The Overhead Edition

Here we continue our conversation on lowering weights in the gym and in life. In the last installation we discussed the deadlift and now we will address the do’s and don’ts of reracking weight from overhead back to the shoulders.

DO re-rack weights from overhead. This is a coordinated skill you should learn just like learning to squat or do a box jump. Learning this skill will help protect you as an athlete and as a human who wants to interact with your world. Re-racking weights will make you stronger and it is safe in appropriate loads with proper experience and training.

Both CrossFit and the sport of Olympic Weightlifting utilizes progressions. When it comes to the overhead lifts we teach you the strict press first then the push press, push or power jerk and finally the split jerk. This progression in particular happens to load from lightest to heaviest. There is an increased risk in lowering heavier weights than lighter ones (shocker, I know!).
So to mitigate that risk let’s talk about HOW and WHEN.

Start by bending your elbows with control, then rise up to meet the bar and dip upon collecting it onto your front or back rack. You will notice some lifters even go up onto their toes to meet the bar before it reaches them. Once you receive the bar, dipping allows your legs to absorb the shock of the weight coming onto your spine. If you have ever leaned back or left your legs and hips locked when bringing down heavy loads, I am sure your back probably told you not to do that again. In short, a bad rerack will make your butt hole pucker!

Avoid re-racking weights above 80% of the maximum load you can put overhead. This rule of thumb is used unless you are so new to lifting, the load is too light to be of much risk or are an experienced weightlifter who can navigate the risk.

Follow the overhead progression by learning to re-rack with the strict press and push press where the loads will likely be lighter before re-racking weight you can jerk.

Choose to either re-rack to the shoulder or dump to the ground but do not try to do both at the same time in the same lift. Trying to go straight from overhead to the rack or stand is not controllable and frankly it is a good way to make it onto a gym fail reel on Youtube.

Re-rack when you have control and dump the load if you don’t.

If you are at the point as a lifter, where your ability to re-rack is holding you back from lifting top end weights for reps, keep re-racking at your capacity and comfort level and try using jerk blocks!

Just for fun I found what is claimed to be the heaviest re-rack on the youtubes for you to watch in shock and awe. Andrei Aramnau from Belarus took 529 pounds for a double on a split jerk. Don’t try this at home folks!!!!