overhead press

The Best Overhead Press Exercises To Do (Updated July 2019)

Overhead Press Overview

This press is also known as the shoulder press and it is a go-to exercise for people who are looking to build their upper body strength and the best way to do an overhead press is to ensure that you check your form after each lift then start lifting lighter weight until you are confident enough to add more while still maintaining the proper form.

The perfect position of doing an overhead press is to stand with your feet width apart then hold the bar on the heels of your palms with your palms facing forward and ensure that you avoid arching your back then tilt back from your hips as you move the bar past your chin this will help in protecting your lower back and also keep your head clear from the bar to prevent accidents.

This is one of the best full body compound exercises but it usually targets the shoulders.   This is whereby your shoulders and arms press against the weight over your head while your legs, lower back, and abs help to balance you.

It saves time by working out your three shoulder heads at the same time and an effective way to fix and prevent shoulder injuries because it helps in strengthening the rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff muscles are added weight using dumbbells exercises. The back is strengthened not only just the front shoulder.

It also helps in building and supporting a stronger bench, stronger lockout, and stable core. This exercise is undeniably one of the most difficult movement exercises for beginners to grasp quickly because it requires a certain level of body awareness, strength and a degree level of mobility.

The user is required to be able to understand how the bar works to be able to track the moving weight.

There are a couple of things people tend to do erroneously and they include;

  • They forget to reposition their elbows and chest after each start of the press
  • They forget to get under the bar enough at the top of the lift
  • To keep a slow controlled motion throughout and they always bounce after each lift while moving from one rep to another
  • At every lift, they arch their backs
  • Moving the head excessively backward and forward


It provides a combination of strength and functional training and it is a perfect tool to encourage users to use it for personal training

It uses full gravity technology that the users can use to activate kinetic chains rather than isolated muscles

It can be integrated to form dynamic movements that can be customized to suit   various training objectives

It provides free movements and fewer adjustment and double weight stack that allows each cable to control a single independent resistance level

It allows the user to perform a push movement activities from a comfortable sitting position because the seats are usually adjustable to ensure a correct seat height

Benefits of the Overhead Press

It helps in providing a total full body workout in such a way that the shoulders triceps, upper chest, and the upper back muscles help in providing movement but the lower back muscles and core they contract throughout the whole movement to provide a workout

This exercise helps in pushing a great amount of weight overhead using the upper body muscles which increases the stress in the muscle area overtime in order to build muscle mass and have a progressive strength gain.

It helps to improve and increase lockout strength by increasing the power throughout the end of every repetition and it all transfers to all other exercises that involve themselves in elbow lockout.

The exercise is very versatile and can be performed while sitting, standing, and kneeling or when doing lunges and it gives the athlete the option on whether he or she wants to sit or stand when performing this exercises.

This press also gives the athlete a choice on which type of equipment to use such as the dumbbell, barbell or a kettlebell and all equipment provide different benefits and athletes of different skill set can be able to do it.

It has the ability to adjust the movement style in a way that you can angle, rotation, grip, stance, the width of your arms, your reps, your sets, momentum and overall speed and you end up reaping more benefits from it.

Helps in training most of the muscles when bench pressing but the focus is a little bit different because it focuses a bit more on the shoulders and triceps with the assistance of the muscles associated with benching and increasing the bench press strength.

It helps to improve shoulder health and protect them against injuries especially when it is performed correctly. It makes the shoulders muscles to become stronger and help in training the anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid, and posterior deltoid evenly and help the body maintain proper muscle balance.

During overhead pressing the stabilizing muscles to kick in to create great posture and torso and in the activation of three selected muscles groups which includes the rectus abdominus, external oblique and erector spinae which presses and engages the core and provide it with epic strength.

The posterior deltoid is strengthened because the press relies on the strong deltoids to be able to move weight and the anterior deltoid focuses on initiating movement, the medial deltoid on the lift and posterior helps in stabilizing and finishing the press.

It helps an athlete to have an increase in the jumping ability because it requires a certain level of coordination and mechanics to ensure that the multiple joints work in a uniform manner and the press generates more arm swing power which increases the jump height by thirty percent and also helps in improving velocity because stronger press makes quicker sequencing arm movements better jumping mechanics

The heavy presses help to strengthen and build upper and middle traps to engage and stabilize the weight overhead and complete the lockout

It helps in strengthening the back and torso by helping the athlete to resist going to hyperextension of the lumbar. The strengthening of the oblique erectors, rectus abdominis, deep core musculature and improve sports performance by resisting early extension during a sprint and also the athlete’s strength on the feet when in contact with others


The press must be executed correctly in order to avoid injury. You have to pay strict attention to the form and always consult a personal trainer to show you the ropes

The athlete cannot be able to lift very heavy weights because it tends to compromise your forms and put a lot of strain on the lower back

Examples of the Overhead Press

Push press- First you clean a loaded barbell from the floor to the shoulder level or just take off the pins in the power racket. Hold the bar with an overhand grip, palms up and elbows pointed forward. Your upper arms should be parallel to the floor as the bar rests at a point on top of your chest. From a standing position lower your hips and bend your knees to dip down into a quarter squat. Then dive upward with your legs as you extend your arms and lift the bar overhead to full elbow extension. Hold the bar in that position then lower it back to its resting position on your upper chest area

Seated dumbbell shoulder press – Sit on a low back bench the hold the dumbbell in each hand above shoulder level with a grip while the palms are facing forward, Make sure your head is straight and have an aligned spine and your eyes are facing forward and the shoulders are shifted back as you press the dumbbell in an arc towards each other. After each squeeze reverse the motion in order to position and start to repeat

Military Press – Place the barbell that is chest high on the squat rack then grab it with your palms facing forward. Slightly bend your knees then place the barbell on your collarbone lift the barbell up making sure that it still lies on the chest. Take a step back and position your feet shoulder width apart from each other lift the bar over your head by locking your arms after you have picked up the barbell up with the correct grip length then hold it at the shoulder level and this should be your starting position. Lower the bar down to the collarbone as you inhale slowly lift the bar up to the starting position as you exhale.

Conclusion on Overhead press

This overhead press is a fantastic strength-and-muscle builder for the entire upper body and core and if you are a beginner and are really interested in this equipment ensure that you contact a trainer who will show you all the ropes because it tends to be one of the most difficult movement to learn quickly and you have to allow your body to progress slowly so it can be able to grow strength properly and avoid injuries





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