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4 Quick Tips to Perfect Your Overhead Press (Plus a Workout)

By October 31, 2015 April 16th, 2019 No Comments

The overhead press, or shoulder press is a valuable exercise for strengthening the front, back and middle of your shoulders as well as your upper arms and legs. The standing press specifically targets the triceps and the deltoids. Here are four tips to help you make the most of the overhead press workout, plus a routine to help you build those boulder shoulders.

1. Perfect Your Grip

Use an outside shoulder-width grip so that you are working your triceps without straining your shoulder joints. Keep your elbows and forearms tucked in and don’t forget to adjust your grip until you are able to touch your shoulders with your thumbs.

2. Keep Your Forearms in Check

Your forearms should remain vertical. This will ensure that the bar moves in a vertical path. Check in a mirror to make sure your arms are in the correct position.

3. Be a smooth mover

Now, assume a stance with feet roughly hip-width apart with softened knees and an active core, and keep your arms vertical. Pull your head back slightly, this way you won’t hit yourself in the chin, nor will you have to deviate from the vertical movement. Once the bar is above your head, you can move your head forward again to keep your spine stable.

4. Use Proper Breathing Techniques

Before you perform your first press, inhale deeply and tighten your abs. As you raise the weights to eye level, breathe out forcefully.Breathing this way will help you to maximize abdominal contractions as well as stabilize your shoulders and arms.

Workout: The Shoulder Pump

These exercises can be alternated daily to help you make the most of using the overhead press for strengthening purposes. You can increase your weight weekly as well as boosting your reps for maximum results. Remember to keep reps in the hypertrophic range (8-12 reps at a moderate weight) for maximum pumps. Try to incorporate this into your existing overall routine to maintain strength and conditioning.

Day 1
Standing press, percentage is a suggestion based on your own one-rep max lift.
Warm up with an empty barbell, 1 set x 20 reps
50%: 1 set x 10 reps
60%: 1 set 10 reps
70%: 1 set 8 reps
75%: 1 set 8 reps
80%: 1 set  8 reps
70%: 3 set 10 reps
55%: 2 sets 12 reps

25lb plate raise:
1 set x 100 reps

Upright row:
75%: 4 sets x 8 reps

Triceps French press:
50%: 4 sets x 8 reps

Day 2

Incline press:
60%: 3 sets x 12 reps

Lateral raise:
60%: 4 sets x 12 reps

Bent over lateral raise:
4 sets x 12 reps

Day 3
Rest, still incorporating routines for remaining muscle groups