There’s nothing that says “strongman” more than lifting something over your head. Tune into ESPN and watch the World’s Strongest Man and you’ll see an overhead event for sure. And I would bet a steak dinner that that is the event the separates the men from the boys. This move is a lot harder than it looks, but the return (aka gains) are well worth it. With all the variations of this exercise, it can (and should) fit into everyone’s workout routine. And of done correctly, you’ll wonder if you were run over by a semi truck after a good pressing workout. In this article I’ll break down the movement’s form, its variations and what muscles get worked as a result. I’ll also have a short video showing you how it all comes together.
The following is a list of the most popular variations of the overhead press. They all have slight variations and as a result put the emphasis on different muscles:
- Standing Military Press
- Seated Military Press
- DB Military Press
- Arnold Press
- Real Military Press (seated or standing)
Each of the movements above put a slightly different emphasis on the muscles you use for the exercise. Regardless of the movement you choose, these are the muscles that are used to complete the movement.
- Upper chest
Each movement starts with the weight in the rack position. Keep your chest high and abs tight. The bar (if used) is in the palms of your hands and if flexibility allows, its sitting on your anterior delts. Squeeze the bar tight and tuck your chin. Push the bar up past your chin and complete the movement overhead. Lock out your triceps and push your head through. To complete the movement, Tuck your chin and return the bar (under control) to the rack position. A full range of motion is important (as it is for all exercises).
You really don’t need any special equipment to do the exercise. But once you good at it and start moving a considerable amount of weight, You might need these items to keep you safe and confident (which is very important in the gym):
Start your workout with a 5×5 rep scheme (working sets) if you want to work on strength or 5X10 if you are focused on hypertrophy. You can have one workout focus on the press and another focused on bench press and use the press as a supplemental movement. This way you can use 2 different variations and rep schemes in the same week. Hitting your delts from different angles and different rep schemes makes for a better developed muscle.
Here’s a video showing some examples of different pressing movements:
There is no question that this movement should be in your workout. With all the variations, it can fit into anyone’s program. As long as you keep good form, you should have no issues moving some serious weight and getting huge!! Happy lifting.