Ah the military press, the overhead press, whatever you want to call it, it’s now forgotten by most strong men, bodybuilders, power lifters, but this is wrong, a good overhead press can do a few different things for you.
- It can dramatically increase your bench press.
- It prevents the risk of shoulder injury by keeping shoulder strength in line with the chest and, of course, triceps.
- It builds the biggest shoulders imaginable.
Nothing is more true than number 3. In order to build lean muscle mass there is nothing more impressive than the overhead press with its ability to target your shoulders.
Look at the guys with the biggest shoulders and I can guarantee you they do a LOT of pressing. Another positive aspect is when you have bigger shoulders it allows you to get more definition to the triceps and biceps making those muscles also appear larger than they are.
The overhead press also transfers over into numerous other sports such as boxing, martial arts, football, wrestling, etc. It was once the ultimate show of strength.
If you go back a fair few years you will see the question was never how much can you bench, but rather how much can you press.
The overhead press was the key/main exercise. It is only in the last 20-30 years that the bench press has over taken it in popularity, before that the overhead press was key.
It’s no wonder really then that natural athletes back then tend to be stronger than the natural athletes of today.
The overhead press was even in the Olympics before it was removed from the sport of weight lifting. The overhead press was in the clean and press movement where the athlete had to clean as heavy a weight as humanly possible from the floor then press it over his head. Unfortunately the technique used by these guys was, well, to say terrible would be an understatement, but it was terrible! It led to numerous back injuries and even shoulder problems, and I believe this is what led to the down fall of the overhead press as a main exercise and it’s lack of popularity in today’s society.
But nothing will build strength or a more impressive upper body physique than the overhead press.
What muscles does it work? Believe it or not it does a lot more than just the shoulders. The triceps are worked to a large degree, the bicep is worked, and the stomach is worked to a great degree due to having to stabilize you while holding such a heavy weight overhead.
I am a huge fan of the overhead press while some may recommend the press behind the neck I have no problem with it as long as you have A good shoulder flexibility and B you use good technique and do NOT try to go too heavy you will be absolutely fine.
Some basic tips for the traditional military/overhead press.
Try not to lean back too far this puts far too much pressure on your back and can lead to injury, instead try to keep a good solid base pushing as hard as you can directly overhead.
You can either tuck in your neck or move it back slightly to avoid hitting yourself on the chin.
Finally you can lean back “slightly” but I mean very slightly, I prefer to stay as up right as possible to avoid injury.
Oh, and please make sure you go all the way down! Otherwise you’ll turn it into a tricep exercise!
Hopefully you found this article helpful! As I plan to do plenty more and until next time be sure to join our forums below!