Introducing: Log clean and press!

Here is a video of me doing my first set of 3×8 log clean & press (“press” in this case means “get it overhead any way possible”) at 70% of my one rep max.

I do one clean and 8 jerks here, because we’re working on building my overhead strength for contest. My current 1 rep max in log clean and press is 105#, and the log at contest will be 120#.

That’s a long way to go.

A friend asked me, “How is a log different than the regular barbells?” I thought it was a great question that maybe others have, so I’ll share my answer here.

The log is different from a barbell in several ways. First of all, imagine a giant car muffler trying to strangle and crush you. Another friend wondered if it could double as a meat smoker. (Answer: Probably!) After a while, the barbell starts to feel more like a conductor’s baton than an actual weight-bearing implement.

Physically, the log itself is a giant 10 inch cylinder which, in order to hold in the rack position (on your chest between jerks/presses), you have to bend your back and look straight up at the sky. This requires a lot of thoracic mobility and a different orientation for your balance. When pressing with a barbell, you can look straight ahead of you at a fixed point; the sky doesn’t really have that. I once saw a crow flying with a cracker in its mouth, but usually it’s just blue sky ahead. That makes the balance piece much more challenging. Not to mention, the weight is positioned much farther in front of you, so it’s imperative that you keep your elbows high. Otherwise, the log will tip forward, and it will become extremely difficult to press up.

Then, when you’re pressing a log, you’re doing a much bigger loop around your head than you would with a barbell. In fact, with a barbell, you want to minimize the looping around your head by pulling your head back and out of the way. Pressing the bar straight up is key to utilizing the larger muscles in your back and not just the smaller arm and shoulder muscles. The log prevents you from doing this, however, because you’re already in a slight backbend in the rack, so you can’t pull your head back any further. It simply requires a lot more strength in a very awkward position.

And finally, there’s the psychological piece. When you’re in that rack position, you might feel like the log is trying to choke you out. It’s hard to breathe in a backbend with a heavy implement pressing down on your chest and neck. As coach Patrick says, “The log is trying to kill you. Don’t let it!”

For comparison’s sake, my most recent barbell jerk max is 143# (tested in February), and my current log jerk max is 105# (tested in April). So you can see the major difference in weight, at least for me at this point.

Here’s to making it to 120# for reps by September!!