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Press (Strict Standing Barbell Overhead Press)

 

Stand, with a barbell in your hands and press it over your head.

 

The press or strict standing barbell shoulder press is an excellent exercise for full body strength and arguably more valuable than our other main pressing exercise, the barbell bench press.

 

Although your shoulders and arms are primarily the muscles responsible for lifting the weight a strong core and legs are required so you do not leak power.

 

The kinetic chain in The Press goes all the way from your feet, through your entire body, to your hands on the bar. The difference between this and something like a deadlift where many large muscle groups complete the lift, in The Press you have to remain still with legs straight and not actively pressing the bar. So for that reason your legs and core must be strong, but in a way that allows for a rigid base to press from.

 

The press requires good shoulder mobility. Many struggle to achieve a good overhead position because of tight shoulders, pecs and lats specifically.

 

Setup

  • Start with the barbell on the rack at the same height as your squats.
  • Take a narrow grip on the bar, just outside your shoulders
  • Put both feet under the bar and get your elbows under the bar, forearms vertical.
  • Take a deep breath and lift the bar of the rack
  • Step back and take a stance similar to your squat, heels roughly shoulder width apart

Lift

 

The aim on the shoulder press is to press the bar in a straight line vertically, this will require you to move your chin out of the way of the bar and then lean your torso forward at the top.

 

Before you lift you should breath and brace, as you do this you should lift your chest up towards your chin.

It’s important that you do not round your lower back. You want to feel like you have your hips slightly forward and in under the bar but without arching your lower back. Your abs should be pulled tight.

 

Your forearms should be vertical from the front and side and wrists straight, not bent back.

 

Your knees must not bend during the overhead press, this is a push press. You can lift more weight with a push press but it is a different exercise, DO NOT push press your last few reps if you are struggling.

 

Press the bar to full lockout and shrug your shoulders up at the top.

 

At the top of the rep the bar should be directly over your, head, shoulders, hips and mid foot. This is a good, stable finish position, anything else is suboptimal.

 

Lower

Try to lower the bar straight back down, in a vertical line to where you started. On the front of your shoulders with your elbows directly under the bar and over mid foot.

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