The best measure of absolute pressing strength is not the bench press (please don’t tell the lifters that) but the bench press. While the bench press is fairly standard among weightlifters, the same cannot be said for the overhead press or the many overhead press accessory exercises.
Why? You get no help from the bench or a spotter yelling, “It’s all you bro” while they lift the weight for you. With the overhead press, it’s your feet on the floor, hands on the bar, and lift it or not. The overhead press is all you have bro, which arguably makes it a better test of pressing strength than the bench press.
Here, we’ll dive into what’s needed for great overhead press technique, and seven trainers share their favorite overhead press prop exercises for an improved overhead press.
Muscles Used for Basic Overhead Press Exercise
There are certain deviations in form and technique when it comes to any lift because you are all put together differently. But there are some non-negotiables regarding the airline press, and they are.
- Shoulder mobility: If you can’t raise your arms above your head without pain or compensation in your back or anterior core, you don’t have to do anything above.
- Core stability: A common mistake with the overhead press is protruding the lower back and rib cage to lift the bar overhead. Having good core strength will help reduce lower back crush to smithereens.
- Triceps and upper back strength: The final third of the lift is all triceps, and adequate tricep strength is needed to lock in your overhead press. For scapular stability, upper back strength is needed to provide a better pressure path and lock.
It might take a while, but these three critical areas need to be locked down before hoisting heavy weights overhead.
Overhead Press Accessory Exercises
These seven expert trainer prop exercises will point you in the right direction when looking to improve your overhead press strength and performance.