Fitness Fundamentals: The Shoulder Press

Coach Joel introduces the shoulder press.

Reaching high shelves, lifting small children, completing daily chores – each of these tasks and more require the ability to stretch our arms and shoulders to their greatest degree. If you are an athlete, the strength and stability created by focusing on the overhead press crosses over into improving your skill in a variety of sports.

Why Press?

The simple act of putting things away or reaching above your head can be severely limited by pain or immobile shoulders. Training the press builds the muscles of your shoulders, core, and upper back, making you stronger and safe in sports and everyday life.

We love to safely train people to move objects above their heads because it means they can do more of life’s day-to-day tasks safely, with increased confidence, and with less pain.

How Should I Do the Shoulder Press?

Follow these cues to shoulder press well (and check out this video from CrossFit if you need a second visual):

Plant your feet just about hip width apart and hold your weight with your hands just outside the shoulders.

Your body is strongest when stacked bone-on-bone, so image that you are a pillar of strength, and set up accordingly.

Ideally, your feet with stay flat and stable (heels down) for the entirety of the movement.

In weightlifting, imagine your feet and legs in cement – staying strict and tight throughout the movement. In life, tip-toes

Brace your core and upper legs throughout the movement.

Your core plays an imperative part of stabilizing any overhead movement. Both the front and back of your midline should be braced without over-extending the ribs.

Have elbows slightly in front the weight and your body.

Forward elbows help engage the muscles of the shoulder in supporting and pressing weight overhead. A common fault here is elbows pointed at the ground or inching back toward the spine – which will cause the weight to come forward and compromise your core and back.

Press the weight overhead – ending, ideally, with it over the center of your feet.

When moving a barbell or weighted implement, the bar path should end with straight arms and the weight inline with the center of your feet. If completing this movement functionally, like to put something away, you’ll likely be placing the weight slightly to the front of your body, but you still was to prevent as much leaning or forward momentum as possible.

What If I Need More Help?

We offer custom coaching and instructions for all of our members so that they can workout safely and successfully at home. If you are overcoming injury or periods without exercise and you need more customized attention, though, virtual persona training may be a great option for having a coach live “with you” as you workout. It allows for a watchful eye and in-the-moment movement correction to keep you safe. It also gets you better results in less time when your coach can see you work and help you make the most of each session.

If you gave goals for moving and feeling better, but you aren’t sure how to get there – we can help you. All of our coaching programs started with a simple conversation and each of our members receives individualized coaching and attention to make sure they are getting where they want to go. Book a free intro call now: