I want to give a HUGE thank you to Valery Fedorenko for the videos he’s been posting on YouTube. There is so much to learn in each of them. For me, this what really makes Kettlebell lifting so interesting – the constant refinement and nuances you can find when someone like Fedorenko shows you where to look.
In the video, Valery explains the difference between the Kettlebell Push Press and the Kettlebell Jerk. I know, most everyone “knows” the difference, but there were a few subtle points he brought up that made things very clear to me and gave me some things to work on. I actually commented back and forth with Valery on Facebook regarding the video. This was a BIG help and was greatly appreciated. The magic of the internet age…
REALLY Understanding the Details of the Kettlebell Push Press
So, of course, the next morning I HAD to go out and train the stuff Valery showed in the video. I kept it VERY simple and light:
- 12kg Kettlebell
- 1 min Right, 1 min Left, 1 min Right, 1 min Left
Why so little and so light? Two reasons:
- I have a weak Strict Overhead Press and a strong Jerk
- I wanted to BE SURE that I worked the details and DIDN’T turn the movement into a Jerk.
This is actually one criticism I have for “Speed at Any Cost” training and I’ve spoken about this in my blog response to Robb Wolf on Becoming More Efficient. I think my shoulders have actually become WEAKER because of my pursuit of speed over the last year. When you’re going fast, even if the Rx’ed movement is a Press or a Push Press, you’re going to turn it into a Jerk – especially if your Jerk is strong.
Another point here is that I used time instead of reps. I actually found it difficult to focus on all the things I needed to do to keep a GOOD Push Press going AND count reps. THAT’S how much was going on for me learning-wise. I couldn’t afford the extra attention to count the reps!
Here’s what I learned training the Kettlebell Push Press slowly and deliberately with the points Fedorenko made in the video
I naturally go back to a Jerk when I fatigue – This was interesting. It opened up a new level of understanding of Kettlebell training for me, actually. Here’s the thing. If you’re training the Push Press you need to ACTUALLY train the Push Press. Genius, right? Seriously! If you SAY you’re going to train the Push Press and you turn it into a Jerk, you’re not really gaining anything. At least in terms of the Push Press.
Pressing THROUGH the heels makes all the difference – This was a fundamental thing that Valery pointed out for me. When I Jerk, there is a very quick lift of the heels as I’m pressing up. I honestly can’t even explain the timing of it yet. I’m only just now aware of it because of Fedorenko’s comments to me on Facebook. The lifting of the heels is very quick and natural to me but I find it VERY DIFFICULT to NOT do it during the press. It will take a lot of practice for me to really push through the heels in the Push Press during an entire set, rep after rep, even when I’m fatigued. I currently have to REALLY CONCENTRATE to keep my Push Press from turning into a Jerk.
Maintaining a good Push Press rep after rep isn’t easy – There’s a lot of concentration involved and, if you’re like me, your body needs to REALLY learn the movement. If you naturally tend toward a Jerk when pressing overhead, it’s difficult – and even neurologically taxing – to do a proper Push Press and keep it clean, smooth and strict rep after rep.
Lifting the heels ON THE WAY BACK DOWN makes a big difference, but the timing is very tricky – Lifting the heels and coming up on the toes as the bell comes back down is a part of the Press/Jerk movement I’ve wanted to learn and train for a while. I have a better understanding of the timing now and I’m going to go after training it. It really takes some CONCENTRATION though.
Thanks to Valery Fedorenko for the GREAT VIDEOS and the personal comments that helped me so much
I’ve got A LOT of training to do, but I feel like I have a new appreciation for the subtleties of Kettlebell lifting, thanks to Valery. I also feel like this new appreciation is a GREAT BALANCER for my CrossFit training where speed tends to be King. As I said to my friend Fin on Facebook yesterday, the CrossFit and Kettlebell guys have A LOT they can learn from each other.