Shoulder & Overhead PRESs
An excellent grip and hand strengthening exercise not to mention the incredible strain it places on the upper body stabilizers and overall core musculature. The drop and catch is a very intense eccentric stimulus for the forearms and finger muscles.
These plate variations are perfect for reinforcing proper scapulohumeral rhythm. If you're having trouble with any pressing or overhead movements I highly recommend these. You'll get immediate feedback as failure to perform correctly will result in dumping the the weight.
Presses emphasizing eccentric Isometrics offer numerous benefits in terms of muscle function, strength, stability, mobility, symmetrical loading, and hypertrophy. Video is part of a featured article on T-Nation.com.
Great variation of the overhead press with accommodating resistance. Make sure you get get thoracic spine extension at the bottom by flexing your lats and upper back and sticking your chest out while keeping your core tight. At the top drive the weight up and back and get the head through.
An excellent variation of the military press. Chains add a form of accommodating resistance increasing the load towards the top where the lifter is strongest. This weight was starting to approach my max.
Here I'm trying to control the negative rather than simply letting it free fall. Because its a push press variation I'm able to use 85 pounds rather than 65-75 pounds I would typically use if it were a strict press. Therefore controlling the eccentric portion allows for substantial overload and true negative accentuated training.
This is one of the best variations of the overhead press that forces the lifter to produce proper mechanics or else he or she will literally fall off the bench. Get good T-spine extension at the bottom by tucking your elbows and flexing your lats.
My client Leslie performing a very difficult bottoms up overhead press variation. For a masters level figure competitor this is extremely impressive considering most high level male athletes are unable to do this.
This is a single leg bottoms up press with bumper plates. I consider this the epitome of full body stabilization from head to toe as it greatly challenges all of the stabilizers from the feet up.
Dr. Seedman uses kneeling dumbbell presses create instability, forcing you to control tempo and mechanics, which create incredible strain on the shoulder muscles. To that he adds, Rapid Eccentric Isometrics, an advanced proprietary training technique developed by Dr. Joel Seedman uses to improve performance and muscle function.
The hang snatch is one the single most effective power exercises that forces the lifter to accelerate the hips with maximal effort in order to drive the weight overhead in one complete motion. Keep the bar close to the body and catching it slightly in back of the head (not in front of it) to achieve the proper finishing/slot position.
Here's Marcus, an NFL veteran who's spent several years with the New York Jets, performing an overhead power hold with hanging bands. This forces the core, stabilizers, and the entire upper body to work very hard.
Here's one of Dr. Seedman's clients performing a difficult variation of the overhead press with hanging bands. This method is excellent for recruiting all of the proprioceptors of the body as stabilization and balance are critical for controlling the load.
Here's one of my powerlifting and bodybuilding clients performing a very unstable version of the military press. This is a great movement for activating the entire upper body while taxing the core and stabilizers. The Hanging Band Technique (HBT) further increases the difficulty of the movement as it requires greater stabilization, proprioceptive feedback (from muscle spindle activation), core activation, and sensory integrated movement.
Overhead Presses with hanging bands are an excellent way to fully activate the shoulders, upper back, triceps, and upper chest not to mention the entire core. It's also great for correcting technique and and addressing imbalances.
Here's one of my clients and national figure competitor Leslie Lee performing bottoms up kettlebell snatches. Besides being incredibly difficult this movement is great for working hip and glute power, shoulder stability, grip strength, and core stabilization.
This is a very difficult variation of the overhead press. Here I'm performing these kneeling with 45 lbs plates in the bottoms up position. This variation requires incredible tightness, stability, strength, proprioception, and motor control.
Dr. Seedman introduces you to bottoms-up exercises--one of the most effective training techniques for teaching motor control, stability, and full body tightness. He discusses proper technique , specifically creating good t-spine extension.
Dr. Seedman performs a difficult variation of the bottoms-up overhead press, requiring good thoracic extension and lat activation. Bottoms-up exercises challenge you to maintain tightness--especially in the core and upper torso.
Bottoms-up exercises are some of the most difficult strength training movements there are. The iso-lateral variation (both arms working at the same time) of the overhead press is one of the most effective strength and stabilization exercises.
Bottoms-up exercises are some of the most difficult strength training movements there are. Not only will the the single arm version build the shoulders, upper back, core, and grip strength, they will also teach you to control offset loads as you'll be holding the weight on one side.
Bottoms-up Turkish Getups work the whole body, both in terms of strength and stability. Be sure to keep the weight pulled back. Any deviation with the load and you'll immediately dump the dumbbell.
The bottoms-up kettlebell snatch demands aggressive hip activation while also controlling and stabilizing the load at the top. This requires full body strength, power, stability, and motor control. Performing them in a continuous fashion also increases the amount of eccentric loading, thereby creating greater strength and hypertrophy benefits.
Dr. Seedman examples proper technique for the bottoms-up lunge performed overhead--one of the best variations for improving the overhead lunge mechanics. Notice that he keeps his arm pulled back throughout while hinging at the hips.
Here's one of Dr. Seedman's athletes performing the overhead military press with eyes closed. This increases proprioception and enhances feedback from muscle spindles as a means of improving and perfecting movement mechanics and muscle function.
The hang clean and press with the fat bar is a fantastic full body exercise that focuses on strength, hypertrophy, functional size, power, explosiveness, and athleticism. Using the fat bar greatly increases the activation on the hands, grip, forearms, and finger muscles.
Proper t-spine extension and mobility are critical for most upper body movements because they create proper glenohumeral positioning and optimal scapulohumeral rhythm. Dr. Seedman walks you through how to create optimal extension and mobility, and explains how creating both can actually act as a cure for the neck, shoulder, elbow, and low back pain during overhead presses.
Offset movements are particularly effective for targeting the core musculature and stabilizers as the individual has to lift the load in a controlled fashion even though one side is loaded with more weight. Typically a 10-15 pound difference between sides will be plenty. Perform several reps with the heavier weight loaded to one side then switch so the heavier weight is loaded to the opposite side.
The overhead press on a stability ball is a great accessory movement for the shoulders as it works the overhead press or military press technique in an unstable and difficult position. It also requires great core strength as well as shoulders, triceps, traps, back, and lats. This is a great exercise to throw in after you've performed your heavy movements.
Here's one of my football athletes attempting a double with over 225 lbs on the barbell in the form of chains. The first attempt is solid and he barely misses the second. Overhead presses with chains are a great strength and mass builder for the shoulders, triceps, upper chest, back, lats, core, and much more.
The bent-over lateral raise with kettlebells is a great movement for targeting the rear deltoids as well as the upper back. Using kettlebells makes it slightly more challenging than dumbbells due to more challenging leverage and biomechanics.
If you're looking to maximize proprioception and somatosensory feedback as a means for improving body mechanics, movement efficiency, and motor control, eyes closed eccentric isometrics combined with bottoms-up movements are about as difficult as it gets. This eccentric isometric variation crushes the shoulders, upper back, triceps, and core.
Here's one of my athletes crushing a 275 pound push press while maintaining control in the top position. The push press is a great upper body strength training movement for the shoulders, traps, upper back, triceps, core, and stabilizers. It's also an excellent full body speed and power movement.
The yielding isometric overhead press variation is a great pressing movement for teaching the lifter how to control the eccentric phase of the lift as it forces the lifter to pause at the mid-point of the eccentric/negative lowering phase of the movement before reaching the bottom. Here's NFL defensive end Jarius Wynn performing these.
Dead-stop overhead press allows you to find your ideal starting position as you can rest the load on pins before driving it overhead. Additionally, the dead-stop press is a great variation for enhancing power output and rate of force development.
Dr. Seedman uses the close grip overhead press as a technique enhancer because it enforces proper elbow tuck while using a pronated grip – a critical component of proper pressing mechanics. If you can teach yourself to drive the arms through and in line with the ears at the top of a close grip overhead press, all other overhead presses become significantly easier.
The Reverse grip overhead press is one of my favorite variations for teaching lifters how to properly tuck their elbows on overhead presses and how to maximally recruit their triceps. This press demands a wider hand placement to take pressure off the wrists and hands.
Let Dr. Seedman teach how to use the pizza plate press and watch your overhead press improve dramatically. The 'pizza press' gives you immediate feedback as to whether or not your shoulder mechanics and overhead pressing technique are dialed in.
This specific variation of the overhead press incorporates several of my favorite training methods for improving posture, shoulder health, spinal alignment, proprioception, and motor control. First, the kneeling position ensures optimal t-spine extension while avoiding excessive lumbar extension as anything else would cause the lifter to loose balance and fall off the bench. The bottoms-up movement with bumper plates is one of the more challenging overhead protocols you can perform and forces the lifter to pack and stabilize the shoulder joint to avoid dumping the highly unstable load. It also crushes the grip and forearms more than just about any movement you can perform particularly when cleaning and catching the weight to get it into position.
This is one of the most effective combination strength, power, and hypertrophy movements you can perform for the upper body as the concentric phase focuses on explosive power while the eccentric allows you to handle heavy loads in a slow and controlled fashion. This combination is incredible for functional size and full body power making it and exceptional movement for athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and anyone looking to improve performance and physical appearance.
Accommodating resistance is one of the most effective training tools a lifter can have in their arsenal. Not only does it force the lifter to increase intramuscular tension and overall motor unit recruitment but the slight instability of the load combined with ever-increasing tension throughout the movement produces incredible gains in strength, size, stability, power, and lifting mechanics. Unfortunately most forms of accommodating resistance involve bilateral movements in the form of barbells as each side is dependent on the other. However, the same concept can be applied to isolateral variations (both sides working separately yet independently) by simply attaching chains to individuals straps and handles. If you’re looking to reap the benefits associated with accommodating resistance yet searching for an overhead movement that works each side individually you’ll be pleasantly surprised with this challenging yet highly effective overhead pressing variation.
The ability transmit force and coordinate neuromuscular recruitment between the hips, core, and upper torso is vital for any overhead press whether it’s a push press or strict press. Because you’re literally pressing an unstable weight overhead while taking controlled and rhythmic steps, this requires the upper torso, core, and hip muscles to work together synergistically as any energy leak will result in dumping the load. Although it can be performed with any free weight apparatus, bottoms up kettlebells are the most eye-opening in terms of exposing and correcting neuromuscular deficiencies.
The double offset sounds complicated in theory but it’s quite simple in practice. There’s essentially 2 forms of offset loading involved; one is the actual load being heavier on one side, and the other is the use of different training tools in each hand. While one arm is essentially performing a relatively standard overload movement in the form of a heavy dumbbell press, the other arm is performing a lighter yet highly unstable pressing variation in the form of a bottoms-up press. The goal is to transfer the same crisp and proper mechanics produced from the bottoms-up kettlebell technique to the arm that’s simultaneously pressing the heavier dumbbell on the opposite side. Once mastered, the movement should appear seamless and synchronized as if you were using the same tools and loads on each side with no visible differences in body position and mechanics. This requires in incredibly high degree of neuromuscular coordination, body awareness, sensory integrated movement, and mental engagement.
If you’re looking for an exercise that maximizes motor unit recruitment and creates high levels of post activation potentiation (enhanced neural drive), the overcoming isometric overhead press is it. Here’s NFL defensive end and Super Bowel Champion Jarius Wynn demonstrating it with maximal intensity as we prep him for the upcoming season. Because you’ll be pressing with maximal effort against an immovable load (safety pins in a squat cage), this allows for the optimization of a physiological phenomenon known as temporal summation. Simply put it typically takes several seconds for an individual to achieve maximal motor unit recruitment. Unfortunately most traditional repetitions end before maximal innervation can occur. The overcoming isometric allows the nervous system to progressively ramp up with each passing second until he or she reaches maximal recruitment. In other words the first second you may achieve 50% maximal recruitment, the second 75%, then the third second you may finally reach close to 100% activation as you press with maximal intensity against the pins. At this point you’ll experience heightened levels of intramuscular tension build up throughout your upper torso that’s almost impossible to replicate with any other training method. As an added bonus the high levels of tension act as a strong stimulus for inducing muscular hypertrophy and size gains. This training technique can be used on a a variety of movements including bench press, squats, deadlifts and other exercises as a means of eliminating sticking points or simply to increase neuromuscular efficiency.
This is a highly difficult yet effective overhead press variation. It's also a great option for individuals that are not strong enough to press out bands when they're fully stretched in the standing position.
This is a fantastic way to incorporate the hanging band technique while working each side of the body individually. Simply take 2 cable handles and loop bands through them while attaching plates to the bands and you now have a great way to perform isolateral hanging band technique training. Performed with the overhead press is quite difficult due to the instability and continual oscillations.
This is great kneeling variation of the overhead press that utilizes accommodating resistance in the form of band assistance. The bottom of the movement involves assistance however midway through the bands totally release placing 100% of the load on the musculature. Unless you have very short bands this is the best way to perform band assisted overhead presses as the kneeling version allows the ideal amount of assistance in the appropriate position while deloading the necessary portion of the lift in just the right fashion.
This one’s a bit funky looking but it serves a very distinct purpose. Most lifters lack ability to properly centrate their glenohumeral joint. This deficiency is even more pronounced during the overhead press. The pizza plate press (using the flat side of an old-school iron weight plate) will give you immediate feedback as to whether or not your shoulder mechanics and overhead pressing technique are dialed in. If you fail to create 3-dimensional shoulder stability by depressing, retracting, and medially rotating your scapula and shoulders towards your spine you’ll dump the weight plate. Simply, hold an old-school iron weight plate flat in your hand and perform a press while tucking your elbows to the front of your body. Even if you’re able to avoid dumping the load, record yourself and observe the weight plate. If the plate stays completely parallel to the floor while keeping your elbows tucked to the front of your body then you know that your shoulder function and overhead pressing mechanics are most likely spot on. If the plate fails to stay parallel to the floor then you’ll want to address your specific areas of weakness before you produce further dysfunction and significant injury.