T Nation

Passing Out /Push Press

Having conme back from a layoff a month ago, i’m getting back into the heavier (for me) weights. I train primarily for strongman and plan to compete next year. No i’m not expecting to set the world alight (i’m clean, for a start) but i do take it seriously.
My problem is that when i was cleaning and push pressing a near maximal weight, i started passing out as i locked out the weight. On my max weight, i actually did, dropping the weight forward and sitting/falling onto my ass as the world went black for a couple of seconds. Got up fine, laughed and carried on with higher rep sets.
I’m sure its my breathing and relaxing as the weight locks out after a strong valsalva during the clean portion of the lift. Anyone got any tips on breathing? When to exhale? Do you blow through pursed lips slowly? Anyone with olympic lifting experience got tips? I’m in the equivalent of Bumfuck Idaho and dont expect i could find a decent trainer without significant travel.

Sometimes I rack the clean and the bar sits too close to me, the bar is resting against my throat. This causes the blood to be cut off from my head. This might be something to look at.

As bluey notes, it is not unheard of in o-lifting for lifters to constrict circulation to the head when they rack the bar in such a way that it presses against the throat. That can lead to blackouts as the lifter comes up out of the clean.

It sounds like you have a different problem though, since you are blacking out when you press. You may want to check with a knowledgeable source on the cause(s) of blackouts before assuming it is a question of technique, just to be safe.

As for breathing, the general rule is to exhale forecefully when exerting yourself when doing an explosive movement (e.g. jerking the weight). When cleaning and jerking, most lifters will inhale after completing the clean and right before the jerk. Aside from helping with oxygen supply and blood flow, inhaling fills the lungs and thereby can have the benefit of raising the chest and shoulders in preparation for the jerk. Occasionally my coach would have to remind me to breathe after coming up out of a clean and before jerking.

When front sqauting I occasionally choke myself out if my head and body move forward, but this isn’t the problem when cleaning and push pressing. I wouldn’t call it a clean and jerk as i don’t split my legs and i don’t even pause after the clean, just break my knees into a slight sqaut at the top of the clean and power the bar straight up off my chest without a pause, using my legs.
I might try a pause- used it before but find i lose it if i stop to breathe as i break out of the shoulders down/chest high/inhale high in the chest position that locks the shoulder girdle for pressing.

I’ve had trouble with choking during a lock out, or at work with overhead work. My delts press on my carotid arteries and I start seeing the spots.

NUMBER 1 - STOP PRESSING MAXIMAL UNTILL THIS IS FIGURED OUT. No need of dropping anything on your head.

  1. Practice the breathing mentioned, but be aware that most folks reach maximal force while holding in a breath.

  2. Try a different way of pressing. I’ve been using an E-Z bar for the past year for push-press. Solved my problem, and the neutral grip is closer to the logs you’re going to see when you get into some competitions.

Take’er easy

good point- the EZ bar sill be a better hand position and closer to the width of the grips on a log - 24 inches apart aren’t they?. Used it before but only ever with a supinated grip - a real front delt killer. I’ll give it a whirl. What i really need is a log…