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For 2017 America’s Strongest Man winner and Hi-Tech Athlete Jerry Pritchett, clean and pressing a log, which he started doing more frequently as he transitioned from powerlifting to strongman, helped him take his 551-pound bench to 617 pounds in just seven months. If it worked for Pritchett, it’ll work for you, too. Also, if you are interested in the sport, the log press is a great introduction to strongman implements because it’s the least foreign for everyday gym rats, compared with Atlas stones and truck pulls.
Below, Pritchett outlines how to do the log press.
1. Set up with the proper log in front of your shins, like a deadlift. (For men, a log of 12 inches in diameter is standard; for women, it’s 10 inches.) Grip the center of the handles and drop your hips.
2. Pull the log up your shins and onto your lap, with your elbows pointing up and out. Stand up and drive your hips through, rolling the log up your stomach until it’s sitting underneath your chin.
3. Dip your knees slightly, then push the log overhead. Quickly dip down again to get under the log. Ensure that your feet are together, your elbows are locked out, and your head is through your arms.
Work the full movement: While top-tier strongmen focus mainly on the top portion of the move—since it’s harder to press 400-plus pounds overhead than it is to clean it—Pritchett encourages newbies to practice the entire movement each time you do it. That’s a clean from the floor and then a press.
Be a jerk: The standard way to get a log overhead is to jerk it up, which is done by simultaneously engaging your lower and upper body. If you’re just getting started, keep it simple, Pritchett stresses. “Stick with a standard push press or push jerk,” he says. The split jerk is too clumsy.
Get a handle on it: The initial placement of the log’s neutral-grip handles is key, according to Pritchett, who says to tilt them away from you before you pull it so that you can turn the log toward you as you initiate the clean.
If you follow a traditional body-part split, do the log press for your main pressing movement. If you’re training for a show, designate a separate day dedicated to your events.