The 4 Overhead Lifts

Laurie Christine King works on overhead lift exercises in the gym.

It can be superrrr overwhelming trying to remember the differences between the  4 main overhead lift exercises if you’re new to lifting or just don’t do them very often.

All 4 movements start at the collarbones and end up overhead, but how they get there is pretty different. Keep reading!

The 4 Overhead Lift Exercises

Strict Press: all arms, no legs

Push Press: arms AND legs. You’ll bend your knees and perform a short dip, then explosively drive the bar overhead with the help of your legs.

Push Jerk: knees bend and we perform a short dip. We then explosively push up and quickly drop under the bar, catching in a quarter squat. Then straighten your legs, walk your feet in, open your hips, and stand up.

Split Jerk: knees bend, short dip, aggressively drive up bar and drop under as feet spread wide. The knee in the front should form about a ~90-degree angle, while the back leg is slightly bent with the heel off the floor. Then feet meet in the middle by walking front and then back foot.

With each movement covered, how much weight you can move will likely increase as each move becomes more and more explosive and dynamic — meaning you can likely move the least weight with Strict Press, you should be able to Push Press more than you can Strict Press, and then you’ll be able to move the most weight with Push and then Split Jerk. Not sure what weight you should use? Check this post out.


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