Sots Press - Swolverine

If you’re looking to build confidence, skill, and strength to improve your Olympic Weightlifting skill in the snatch, as well as the clean and jerk, then practicing the Sots Press is undoubtably the way to go. However, it is important to note that this movement does require a higher level o skill, coordination, and mobility, especially throughout the thoracic spine. Let’s get into how you can use this movement to advance your olympic lifts and overall athletic performance.

What Is The Sots Press

The sots press is an accessory strength building movement than an athlete will use in their training to increase mobility as well as strength in the back of the body aka the thoracic spine. By using this movement, where in a squat you press a barbell up and overhead in the snatch grip or traditional grip, you can also improve overall stability and coordination. This movement can be done from the front rack or back rack as well as with a wide variety of equipment, including a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells, etc. Is is important to note that this movement is not used in competition and is typically programmed at the beginning of a training session to familiarize the athlete with the catching and receiving position in the snatch. It can be done with an empty barbell or a loaded barbell depending on the abilities of the lifter.

Who Invented The Sots Press

There was a man by the name of Viktor Sots who won the World Weightlifting Championship Men’s 100kg during the years 1981 and 1982. As you can imagine, the movement itself, the Sots Press, was named after this man. But why? Well, everyone who watched this man compete and lift would see that he was the first weightlifter of his kind to utilize the squat jerk instead of the split jerk, especially during competitions. These days, the sots press is not just limited to pressing up and overhead from the front rack position, but from any position (behind the head, front rack position, etc.).

Sots Press - Swolverine

Muscles Worked By The Sots Press

The sots press works a variety of muscles in both the upper and lower body. From the top, we’re talking about the shoulders, upper back, mid back and core. In the lower half of the body the sots press works the lower body including the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. As far as mobility goes, you can see improvements in the control and range of motion throughout the major joints such as the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulder regions.

Benefits Of Sots Press

1. Strength

While the squat position alone improves overall strength in the upper and lower body, adding in the element of taking a load from the front or back rack position and pressing it overhead is going to strengthen the upper body even more. Improve your full body strength with the sots press in your warmups, especially on days where you have a lot of overhead movements, like snatches or overhead squats in your programming.

2. Mobility and Coordination

Sound mobility and coordination are the bread and butter of any successful weightlifter or Olympic lifter. The sots press is going to be able to improve both of these through regular practice and weight bearing in the overhead squat position with a barbell, whether empty or loaded.

3. Posture

Weightlifting and fitness training in general has a wonderful ability to provide the body with improved musculature which translates over into better posture and injury prevention. Since muscles support the skeletal system/bones of our body, and those bones work best when in line and protected. The sots press (for example) is going to help an individual with their posture not only in the gym and during olympic movements but out of the gym as wall.

4. Olympic Lifting Ability

The sots press is a great accessory and/or warmup movement for athletes to incorporate when looking to build skill, strength, and stability in the receiving position of a snatch, overhead squat, jerk, and even the split jerk. Since these movements do require a high level of mobility, getting familiar with the tension and stability needed throughout the body to support the load can greatly improve accuracy in the overhead position.

5. Competitive Advantage

For athletes looking to take their competition ability to the next level it is important that little movements, accessory movements, and skill based movements are not overlooked in the pre and post training modalities. After all, the more mobility, speed, strength, and accuracy a lifter has, the better. Incorporate the sots press to improve your overhead position, and if you can’t do it quite yet, then make sure to take the time to work on your overall mobility, then progress into the movement itself. You’ll thank us later.

How To Do The Sots Press

The sots press is a great movement for weightlifters, crossfitters, and just about any athlete looking to improve strength and mobility throughout the body. Here’s how to do the sots press.

  1. Start with a barbell or other weighted piece of equipment (we’ll refer to a barbell)
  2. Unrack the barbell or clean the barbell into a front rack/back rack position
  3. Decent into a squat position with the bar still in the racked position making sure to keep the torso upright
  4. Driving the load into the overhead position from whatever rack you start with, keep the torso upright and the core braced, allowing for the bar to get into the full lockout position overhead and the feet planted firmly into the ground
  5. With the bar overhead in the locked out position, stabilize, then lower the barbell back to the starting position

Kettlebell Sots Press

The kettlebell sots press is the same movement as the traditional sots press with a barbell. However, the biggest difference is that you can do this movement unilaterally, meaning with one arm, as opposed to both at the same time. This movement may allow for you to develop a better mind-muscle connection prior to using the barbell which  may include a little more mobility than the kettbells sots press movement.

Sots Press Benefits: Takeaway

The sots press is an important movement to use as a warmup or accessory when looking to take your weightlifting to the next level. Regardless of if you’re a weightlifter, crossfitter, or someone just looking to get stronger, this movement is going to put your mobility to the challenge. Not quite there yet? No problem! Instead of using a loaded weight, like a barbell or kettlebell, use a PVC pipe. Still can’t do it? Take a few steps back and work on overall mobility in the shoulders, hips, knees, and thoracic spine, then try it again.


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