January 7

Perfecting the Overhead Press: A How-To Guide for Women

By fitness

January 7, 2022



Are you able to really feel like a badass if you raise heavy issues up and over your head?

If so, you then’ve come to the proper place!

This is your one-stop store for studying every thing you might want to know concerning the overhead press, whether or not you’re…

  • Looking to develop your higher physique and shoulder energy
  • Hoping to enhance your shoulder mobility
  • Recovering from a lower-body damage and in search of a strategy to nonetheless get some positive aspects within the health club
  • Searching for an train that can pay dividends in your different coaching (or your Muay Thai periods!)

… or just interested by how one can safely add the overhead press to your coaching program.

In this text, you’ll study the advantages of the overhead press, how one can safely observe overhead urgent (even for those who’re utilizing various kinds of gear), and how one can stop frequent approach errors.

What Is an Overhead Press, Anyways?

When you do an overhead press, you’re shifting a weight from chest stage up and over your head by straightening your arm(s). Or in different phrases, urgent a weight towards the ceiling and away out of your physique. An overhead press could be executed from kneeling, supine, seated, and standing positions.

Also known as the navy press, the strict press, and even merely the press, the overhead press is a compound higher physique motion. (A compound motion works a number of muscle tissue or muscle teams without delay.) While it could appear to be it is solely an arm and shoulder exercise — and it does work these areas very effectively, particularly in terms of your triceps and lats — it additionally targets the chest, again, and core muscle tissue. And for those who’re urgent from a standing place, the extra engagement of your glutes, quads, and ft means you’re getting a full-body exercise.

Benefits of Overhead Pressing

Beyond its means to work a ton of muscle teams in a single go, the overhead press comes with a bunch of different advantages, together with:

  • Enhancing your higher physique energy and energy, which can carry over to different lifts and general energy coaching capabilities.
  • Improving efficiency in a number of sports activities (like baseball, Muay Thai, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu).
  • Strengthening your means to push up from the ground to get right into a standing place, hoist that Pyrex dish as much as the highest shelf of your cabinet, or energy your baggage up into an overhead bin on an airplane.
  • Helping develop highly effective shoulders that pop in tank tops.

Pressing can be an effective way to evaluate your means to create full-body stress. If you’re feeling unstable otherwise you’re combating type, you are able to do a physique scan from the bottom as much as consider the place you could be shedding that stress, after which goal some areas for enchancment.

Plus, there’s only a particular type of pleasure and energy that comes if you begin lifting heavy issues overhead!

Now that why the overhead press is so vital in your coaching, I’m positive you’re tremendous excited to learn to do it correctly. But first, I wish to shortly contact on just a few stuff you want to have the ability to do earlier than you'll be able to press safely.

Before You Press: Mobility Check

Before you begin urgent weight overhead, you might want to have sufficient shoulder mobility to make sure you can transfer by means of the complete vary of movement safely. Here are three questions to think about previous to urgent.

Can you progress by means of the complete vary of movement with out ache?

This is the very first thing to judge for those who’re all for working in your overhead press. Here are the 2 actions to strive:

  • Raise your arms up out of your sides (lateral elevate) till they’re straight overhead.
  • Raise your arms towards the entrance (full shoulder flexion) till they’re straight overhead (with out bending your elbows).

If you'll be able to’t elevate your arms 180 levels out of your sides or entrance with out ache or bending your elbows, then working in your mobility first earlier than shifting onto overhead urgent is greatest. A couple of workout routines that could be useful right here embrace:

  • Shoulder circles
  • Arm raises to facet
  • Arm swings
  • Kettlebell arm bar
  • Kettlebell shoulder twist
  • Kettlebell halo

Do you wrestle with shoulder impingement?

Shoulder impingement could cause ache in addition to a decreased vary of movement within the shoulder joint. While having impingement doesn’t essentially imply you'll be able to’t observe your overhead press, for those who’re combating ache or restricted mobility, I encourage you to have your shoulder mobility assessed by a mobility coach, physiotherapist, or certified coach earlier than including the press to your energy coaching program. Being cleared for the motion by an professional — after which consciously working in your shoulder mobility earlier than you observe your stability and management with urgent actions — could assist stop future points or accidents.

(Note: If you’re recovering from a lower-body damage, the press can develop into your new greatest pal. It’s a fantastic motion to observe to develop higher physique energy, and since you are able to do it in a wide range of positions [e.g., seated press], you'll be able to work round many accidents. However, be cautious to not overdo it. If you’re not within the correct place, particularly for those who’re compounding improper place with a excessive quantity of reps or a heavier weight, you'll be able to trigger shoulder impingement. No one desires that! Listen to your physique, and ensure your mobility is there first — even when it’s tempting to dive in straight away.)

Are your pec muscle tissue tight?

Pectoralis muscle flexibility is essential to securely performing the overhead press. If your chest is simply too tight, your vary of movement could also be restricted, which can make it difficult to finish the motion with correct type. If you lie in your again and lengthen your arms out to your sides, palms up, and really feel a number of stretching in your chest, you most likely have tight pecs.

Work in your flexibility by including some chest stretches into your coaching routine as motion prep. The kettlebell arm bar or some band mobility workout routines can be nice.

Alright, now that we’ve lined the mobility piece, let’s take a look at how one can do an overhead press!

How to Do a One-Arm Overhead Press with a Kettlebell

As I'm a kettlebell teacher, kettlebells are (as you'll have guessed!) my jam. They’re nice for each inexperienced persons and extra superior lifters as a result of there are such a lot of choices for measurement, grip, and weight. Plus, the offset heart of mass of a bell makes it a superbly difficult device to make use of, no matter expertise stage. That’s why we’re going to begin by taking a look at how precisely to do a kettlebell overhead press! (I’ll cowl how one can adapt the urgent motion based mostly on the kind of weight you wish to use subsequent.)

You’ll must know how one can carry out a kettlebell clear earlier than you are able to do a kettlebell overhead press.

How to Do a One-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Press

  • Start in a standing place along with your ft shoulder-width aside (or barely narrower). The kettlebell needs to be sitting a couple of foot in entrance of you.
  • Clean the bell to the rack place. (If you do not know how one can clear but, you'll be able to “cheat clean” by aiding the kettlebell to the rack along with your free hand.) Your wrist needs to be utterly straight, forming a straight line along with your forearm.
  • Imagine spreading stress by means of your complete physique. Engage your core, tighten your quads, and squeeze your glutes. Your gaze needs to be straight forward, along with your backbone impartial.
  • Roll your shoulders again and down.
  • Take a breath in, after which in your exhale, press upward from the rack place.
  • As you press, pull your shoulder blades again and collectively barely as you squeeze your glutes.
  • Keep your wrist straight (impartial) and knuckles pointed up such as you’re going to punch by means of the ceiling. Your forearm ought to keep perpendicular to the ground (vertical) throughout all the motion.
  • Extend your arm till you discover your overhead lockout place (i.e., the bell is overhead with a straight arm and steady, packed shoulder). Your wrist needs to be stacked over your elbow, which is stacked over your shoulder. (If you’re hypermobile, watch out to not hyperextend your elbow right here!)
  • Reverse the motion by bringing the bell down by means of the identical path it took on the best way up. Pull into your again and lat muscle tissue to regulate the motion downward — think about that you just’re rowing the load again down.
  • Repeat for reps, then change to the alternative arm!

Brand new to kettlebell coaching? Learn precisely how one can use one, plus 5 nice kettlebell workout routines for inexperienced persons.

Overhead Press Variations: Dumbbells and Barbells

Let’s look now at how one can adapt for various kinds of gear and set-ups. Keep in thoughts that the fundamental steps will keep the identical whatever the overhead press variation you select: Your core is engaged, you’re spreading stress all through your physique, and you then’re urgent a weight from shoulder top up and over head till your arm is prolonged.

How to Do a One-Arm Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press

Like the kettlebell overhead press, the dumbbell overhead press is nice for inexperienced persons and superior lifters alike as a result of you've the choice to differ the load and alter up the approach. The cues right here assume a one-arm seated overhead press with dumbbells.

  • Set up so your pelvis is firmly on the seat or bench, and your ft are positioned firmly on the ground.
  • If you’re utilizing again help, be sure to have full contact with the bench or chair again. (Be cautious to not lean again over the sting of the help.)
  • Keep a impartial backbone.
  • Start by holding the dumbbell simply outdoors your shoulder. Your arm needs to be bent along with your palm going through inward.
  • Press the dumbbell towards the ceiling, extending your arm straight up.
  • Stop simply shy of locking out your elbow.
  • Lower the dumbbell down by means of the identical path, stopping at shoulder stage.
  • Repeat for reps, after which change sides.

You even have the choice to do a seated dumbbell overhead press bilaterally, with two dumbbells, or whereas in a standing place. Mix issues up as wanted based mostly in your ability stage, energy, gear availability, and curiosity.

Bonus: If you’re model new to lifting, otherwise you’re at dwelling and don’t have entry to gear, you'll be able to observe this motion with a soup can or a water bottle! It’s a incredible strategy to transfer by means of the complete vary of movement and get the grasp of the motion sample earlier than progressing to heavier or more difficult weights. Again, this may be executed in a seated or standing place.

How to Do a Barbell Overhead Press

The barbell overhead press is a extra superior variation you'll be able to progress to after engaged on kettlebell and dumbbell variations. You can carry out this motion from a seated place on a bench (use the seating cues from the overhead press directions above), or in a standing place. The cues right here will stroll you thru a standing barbell press.

  • Find your beginning place, with ft hip-width aside and the barbell in a rack place (resting in your entrance deltoids).
  • Your palms needs to be going through the ceiling, with the bar resting softly on them. Your forearms ought to type a perpendicular line with the bar, along with your elbows barely ahead. While your actual hand place on the bar might be dictated by your distinctive anatomy, your arms needs to be simply outdoors your shoulders (not too huge). Imagine making a W along with your physique.
  • Engage your core and unfold stress by means of your physique.
  • Press the bar overhead, squeezing your glutes and tightening your quads. Stop simply previous to locking out your elbows.
  • Lower the bar slowly, reversing your preliminary bar path, till simply earlier than it touches your chest. (Note: You will decrease the barbell barely decrease than you'd dumbbells.)
  • Repeat for reps.

Form Check: Common Overhead Press Mistakes

There are just a few errors to be careful for, regardless of which overhead press variation you’re training. Here’s a fast rundown of issues to maintain a watch out for:

  • Floppy wrists. Check your wrist place to verify it stays in impartial alignment, particularly when working with dumbbells and kettlebells.
  • Relaxed core. Keeping your core muscle tissue engaged, all the best way out of your beginning place by means of to the top of your reps, is essential. You can also wish to add a bit further engagement in the course of the raise.
  • Forgotten glutes. Squeeze your glutes as you press to assist generate full-body stress, keep stabilized, and keep your impartial backbone.
  • Breath holding. Breathe in by means of the nostril and out by means of the mouth with pursed lips, exhaling on exertion portion of the motion (i.e., the press). You could wish to begin your exercise with some Connection Breaths, which you'll be able to then proceed with throughout your lifting.
  • Arched again. Avoid arching your decrease again and flaring your ribs up and out as you press. Roll your shoulders again and really feel your shoulder blades connecting along with your ribcage within the again. Keep your backbone impartial and rib cage down, with eyes directed in entrance of you. (And squeeze these glutes!)
  • Torso tipping. Don’t fall into the simple entice of leaning come what may to try to enhance the load up. Keep your shoulders stage. Watching your type within the mirror can assist with this.
  • Pressing out not up. Lift in a straight line towards the ceiling, stacking wrist over elbow over shoulder; keep away from pushing the load out in entrance of you on the similar time.

Interested in including extra selection to your purposeful energy coaching program? Check out these 4 kettlebell deadlift variations.

Incorporating the Overhead Press into Your Training

If you’ve checked your mobility and are prepared to begin including the overhead press to your coaching, you've a few choices relying in your objectives and expertise.

  • If you’re model new to weightlifting, discuss to your coach about how one can incorporate overhead urgent into your present coaching program. If you don’t have a coach, begin with a light-weight weight (5–8 kilos) and take a look at for two–3 units of 10–12 reps. If you'll be able to’t carry out 10–12 reps along with your chosen weight whereas sustaining good type, drop right down to a lighter model. If it feels too simple, go up just a few kilos.
  • If you’re an intermediate to superior lifter and already engaged on bench presses or Olympic lifts, overhead urgent variations could also be a wonderful warm-up for heavier lifting days. You might additionally incorporate them on alternate coaching days to offer your self some variation from the larger lifts.

As you’ve discovered, the overhead press is a important device so as to add to your coaching arsenal — and now you know the way to do it with three various kinds of gear. Great job! It gained’t take lengthy to see enhancements in your energy, stability, and mobility.

And if you’re prepared for a bit extra variation… strive enjoying round extra with kettlebells! 

As I already talked about, the offset heart of mass makes working by means of completely different planes of motion a enjoyable problem. The bottoms-up press, double overhead press, and straddle Z press are distinctive choices I extremely suggest making an attempt out if you’re prepared to your subsequent efficiency purpose.

Now go have enjoyable lifting these heavy issues up and over your head!



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