A bent press is a type of weight training exercise wherein a weight is brought from shoulder-level to overhead one-handed using the muscles of the back, legs, and arm. A very large amount of weight can be lifted this way, compared to other types of one-hand press.
It has been said that more weight can be lifted with one hand in this manner than in the typical two-handed overhead barbell press. It was a staple of the old-time strongmen such as Eugen Sandow, Arthur Saxon, and Louis Cyr, but is no longer popular and poses safety concerns due to the contortion of the body and stresses placed on the shoulder joint and spine. However, proponents of the exercise argue that since it uses the leverage of the body in order to lift the weight, if done correctly it can be quite safe. Despite its name, the arm does not press the weight aloft.
To do the bent press, one would begin by lifting the weight to the shoulder (usually a barbell, but it could be done with a kettlebell or dumbbell), either by a one or two handed clean, or by lifting up one end and "rocking" it onto the shoulder. If done with the right hand (the reverse is done for the left hand), the right leg would be straight and directly underneath the weight, with the left leg bent at a slight angle. The lifter would then bend to the left, holding the weight in the same position. The bent position, the origin of the name "bent press", allows the arm to hold the weight in position without dropping down because of the body's leverage, creating an imaginary line between the bell and the floor that travels through the right arm and right leg. The lifter continues to bend to the left until the arm is fully extended. The weight is not pressed, but held aloft while bending "underneath it". To complete the lift, after the arm is fully extended, the lifter does a slight corkscrew to get "underneath the weight" in a half or full squat position, again without pressing the weight, and then once underneath the weight with the arm locked out overhead holding the weight, the lifter stands erect, still holding the weight overhead. The weight can either be dropped or lowered in military press fashion after the lift is complete.
The world record in the bent press is 370 lbs by Arthur Saxon, but there were unofficial reports of him bent pressing 385 lbs.
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