How to properly perform an overhead press to avoid injury and maximize gains: The overhead press is a common exercise utilized in many training programs to improve shoulder and upper back strength. However, it is commonly misunderstood with athletes focusing more on the amount of weight pressed than the technique to press it. The technique should be stressed even more in overhead motions due to the increased risk of injury when weight is pressed overhead. One common mistake is overarching the back during the shoulder press. This can be caused by a lack of shoulder motion, hip flexor tightness, or core weakness. If not addressed this can cause future lower back pain that is detrimental to your performance.
Another common mistake is performing more of a push press. A push press involves greater use of legs which is very important for explosive power but if training shoulders is your goal, this must be avoided. Thirdly, as with any exercise many people performing the lift do not allow the bar to go through the full range of motion. Many stop the bar at eye level instead of bringing it down to the chest which causes them to miss out on the full potential strength gains from the movement. When in doubt lighten the weight and perform the full motion because that it what separates the good athletes from the great ones. Finally, when performing the shoulder press make sure you are not causing any muscular imbalances throughout your shoulder. When working the front of your shoulder, it is often best to work the back as well to optimize shoulder mechanics and prevent shoulder impingement in the future. Why is this important? It is very important to make sure that you are performing exercise techniques properly to be certain you are improving your performance and not just making yourself more prone to injury. Please contact Dr. Ben Bagge at prokinetixrehab.com for his expertise in exercise biomechanics if you have any questions regarding how you can be improving your performance in competition or technique in the weight room.
Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance specializes in helping active individuals in Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco get back to exercising and working out pain free without having to take time off or relying on injections/pain medication. Pro+Kinetix offers rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.