the sky instead of the almost standing incline press I was doing.

So I guess it was strengthening the base muscles, getting some mobility back in my shoulders, persitance and practice. I have a martial arts background and have good body awareness, so when iI learn good form I can usually repeat it.


#6

Quick update: i took a deload last week to heal up. Today, my form felt much better and on most of the lighter lifts I fell into rowing the log directly to my chest and standing into the rack. The rack, part of my problem before, felt much better, stable and almost comfortable. 140 went up like nothing, but 150 stalled about nose level. In hindsight, I think it was drifting in front of me instead of up. I did some light push presses trying to press, just pop it, after to grease the groove there. I think I should add these to my routine, maybe as a finisher to OHP.