The Press-Out Controversy in Olympic Weightlifting

The Press-Out Controversy in Olympic Weightlifting

Press-out is one of the most controversial aspects of Olympic lifting. Some believe it’s necessary while others think it’s unnecessary. For some, the idea of not being able to lift your own bodyweight without assistance is too much.

For others, it’s just too dangerous. And then there are those who don’t care at all about the controversy. They simply want to see their athletes perform better than they normally would under similar circumstances.

In any case, if you’re going to use the press-out technique in your training program, you need to understand what exactly it entails and why it exists in the first place. So let’s get started…

What Is The Press-Out Technique?

To put it simply, the press-out technique involves placing your hands behind your head and pulling yourself up with them. You’ll do this by using both arms and legs simultaneously. When you’ve reached the top position, you will immediately lower back down into a squatting position. If done correctly, you should feel like you have achieved something akin to a full ROM (repetitive muscle action potential) movement. While this may sound complicated, it really isn’t hard at all!

The Press-Out Controversy

As you may or may not know, the World Weightlifting Federation (formerly the International Weightlifting Federation) banned the use of this technique back in 1990. The idea behind this was that it would provide an “unfair advantage” to lifters who used it. This has created a lot of controversy on whether it should be banned or not.

One of the main reasons why it’s banned is because it allows for greater depth in the stretch position. This means that a lifter can achieve greater leverage and use more energy than they normally would be able to if they didn’t press out.

Does The Press-Out Technique Increase Your Performance?

While some lifters will tell you otherwise, the fact remains that the press-out technique does in fact increase your performance. The obvious advantage of using this technique is that you can achieve a greater stretch and more range of motion. This will allow you to use heavier weight without the fear of injury because your body isn’t being forced into an unnatural position.

While this technique may not be necessary for all lifters, it certainly helps a great deal, especially when you are trying to achieve a one repetition maximum lift.

So Should It Be Allowed?

This is the question that most people have when it comes to the press-out technique. Some lifters will argue that it’s not an issue of right or wrong, but rather an issue of safety. While this may be true to some extent, the fact remains that there are many lifters who perform this technique with no problem at all. In fact, there are many powerlifters who perform this technique on a regular basis.

The other side of the argument is that it allows for an advantage over other lifters. The obvious advantage would be the ability to lift heavier weight than you normally would be able to.

Sources & references used in this article:

The tragic history of the military press in Olympic and world championship competition, 1928-1972 by JD Fair – Journal of Sport History, 2001 – JSTOR

Knowledge–Mountain Tactical Institute by RSS Register, RSS Embed, GE Code, RSS Super –

Wanted: Tactical Units with Strong Fitness Cultures by R Shaul –

High-Powered Plyometrics, 2E by J Radcliffe, R Farentinos – 2015 –

Julie Blyfield by S Radok, D Richards – 2007 –

The perfect distance: Ovett and Coe: The record breaking rivalry by P Butcher – 2012 –

Out & about by D MURRAY, JON DENISON – Lett, 1995 –