Press – Shoulder Press

Most people associate the ‘press’ with the bench-press, but in terms of powerlifting and our workout, the press is always referring to the ‘strict’ press – which is the overhead shoulder press. In fact, the press is the oldest upper-body exercise involving the barbell in the world! While the press is an excellent upper-body exercise which targets the shoulder muscles, like all powerlifting exercises it uses pretty much all the muscles in the body. Pressing the barbell above your head requires your upper-body, as well as your core and lower body to stabilize the weight.

The press is accomplished by starting with the barbell at shoulder height – usually resting on your clavicle pressing up on the neck. The bar is held with a shoulder-width grip. It is pressed directly overhead until near lock-out, then lowered back in a controlled manner. Your body should remain in a straight position the whole time – use all other muscles to prevent from arching backwards. The only thing that should move (apart from your arms!) is your head – the bar stays inline with the centre point of your body – your heels – while your head moves out of the way as the bar passes it upwards and downwards. Imagine the bar had to remain on the same plane, it cannot go forward or backwards – it must remain straight as it travels! Start this off with a low-weight until you get the technique down!

Starting position – note the grip.

Finishing position

Finishing position side view – note that the bar is pretty much completely in-line with the body – almost perfectly directly in-line with the heels

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