Robert Oberst Shares Three Tips for a Stronger Log Lift

The "American Monster" reveals his secrets to become a better overhead presser.

On June 6, 2022, strongman Robert Oberst took to his YouTube channel to share tips and tricks for becoming a better and stronger log presser. The log lift is notoriously Oberst’s best event. Known for his overhead strength, Oberst is a former American log lift record holder and knows a thing or two about moving a log from the floor to a locked-out position overhead.

The “American Monster” breaks down the following tips for improving the log lift:

  • Utilize controlled aggression in the clean.
    • Shave your legs for better traction.
  • Take advantage of your leg drive when moving the log from the lap to the front rack position.
  • Inhale deeply before lifting the log to the front rack.
    • A heavy log on your chest will make it difficult to breathe, so preempt it.

Check out the full video of log lift tips below:

[Related: 2022 UK’s Strongest Man Results — Paul Smith Wins]

Aggressive Clean

The first tip Oberst offers is to be aggressive with the clean. That means swiftly lifting the log to the lapped position — a position of rest — and then moving sharply from that position to the front rack position. Notably, the momentum generated from the clean could carry over to the press, so putting some gusto behind the clean can help power through the rest of the rep.

An aggressive clean does not mean an out-of-control clean. Oberst highlighted that the elbows should remain firm and tucked while in the front rack position without allowing them to drop. If the elbows drop at all, it can enable the log to move forward, throwing off balance. This can lead to the log moving forward instead of directly overhead — an easy way to miss a lockout.

Shave Your Legs

While Oberst’s catchphrase may be “Strong & Pretty,” shaving one’s legs before the log lift when not lifting in pants has a significant advantage. When bringing the log from the floor to the lap, the last thing a lifter wants is for the log to slide. As Oberst said:

Skin sticks.

Bare skin provides more traction than hairy legs. When lapping the log, that traction on the skin can better enable control of the log to the lap without expending any additional energy. The log lift involves a lot of technique, and inefficient movement throughout can cost an athlete, particularly when competing in a log lift for reps event.


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[Related: Rauno Heinla Pulls World Record 580-Kilogram (1,278.7-Pound) Silver Dollar Deadlift]

Emphasize Leg Drive

Oberst has shared in training videos that a strongman should be able to hang out in the lapped position all day. Having the log in the lap is a position of rest, and a strongman should be comfortable staying there as long as is needed. After an aggressive clean, neglecting the power of the legs, which can help generate power to move the log overhead, would be a mistake.

Similar to a jerk in a clean & jerk, generating energy to move under the barbell, or in this case, the log, can potentially convert a heavier lift than strict pressing could. Maintain the elbow and wrist stability and a neutral spine during the leg drive to ensure the log remains centered.

Know When To Breathe

Logs are heavy. Attempting to take in air with one sitting on your chest may prove difficult. Oberst strategically breathes and holds that breath before moving the log to the front rack position. This allows him to brace before the press and not need to inhale while stabilizing the log on his chest. Oberst breathes normally when lapping the log, but his breathing is mostly choreographed after that. 

Log lifts can be tiresome, but knowing proper technique and Oberst’s tricks could help you level up. Shave your legs, learn when to breathe, and perhaps you’ll add more pounds to the log to move overhead.

Featured image: @robertoberst on Instagram