Before the bench press became popular, the overhead press was the gold standard of strength. Though it’s glory days are behind it, the overhead press remains a valuable training staple.
Primary Purpose: The overhead press strengthens the anterior deltoids (front of shoulder) and triceps (back of arm).
Additional Purposes: The overhead press strengthens the upper trapezius (upper back) and supports shoulder integrity. Keeping your legs locked strengthens the quadriceps (front of thigh), while keeping your pelvis tucked synchronises the glutes (bum), spinal erectors (lower back) and core muscles to maintain spinal health.
- Stand upright: chest up, hips and knees locked.
- Squeeze shoulders forwards to create a shelf for the bar on your deltoids.
- Hands outside of shoulder-width apart, set bar across upper deltoids.
- Tuck chin in; tuck pelvis down and contract glutes.
- Keeping your chin tucked and face back, lead with your elbows and press straight up.
- Lean back slightly to allow the bar to pass your head — keep the bar close enough to kiss it on the way up (but don’t actually kiss it, because it has cooties).
- As the bar passed overhead, lean forwards until you are under the bar.
- Shrug the shoulders up and lock out the elbows.
- Lean back slightly and lower the weight to your shoulders.