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6 Reasons you should do the standing overhead press

The overhead press is a classic example of a quintessential exercise you need to be doing more of.
Six Star Pro Staff
Six Star Pro Staff
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Standing Overhead Press

Deciding which exercises to include in your program is often very difficult – choosing non-essential movements can often waste your time in the gym and even stall your progress. There are certain exercises that should be a staple in any weight training program, regardless of your individual goals. The overhead press is a classic example of a quintessential exercise you need to be doing more of. Here are six reasons you should always include the overhead press in your training program.

1. GREAT SIZE AND STRENGTH BUILDER

The overhead press is a powerful compound movement that recruits a lot of different muscles in the body at once when performed in a standing position. Because it recruits so many different muscles in the body, it creates a powerful hormonal response and taxes the body enough to elicit total-body strength and size adaptations (muscle and strength gains). This is a movement that can be trained with heavy weight and really allows you to push your strength to the limit, which is, of course, the only way to make serious gains.

2. HELPS TO BUST PLATEAUS IN THE BENCH PRESS

Everyone wants to tell their friends about their big bench. One of the best ways to increase your bench press numbers is actually to train overhead pressing strength. Even if your chest is very strong, certain muscles in your shoulders may be lagging behind that prevent your bench numbers from going up. So next time you hit a plateau, try taking some time to focus more on overhead pressing and watch your bench numbers start moving again!

3. HELPS WITH LONG-TERM SHOULDER HEALTH

The bench press is notoriously hard on your shoulders, and long-term heavy lifting with this exercise can often lead to various structural issues. Overhead pressing is a more natural movement for the shoulders and will help to strengthen and lengthen certain muscles that the bench press causes to become short and tight.

4. WORKS THE CORE MUSCLES

Overhead pressing done while standing creates a high level of core activation. Your core muscles are needed to stabilize your spine as you lift the heavy weight above your head. To make overhead pressing even more challenging for your core, instead of using a barbell use a heavy dumbbell in just one hand while standing and bend slightly to one side (bend away from the side holding the dumbbell) to help engage your oblique muscles more to help you lift the weight.

5. KEEPS THE LOWER BACK STRONG

The lower-back muscles are heavily recruited with overhead pressing in order to keep your spine safe. If you feel any pain or discomfort on your lower back while overhead pressing, it may mean that it is simply too weak to support the weight overhead. Try using a lighter weight or using a split stance (one foot in front of the other), as opposed to a square stance with your feet beside each other, to slowly build up your lower-back stabilizers.

6. ATHLETIC CARRYOVER

The overhead press carries over to real-life sport competition much better than other pressing movements, like the bench press. The overhead press requires a significant amount of total-body strength and serious core stabilization to be able to complete. Most athletic movements require the whole body to work as one unit in order to properly execute a movement like performing a tackle in football or throwing a punch in boxing. If you are training to be more athletic, you must train the body to function as one synergistic unit, so ditch the shoulder isolation exercises and lift a heavy barbell overhead instead and watch your total-body athletic strength soar!

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