How to Overhead Press

Watch the video, and/or read and watch the video to get the most out of your mechanics review!

Overhead Pressing is a skill set that demands a lot from our shoulders! I consider it one of the most challenging and most vulnerable strength movements there is. It exposes our weaknesses, and magnifies our alignment or lack thereof. I have been noticing that people have trouble with this movement mainly because of the demands that are being placed on shoulder joints. One thing to always remember is that your shoulder blades MUST move with your shoulder joint. If they are stuck and not moving, then you can bet your traps, neck, pecs, and mid-back are not balanced. The front of your shoulders are over-activated mainly from our work days that force to draw everything forward, almost as if we are becoming one with your computers :/. Understanding this, should help you understand to some degree what we are trying to warmup before we overhead press in class or sessions. But also, it should make you think about how important it is to focus on your technique here! If your mind blanks out throughout the movement, you can bet that you’ll hurt something, and/or compensate with your lower back and neck! So without further a-do, let’s talk about the do’s and don’ts of the lift.

Common Faults (Don’ts)

1) Lower back arches
2) Glutes are inactive
3) Shoulders are flaring and elbows are behind your rib cage
4) Bracing is non-existent

The Do’s

1) BRACE first. Go here for a refresher!
2) Pull your elbows underneath your wrists
3) Squeeze your glutes hard and maintain this throughout the lift
4) When you get stuck in your lift, re-inforce everything above as much as you can to finish your life
5) If you overcompensate, lower the bar back down, and re-visit the next rep or lower the weight!

To get better at this movement, ask us questions on what you are supposed to feel, and keep focusing on becoming better. So if this means it is an access problem, pay close attention to what your coach gives you for homework, or what they prescribe during class. This will be your insight into becoming better!

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Sumair Bhasin