THE BENT PRESS
The dumbbell exercises have led up to this lift. After having practiced them for some time you should be ready to learn the bent press. If you an press about 110 pounds in the two arm military style you should press about 50 pounds in the one arm military press and about 125 pounds in the bent press.
Getting the weight to the shoulder is of course the first part of the lift. If you happen to be one of the tall fellows who can pull more weight to your shoulder than you can jerk with one hand, you can get great fame by cleaning and bent pressing the high poundage that practice in this lift will make possible for you. If you are a better jerker than a cleaner, you lift the weight to the hip with the assistance of the other hand. To do this, hold the lifting hand with the knuckles in the opposite direction, under the lifting hand. Then with a sudden effort, lift the weight to the shoulder.
One hand the entire way has been used in some sections and it was with this style that the Englishmen, Inch and Aston both pressed more than 300 pounds. In this style the bar is stood on end. The lifter bends under the bar, getting it to drop so that the hand holds it and then is ready for the real part of the lift.
Assuming that the lifter is to press with the right hand, you stand with the feet 18 to 24 inches apart and at right angles to each other. The arm is held well back of the hip, resting tightly against the muscles of the back.
You should not lean only to the left but slightly to the front, and to balance the weight, you will notice that the right leg is straight, that the weight is resting on the hip and can be held easily as the elbow is held in the vertical position, and there is a solid column of bone from the bell to the floor. The left leg is slightly bent. The arm held out straight to the side to balance.
You now commence the lift by leaning to the side and toward the front as you go down. This is why the lift was called by many the "Screw Press," as you twist to the left and front, keeping your eye on the ball as you bend well over. As you body bends far to the front and side, your arm raises upon the muscles of your bock. At this stage you make a real effort with the arm, pressing it to straight arm's length overhead. In the meantime, the non-lifting arm has been placed first upon the knee then slid to the side and down, so that the arm and finally the arm pit rests upon the knee.
Straightening up with the weight is one of the hardest parts of the lift. You quickly bend the legs, making the body more erect. Then pressing with the non-lifting hand, you raise to the erect position. The lift is not so hard to perform, as at just two stages of the lift real effort is required. This while pressing the arm straight and while rising with the bell.
There are several points that you should remember in making this lift. The barbell at the start of the lift will be turned well around so that it is nearly parallel with the shoulders, almost at right angles to the feet.
It is best to learn this lift rather quickly, bending suddenly to the side and front, keeping an eye on the bell and getting the arm straight as quickly as possible. This was the style used by Arthur Saxon, who holds all the records in this lift.
Some lifters prefer, instead of sliding the arm down the entire wy and resting upon the arm pit, to keep the hand upon the knee so that it will bear part of the weight, making it easier for the side and back and assisting in raising to the erect position.
You can easily see how, in performing this lift, the body moves like the thread of a screw. This lift has to be learned, as it doesn't come naturally. Some will never learn it, while others will get the hang of it in a few days' time. But it is well worth practicing, as through this lift you can make a better showing than with any other. You can easily learn to press a person weighing as much or more than yourself, and press other heavy objects as well as a barbell.
ONE ARM SNATCH
Most experts consider this the key lift. The lift that, if properly mastered, will lead to skill in all the other lifts. Dick Bachtell, who in a regular contest came within a pound of the world's record in this lift, has a simple description for the performance of it: Just "pull up and sit down." This is actually the way it is done. But there are many other things to remember also.
Assume the position shown in the illustration. Observe that the back is flat, the feet a comfortable distance apart, the bar as close to the shins as possible without touching it, the non-lifting arm is upon the opposite knee ready to assist the lifting arm with a vigorous push.
All lifts are done in a variety of ways. All men preferring a style that they can use to best advantage. Most lifters use the hook grip, encircling the bar with the thumb and in turn encircling the thumb with the fingers. This assures a tight grip on the bar and makes possible a harder pull. In taking the position shown in the illustration, it is not wise to remain in this position an instant longer than necessary as this may tire or cramp the lifting muscles limiting their jumping power.
It is hardly possible to dive for the bar as is done in the two hands lift by many lifters. But it is possible to hook the grip so quickly while grasping the bar that little of the rebound, usually attained by the dive, is lost. Some lifters have a grip sufficiently strong that they don't require the hook grip and can use the dive if they wish.
For those who prefer to really hook, a good rebound can be had by straightening the legs while grasping the bar. Then suddenly bend them, flattening the back and preparing to pull. Some good foreign lifters lean upon the bar with the lifting hand, starting with the feet fairly close together. They then skip the feet to the desired distance apart and lift as they bring their feet to the floor.
Regardless of the style, the object is to pull the weight as high as possible. Make a mighty effort, using the power of the legs, the back, the thrust of the non-lifting arm against the knee and the pull of the lifting arm and shoulder. Keep the body fairly erect, doing much of the work with the legs. Pull the weight up as close to the body as you can.
Although a good one hand snatch is done so quickly that it seems to be but one movement, others are two actual movements blended into one. Pull as high as you can to the position shown in the illustration and then suddenly drop to the low position shown. Some few lifters split the feet from front to rear but all good lifters really sit down in the manner Dick Bachtell described. It is best, if you will notice by the illustration, to bend to the side away from the lifting arm, resting the back of the non-lifting arm on the armpit against the knee.
Most lifters make about a 1/4 turn or at least a partial turn to properly get under the bell. They are nearly sitting on the heels. Regardless of how the lift is performed, the lifting arm must instantly go to the straight position without and press-out of the weight. The lifter must quickly arise to the erect position, standing with the feet on a line until the referee claps his hands, signifying the lift has been completed.
ONE ARM JERK
To most men the clean is by far the easiest part of this lift. Shorter men, in particular, have no difficulty jerking anything that they can clean or pull to the chest or shoulders.
The starting position of this lift is practically the same as in the one arm jerk, except that the palm is toward the front in the one arm jerk. The hook grip is almost always required to make a commendable one arm clean. Those lifters with short fingers in particular will press down on the bar with the lifting hand encircling the bar as far as possible with the thumb. Then complete the hook and you are ready to start. The pull is given to the bell in the same manner as in the one arm snatch.
Tall men hardly dip at all to get the weight to the shoulder. Shorter men will get as low as possible, greatly shortening the distance that the weight has to be lifted. Most lifters handle the weight as shown in Illustration No. 1, Course 3.
The majority of lifters while pulling the bell high suddenly pivot the body a 1/4 turn, catching the weight at the shoulder. Others, those who clean easier, as a rule pull the weight back, turning slightly as they do so, catching the weight to the shoulder.
Most weight lifters find it best to support the weight by resting the elbow on the hip. In this style you lean slightly back, keeping the leg under the bell straight with most of the weight resting on that leg. The forearm is perpendicular and the weight is resting in the palm of the hand. The body is inclined to the side away from the barbell and non-lifting hand thrust out away from the body for balance.
If you are holding the weight entirely free of the body, but resting it against the shoulder, or with the hand and forearm resting against the side of the chest, you proceed in this manner: Stand with the feet a slight distance apart and the foot on the lifting side slightly advanced. You then bend your legs slightly and with a sudden rebound, shoot the weight upwards, putting your whole body and arm power behind this effort, dipping under the weight as it ascends. If the weight you're using is not heavy, you need not dip very low, but with a heavier weight you must use either the squat or split style, or use a combination of these two. The idea, of course, is to drop low enough to get the lifting arm straight. Some lifters will drop straight to the side as in the bent press position while others may choose a style best suited to them.
Another style often used: Start with the elbow resting on the hip, the forearm against the body, the leg on the lifting side advanced and the feet a bit farther apart than in the style just described, you will lean towards the side away from the bell and stand with the other leg partly bent. Then by bending the legs slightly, you straighten them suddenly, and heave the weight overhead as high as possible. Then dropping to the side, or straight down, or into the position as shown in the bent press or one hand snatch illustrations. The lower you drop, the easier of course will it be to get the weight overhead, and the more weight will you be able to handle.
Hardly any two men do this particular lift alike, or for that matter, any of the lifts with the same style. Work on these general principles and the style with which you can do your best will quickly prove to be advantageous for you.
Enjoy Your Lifting!