T Nation

Overhead Press

CT, given your expertise on oly lfiting I tougt that you could provide an accurate answer to this question: Whats the heaviest weight ever lifteted in a strict over head press manner? I have read that the record belongs to Ken Patera with a 535lbs lift, is that correct?

Leo, no the Russian Aleexev beat Patera’s record by about 7 pounds if I remember correctly.

[quote]Leo Solis wrote:
CT, given your expertise on oly lfiting I tougt that you could provide an accurate answer to this question: Whats the heaviest weight ever lifteted in a strict over head press manner? I have read that the record belongs to Ken Patera with a 535lbs lift, is that correct?[/quote]

No, Patera clean & pressed 505lbs in competition. He might have lifted more in training but it wasn’t official.

Patera’s lift (like all the pressers of that era) was more of a “Russian press” than a strict military press. Basically they bent back at the start, then give the bar a slight swing up by whipping the trunk back up, this helps the bar get off the chest. Then they rebent backwards (to a point where the torso/trunk would be almost on an “incline bench” angle. then finish the press.

That was a highly technical lift, and it required a ton of strength. But it was not a strict press.

Here is a video of the pressing technique I’m telling you about. This is Serge Redding, but all the supers used similar technique in their presses.

Doug Hepburn is probably the strongest strict overhead presser… he “only” did 380 in an actual olympic lifting competition, but that is because his cleans were much much weaker than his presses.

In training he strict presses 450lbs

kudos for the Hepburn knowledge. Shame so much of the old schools leaders can fade.
I wish like hell they’d put the press back in the Oly lifts --even if it was wonky compared to a strict military press I think it was the main lift the common guy could watch and “get” just how powerful these athletes were/are.

I love the other lifts but I think most viewers see it like how wrestling finally went–too technical to grasp how awesome what they’re seeing is.

Though the cross fitters might be scratching their heads as to why he’s not doing clean n press in sets of 30 reps.

[quote]pulphero wrote:
kudos for the Hepburn knowledge. Shame so much of the old schools leaders can fade.
I wish like hell they’d put the press back in the Oly lifts --even if it was wonky compared to a strict military press I think it was the main lift the common guy could watch and “get” just how powerful these athletes were/are.

I love the other lifts but I think most viewers see it like how wrestling finally went–too technical to grasp how awesome what they’re seeing is.

Though the cross fitters might be scratching their heads as to why he’s not doing clean n press in sets of 30 reps.[/quote]

  1. Of all the old school guys, Doug Hepburn is the one who has influenced me the most.

  2. When they removed the press from the olympics (I think they had to: (1) hard to judge, (2) made the competitions too long, (3) was potentially dangerous the way they did it) they basically took out the one lift where super strong, but slower and less mobile athletes could nake up some ground. When they removed the press they basically removed the strength beasts. Yes today’s lifters are super strong squatters, but they do not posess the overall strength that lifters once had. And the physiques also tend to be less muscular in the upper body.

Is that the video of the official competition record?

CT, not to be picky, but Paul Anderson was no slouch as a presser and was, in my opinion , a better cleaner than Hepburn. [Neither were that great in the clean although Anderson seldom used two spotters to hand him the weight before pressing.] Another great presser was the bodybuilder Marvin Eder, who weighted considerable less than either Hepburn or Anderson.

leo, yes, I think that is the press that set–or broke–Patera’s brief record.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

When they removed the press they basically removed the strength beasts. [/quote]
Would it be right in saying that the pressing being removed put the sport even more in favor of lifters on the strength speed part of the spectrum, and made it worse for those who were better with maximal strength? By that I mean that the faster lifter that doesn’t have as much brute strength and straining power had gotten a further advantage to the slow lifter that has a lot of strength with straining, and lifts that require less speed.

[quote]DSSG wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

When they removed the press they basically removed the strength beasts. [/quote]
Would it be right in saying that the pressing being removed put the sport even more in favor of lifters on the strength speed part of the spectrum, and made it worse for those who were better with maximal strength? By that I mean that the faster lifter that doesn’t have as much brute strength and straining power had gotten a further advantage to the slow lifter that has a lot of strength with straining, and lifts that require less speed.[/quote]

I don’t think so. I believe that they removed it because contests were too long and the press judging had gone down the crapper. After that coaches from the top lifting countries adapted their training and selection process to favor the quicker, more athletic lifters.

Leo & CT–an interesting story about Patera. Bruce Wilhelm had him out in California in the San Francisco area and arranged for him to workout at a local gym–I think it was Jim Schmidtz’s. Bruce took him to the gym and Patera walked over to the squat rack where some guy was squatting with 405 pounds on the bar.

Patera asked if he could work in with the guy and the guy said sure, assuming he’d have a squatting partner. Patera proceeded to lift the bar off the rack and press it overhead, warming up for his pressing session. Could you imagine being the poor guy busting his ass squatting that weight and some guy comes along and presses what you’ve been squatting? Talk about a deflated ego!!

I had the pleasure of meeting Patera and Wilhelm at the 25th anniversary of the Association of Oldtime Barbell and Strongman meeting in Newark a few years ago. Both guys were real nice and fun to be around.

I still can’t beat 195 :frowning:

@germanicus: I think that it was on the ironmind forum where I read about the 535lbs press by Patera. At least I know for sure that Schmidtz mentioned that Patera push-pressed 550lbs in training from the rack.

Leo, Bruce wrote a short book on Patera. Right off the top of my head, I can’t remember if Ironmind published it or not. At the aforementioned AOBS meeting both Bruce and Patera were sitting, along with Jim Schmidtz, at the Ironmind table with Randy Strossen.