The Overhead Press is a full body, compound exercise. Your shoulders and arms press the weight over your head while your legs, lower back, and abs create the base for heavy loads.

Unfortunately, in my experience, this movement is commonly performed incorrectly by athletes with overdeveloped chest and shoulder muscles and a dreadful lack of flexibility. As you can see on the image to the LEFT this leads to a compromise to the front rack position and a hip that is too far forward (eventually compromising the low back). One of the best drills you can perform for yourself and your group classes is to force your athletes to press as SLOW as possible preferably on a 15-second count going up and a 15-second count back down. This also allows you to see what position exactly the athletes has trouble with the most.

HERES THE CHALLENGE. Using a timer you will attempt to slowly, yet continuously, press the bar from the rack position to the overhead position in 15seconds without pausing. You repeat the same test on your way down. If at any moment you pause, and up to the finish position to soon, or the start position to soon, or far away from the green line, you lose.

Here’s how to Overhead Press with proper form:

1. Feet hip with apart
2. A semi-to-full grip on bar dependent on flexibility
3. Bar resting on highest part of shoulders (not on collar bone)
4. Elbow slightly in front of the bar
5. Tuck chin back. Think “double chin”.
6. Squeeze quads, butt, belly and…PRESS. (That’s how we teach our coaches to cue in a group class).
7. Play a game: How slow and close can you keep the bar over the center of your foot. In weightlifting, this is called the Center Of Mass (COM) and the number one predictor of successful long term powerful lifters.
8. At the top, you want to finish over the shoulder blades. This is the most stable and transferable lockout position to Olympic Lifting.