We’re back with another blog post from Dr. Nick Hagen at IIP Lab. This week we’re talking about the dip phase of your lift and where your knees should be to produce safe and optimal power.
The dip is the power driver of the jerk and push press motions. It promotes is the principle of triple extension where your ankle, knee, and hip are all extending to produce power. The foundation of the dip is the center of gravity with the bar in the front rack position. You goal is to store your power in the dip followed by driving to push the weight over your head while maintaining the bar centered over your base of support (feet). Performing a deadlift or hip hinge motion would be inefficient, as you would lose the center of gravity.
There are two phases of the dip, the drop phase and the ascension phase. The drop phase is typically about 10% of one’s height. Here you are relaxing your quads and allowing the barbell to accelerate towards the ground. The second phase, ascension, is the transition into the press motion by pushing through your quads and extending your knees. The quicker you can transition from the drop to the ascending phase the more efficient your lift will be. The dip can be achieved with proper loading of the lower extremities. Both your knees and hips will bend causing a forward motion of your knees. However, if your knees are going so far forward they are passing your toes, you are likely dropping too low into the dip and thus not utilizing your hips during drop phase. Without the help of your hips you will have a slow transition to the ascending phase of the dip. All these components will reduce lifting performance and place you at risk for knee pain. A great way to practice the dip is to perform push press lifts with minimal weight facing a wall. You should be able to press overhead without hitting your knees or trunk into the wall.
A proper dip loads both the hips and knees promoting a quick transition from descent to ascent. Knees past toes will lead to loss of both power and strength.