Which Kind Of Overhead Press Do You Prefer, And Why?

It is essential to maintain the health of the muscles in your upper body, regardless of whether you are participating in a weightlifting program or you simply want to regain your mobility. These muscles allow you to perform activities that are part of your daily routine, such as stacking objects on a shelf higher than your head or putting dishes higher up in a cupboard. The overhead press workout, also known as a shoulder press, is a type of resistance exercise that can be included in a general workout plan to help maintain and improve upper-body fitness.

Overhead Press Workout - barbell overhead press

How Exactly Does One Go About Performing An Overhead Press?

Before you head to the gym, you should familiarize yourself with the purpose of each action and the pattern it follows so that you can perform any exercise that requires the use of weights.

According to Rader, an overhead press is only a movement in which resistance is pushed above the head of the person performing the exercise. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Using both hands at the same time.
  • Step by step, one hand at a time
  • A single barbell that is gripped with both hands.
  • Each of you should hold a free weight (a free weight being an object not attached to a piece of equipment).

Examine The Range Of Motion In Your Shoulders.

Keeping this in mind, you also need to determine whether or not you have the shoulder mobility, commonly known as range of movement, necessary to complete the exercise without risking injury.

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Matt Pippin recommends conducting the following test in order to find out the answer to this question:

What To Do?

Hold very still with your whole body. Raise both arms slowly to the overhead position.

When To Work On Increasing Your Range Of Motion?

You should not perform overhead presses with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells if you are unable to effortlessly get your arms up to a position where they are in line with your ears.

When To Utilize A Press Over The Head?

If you are able to bring your shoulders into alignment with your ears, you have the necessary prerequisite shoulder mobility and can proceed to the next level.

Get A Firm Grasp On It.

Walk up to the bar and grab it with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your palms facing away from your body to do the standing barbell press. Then proceed with the following steps:

Remove the bar off the rack, then take a few steps back. You should be holding the bar in your hands such that it is resting just around your collarbone.

To begin the exercise, pull your head back, brace your core, pinch your butts to activate your glutes, and drive the bar up toward the ceiling.

As soon as the bar reaches your forehead, you should bring your head back to the neutral position while simultaneously bringing your arms fully overhead. At the top of the press, check to see that your abdominal muscles and gluteal muscles are still contracted, and that your lower back is not arched.

While doing so, lean your head back to make room for the bar as you slowly lower it back down to your shoulders.

Maintain A Tucked Elbow Position.

Pippin advises to maintain a position in which the elbows are either immediately underneath the wrists or slightly more inward.

This angle will allow for the maximum amount of force to be produced. “If the elbows flare out to the side, you lose the leverage you need to push from,” he explains. “If the elbows flare out to the side, you lose.”

Utilize Your Abdominals And Glutes As Well.

Pippin also recommended that you keep your glutes and abdominal muscles engaged the entire time you are performing the activity.

“From this pillar of support, you can go forward with your efforts. If you lose this stability, the bar will wobble, and the amount of weight you can push will decrease,” he explains.

The Advantages Of Using A Press That Is Overhead

Including the overhead press as part of your training program can bring you a number of different benefits. Performing overhead presses can lead to an increase in:

  • The magnitude of the shoulder muscles’ strength and size.
  • The triceps muscles’ strength as well as their size.
  • The size of the trapezius muscle as well as its strength.
  • When you complete the exercise while standing, you are targeting your core muscles, such as your obliques, transverse abdominal muscles, lower back, and spinal stabilizers.
  • Execution of additional exercises, such as the bench press, amongst others.

There Are Many Different Variations Of The Overhead Press.

When you practice the same workout again and over, you run the risk of becoming bored, burning out, and seeing a decline in your performance as well as your gains.

Overhead Press Workout - dumbbell overhead press

Consequently, if you want to train the same muscles that are necessary in the overhead press but you also want to change your workouts, you might be wondering whether there are other exercises you can do. Consider these options among others:

  • The Turkish get-up is a well-known workout that may be performed with either dumbbells or kettlebells. It works the same muscles as the overhead press.
  • When performing an overhead press with dumbbells, you have the option of switching up your grip. Switch to a neutral grip with your hands facing each other and your elbows pointing in front of you rather than holding the object with your palms facing outward.
  • Alternately, you could try another form of rowing workout that focuses on working the back and rotator cuff muscles. Rowing machines, barbell rows, dumbbell rows, and bent-over rows are all examples of this type of exercise.
  • Some of the muscles that are worked during an overhead press are also worked during pushups. These muscles include the pectorals, triceps, and shoulders. Additionally, because they do not require the use of weights, they may be performed anywhere and at any time.
  • Scapular retraction and prone lateral raise are two examples of exercises that target the tiny muscles in the shoulders and upper back. These exercises can help you reduce the risk of injury and allow you to do the overhead press in a more effective manner.

During The Overhead Press, Various Muscles Are Put To Work.

Perform Standing Overhead Press.

If you choose to perform the overhead press while standing, the majority of the large muscles in your upper body, including the following, will get a workout as a result:

  • Pectorals (chest).
  • Deltoids (shoulders).
  • Triceps (arms).
  • Trapezius (upper back).

Being upright demands you to maintain balance, which in turn engages the muscles in your core, including those in your abdominal region and lower back.

According to Brent Rader, DPT, physical therapist at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, when you are in an upright position, you are able to compensate for balance changes that occur during each phase of the overhead press. Additionally, you are able to create stability through the spine, which ensures a proper foundation for a loaded overhead movement.

When you push a weighted bar upward, in addition to the power provided by your upper body, your lower body also helps assist you in the movement.

Seated Overhead Press

Overhead Press Workout - seated overhead press

According to Pippin, the core activation will be eliminated if the overhead press is performed in a seated posture with the back of a pad pressed against the back of the sitter’s chair. The all of the work will be accomplished by the shoulders and triceps.

Common Mistakes.

When performing an exercise like the overhead press, it is critical to ensure that you are using correct form in order to maximize the effectiveness of the movement and to protect yourself from injury.

Because of these individual differences in bone structure and body shape, the right form may look different on different people.

When executing an overhead press, here are five frequent faults that should be avoided at all costs:

1. Your Stance And The Alignment Of Your Feet Are Incorrect.

It is essential to ensure that your stance is broad enough to provide your body with stability while lifting, which means that your feet should be no closer together than hip-width apart.

You should also check that your feet are assisting to anchor your body and that they are maintaining alignment of your glutes and hips with the rest of your upper body. If your feet are not in a tripod position, it hinders the rest of your body from being stable. This imbalance could cause harm when other parts of your body are compelled to overcompensate for the instability caused by your feet.

2. Poor Form In The Arms And Shoulders.

When you lift weights, your elbows should be pointing in the direction of the front of the body, and they should lock at the peak of the press so that you may get the most out of your workout. Shoulder pain is a common complication of flared elbows.

Because your wrists and elbows are supporting the weight and course of the barbell, your triceps should also be aligned with your wrists.

It may be difficult to have enough momentum to lift in a way that is acceptable or comfortable when the wrists and elbows are not properly aligned with one another.

You should also avoid shrugging your shoulders as much as possible if you want to safeguard the muscles in your rotator cuff.

3. You Are Putting Pressure On The Weight In The Wrong Direction.

There are a variety of potential problems that can arise if the barbell is not raised in the appropriate manner. You run the risk of losing your equilibrium if you lift it too far in front of or behind you, which is a highly risky move.

If you lift too far forward, you will also engage a distinct group of muscles known as the anterior deltoids, which will make it more difficult for you to increase the weight and lead you to skip reps. In a same manner, an improper workout for your posterior deltoids might result from lifting too far in the back.

If you want to be sure that your form is correct, you may either have a coach monitor you from the side or videotape the lift so that you can look back on it afterwards. When you are checking the lift, you will want to position your body so that it forms a line when viewed from the side.

Overhead Press Workout - Kettlebell overhead press

4. Both Your Neck And Back Are Twisted Out Of Proper Alignment.

When you lift something, you shouldn’t have your lower back arched or hyperextended in any way. Your upper back should only have a very tiny arch while your chest should be lifted while maintaining a neutral position in your lower back at all times. To prevent your back from rounding, you might find that squeezing your glutes is helpful.

Your neck may initially have to move in order to be able to lift the barbell in a vertical direction; nevertheless, when the barbell has been lifted, you should extend it slightly forward in order to prevent your spine from becoming overly arched.

5. You Are Attempting To Lift Weights That Are Beyond Your Physical Capabilities.

It is imperative that you never attempt to lift more weight than your body can comfortably support. If you try to lift a barbell that is too heavy for you to handle, you run the risk of harming yourself since your technique may be improper.

Tips For Your Safety.

Always be sure to maintain the correct form when performing the overhead press, and stay away from using weights that are too heavy in order to reduce the risk of injury and maximize the advantages of this exercise.

When compared to a standard barbell, the use of “free weights” such as dumbbells makes it possible to activate the muscles from a variety of various angles.

Additionally, according to Pippins, using dumbbells can allow for a path of less resistance, which makes it possible for you to carry out the activity in a slightly more secure manner if you have certain wrist or shoulder constraints.

In addition, according to Pippin, using kettlebells in an inverted or reversed position enables you to train the shoulder in a manner that is more stable while using a significantly reduced amount of weight.

“The bottom’s up position creates a huge stability component because the bell will wobble uncontrollably if it is in any other position.” “This is a terrific training tool for the shoulders and is a great way to introduce overhead pressing while working on building up shoulder mobility,” he explains. “This is a great method to introduce overhead pressing while also focusing on building up shoulder mobility.”

If you have access to a coach or trainer, it is a good idea to have someone watch you lift weights to make sure you are performing the action correctly. This may be a very beneficial tool.

When lifting heavy objects, the area in which you do so should be well-lit and offer sufficient room for both your movements and the necessary equipment. The “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning” manual published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends finding a location with a ceiling height of at least 12 to 14 feet in order to get the most out of your strength training sessions. The region needs to be cleaned on a regular basis, and the surface that’s best for walking on is either carpet or rubber.

Always check in with a physician or other qualified healthcare expert before engaging in any physical activity to ensure that it is safe for you to do so, and get emergency medical help if you sustain an injury. When engaging in physical activity, it is imperative that you never fail to take warning signs like lack of hydration, dizziness, muscle discomfort, blurred vision, migraines, and any other physical symptoms seriously.


The muscles that make up your chest, shoulders, back, arms, and core are all located in your upper body and trunk. You are able to do a variety of actions, such as reaching, spinning, and lifting objects over your head, because these muscle groups work together.

Lifting or pushing overhead is a movement that, while not as common as reaching in front of your body or moving to the side, is nonetheless a movement that we need to be able to execute in order to participate in many day-to-day tasks.

You may improve and maintain your shoulder strength with a variety of workouts, including the overhead or shoulder press, which is one of those exercises.

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