Clean and jerk. Push press useless?


Aug 9, 2007
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A question to those of you who clean and jerk.

Is there any point in doing push presses when you do a nearly identical lift during the jerk phase of the clean and jerk? Dont get me wrong, the push press and split jerk are two entirely different lifts but they seem to work the same muscle groups and based on personal opinion I feel as though the split jerk is superior as a whole body power workout.
The push press is more of a strength move. I would guess that if you think that you lack upper body strength, doing both could make sense. For me, push press mess with jerk technique, so I try to limit push presses. I will be doing them during basic strength phases though.
A push press will help if your weakness in the jerk is the drive, or your weakness in the ohp is the lockout. Many can mask a poor leg drive in the jerk with good catch technique. The push press also involves more tricep strength with the pressout. In the jerk the arms do very little but catch the weight in full extension. Many olympic lifters today are poor pressers because they never have to use their pressing muscles.

It really depends on your goals. If you are doing ohp and jerks, you probably don't need to do push presses, unless the ohp or jerk gets stuck. If you are only doing jerks, you need to include a pressing movement.
Push press is a pressing movement the requires you to use shoulder/triceps to press the weight after an initial pop from the lower body.

Split jerk has no real press to it. There is a strong pop from the lower body followed by a split and catch in the overhead position.

Therefore, one is good for developing upper body pressing strength. The other is good for developing the jerk.

Pick the one that fits your goal the best or DO BOTH.

My push press is like a jerk without dropping into a catch. That is, I aim to maximize the contributions of my lower body but I don't split.

I drive and press.
It's all about goals.

If you're looking to just improve physical strength, then the push press is a better exercise since it's more based around pressing the weight. It incorporates most of the upper-body and puts a greater overload on the muscles.

The push jerk uses much more of the body to catch the weight and is great for developing a synergy between muscles and overall body-coordination and power.

Personally, I prefer the Push Press as I believe it is a greater strength builder. As far as I'm concerned, push press is a primary lift and OHP is a secondary lift. Granted, that's just what works for me.