Try-This Tuesday: Rotational Press (Reverse/Open Version)by Jen Sinkler
When I played rugby, I loved offense. Some players lived for the sport’s defense, the opportunity to make crushing tackles. But to me, the point of defense was simply to play offense again as soon as possible. (With the exception of basketball: most annoyingly persistent defender = most fun to be had, imo.)
Being good at sports, I think, aside from the obvious yadda ya about being physically kitted out for whatever the job at hand, means, at least in part, that you’re good at being nitpicky. Finding the problems, the seams, the gaps, the cracks in defense, the holes in the story.
When I played rugby, I loved the change of direction, and the anarchal cascade of options a shakeup presented. The potential for it, and also the actuality of the wind in my hair, moments slow, geometry revealed and breakthrough made. A physical revealing of overconfidence. Games people play.
Sometimes, that means pulling back for a second, getting a better look at what you’re up against.
If you’re very lucky, you have a chance to.
The thing about pulling back is that it often threads the defense unevenly through the space you’ve vacated, and a spot appears behind the heels of the next player in. Go. Be ready to go. The time is now.
Then, slipping in behind, through the opening gap, a cracked-opening seam of light that runs the whole way through, if you’re lucky again, or at least leads to a next web of feathering cracks. Lots of potential, some paths more direct and incisive than others.
But first you have to pull back.
There are at least two ways to do a rotational press. You may be familiar with the version where you cross the rising weight in front of you, pivoting your same-side hip into it so your body is in line from the ball of your pivoting foot to the top of your fist. Like a superhero [POW!] move, a pop across.
I love that version, too.
But this kind is interesting to me: this reversal, pull-back, squeeze-back-and-press-open version offers a set of fascinating sensations and options for the body to contend with. Rotational strength in reverse, with a press. (You’ll see how fun.)
This is a useful movement that will mightily improve your upper-back strength and develop better controlled(!) rotation through your thoracic spine. This middle segment of your spine is the one is designed to rotate the most, so while you should never force a twist, explore your naturally spiraling strength in this position.
Worthwhile: Noticing where in the weight’s path feels like you might benefit from more time spent. Where you can get stronger.
As always with new movements, start with light-for-you weight and go from there.
Picture it: Your heart as a corkscrew, spiraling upward, opening to all the love raining down from above.
- Clean a kettlebell into the racked position. (For a clean tutorial, hit up the exercise library.)
- From the center of your ribcage and in a controlled motion, rotate the weight across the front of your body. This is your starting position.
- Initiating the movement with the holding-side shoulder blade, rotate your body backward, turning on the axis of your spine while simultaneously pressing the weight up and back while keeping the weight stacked over your elbow and finishing with the weight above the same-side shoulder.
- Return the weight under control via the same path. Repeat for desired reps, then switch sides.