Rounding out our mini series on improving your overhead position we come to the sots press. It’s an exercise that will truly expose any deficiencies you may have in mobility, stability, and motor control. My athletes do these at least once a week in two different variations. My exceptionally motivated athletes do them every day and doing so has brought about tremendous gains in the way of strengthening the upper back, improving mobility, and increasing comfort in the bottom position.
There are at least two ways to execute the sots press. The simplest way is to do it behind the neck with a snatch width grip. This is also known as the press in snatch. The second variation, and much more challenging, is the press in clean. It is executed from the front rack position and requires a great deal of thoracic and scapular mobility. Some lifters note in the beginning that they simply don’t know how to recruit those scapular muscles that help with the overhead lockout and support of the weight. In this way, the press in sots is a great neuromuscular education exercise as well.
Key thing to keep in mind. If you have the strength to press the weight overhead easily in standing, it reasonably follows that you SHOULD be able to press the same weight in the bottom of the squat. If you aren’t able to lift the load, what then is most likely the weak link in your lift? Chances are, it’s your squat that is the issue. Often times, lifters new to this movement will be so focused on pressing the weight overhead, that they allow their squat, which is their foundation, to fall apart. If you are new to the sots press, FOCUS ON YOUR SQUAT. Keep your hips engaged, knees out, your torso nice and upright, your feet flat and balanced, and stay focused on keeping that nice and solid. The press will not be easy, but you’ll set yourself up for greater success if you get your bottom well organized to serve as a string foundation from which to press the weight.
I hope that this mini series on improving your overhead lifts has been helpful. If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback, please let us know!