The Shoulder Press – Sun 5.01.16

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The Shoulder Press, Standing Press, Strict Press, Overhead Press, or just Press.  It goes by many names, but it is not just an upper body or shoulder and arms workout.  Done properly, it should be a full body workout.

Like any good athletic movement, the Shoulder Press begins at the core and then moves to the extremities. Core strength is absolutely essential to its success. The region of the body from which these movements emanate, “the core”, includes the muscle groups in the hip flexors, hip extensors (glutes and hams), spinal erectors, and quadriceps.

The Shoulder Press steps:

  • Set-up: Take bar from supports or clean to racked position. The bar sits on the shoulders with the grip slightly wider than shoulder width. The elbows are below and in front of bar. Stance is approximately hip width.
  • Press: Press the bar to a position directly overhead. Head must accommodate the bar.

The Role Of The Abs In The Overhead Lifts:

Traditionally, people think of ab work as trunk flexion (i.e: sit ups, twists, etc).  While these are sometimes useful, the abdominals’ primary role and true strength is mid line stabilization, not flexion. Stable abs is critical to swimming, running, cycling, and jumping, but never is their stabilizing role more critical than when attempting to drive loads overhead.  Of course the heavier the load, the more critical the abs’ role becomes.

We should train to think of every exercise we do at The Compound as an ab exercise.   But in the overhead lifts it is absolutely essential to do so. It is easy to see when an athlete is not sufficiently engaging the abs in an overhead press–the body arches and pushes the hips, pelvis, and stomach ahead of the bar. Constant vigilance is required of everyone to prevent and correct this postural mistake.


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