How to Overhead Press Correctly and Why It’s Important
Sitting at a desk all day with your arms hanging down by your sides can cause problems in your shoulder joints and muscles. It puts strain on the shoulder blade muscles, so they shorten over time. That is, obviously, a bad thing to have happen.
The overhead press is the best exercise for building your shoulders, triceps, and upper back. It’s also a challenging lift to master. Overhead pressing stretches these muscles out and strengthens them in an open wing position to help correct your posture and reinforce your back muscles.
What is the Overhead Press?
The overhead press is a compound exercise that works the muscles of the back, triceps, and shoulders. It primarily targets the shoulders, but can also strengthen the triceps and help work on core strength. The overhead press is a powerful and valuable upper body strength exercise that many athletes and lifters skip or neglect. Neglecting upper body exercises can lead to an underdeveloped chest, shoulders, and triceps. There is also an increased risk of shoulder injury due to underdeveloped scapular stabilizers.
How to Perfect the Overhead Press
There are different ways to perform an overhead press; however, it is essential to do it correctly to avoid injury.
Use a shoulder-width grip
To perform an overhead press, start by holding a barbell at shoulder height with your palms facing away from you and your elbows pointing out in front of you.
Squeeze your shoulder blades
Before you start the lift, activate your shoulder blades by squeezing them. Next, use your shoulder blades to push the bar overhead. Extended your arms overhead, and then lower it back down to shoulder height and repeat.
Tilt your head back slightly
Now, when the bar nears your chin, move your head back, creating a straight pathway for the bar to move. Take care not to curve the bar or arch your back to avoid injury. You want a smooth, straight line from your start position to the lengthened position.
With That Said
This is a difficult exercise for beginners because they are not used to lifting heavy weights on their own and may not have enough upper body strength yet. One way to work your way up to the overhead press is to start with no weights and only a bar until you get the technique down. When you’re ready, add weights incrementally. If you lift your shoulders or curve your back to complete the lift, then reduce the weight and start again.
Correct overhead pressing is important for a few reasons: it can help you build more muscle mass, sculpt your upper body, and develop more stability in your shoulders.
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