The Complete Push Press Exercise Guide


If you need to have the ability to press extra weight over your head and take your vertical urgent energy to a extra highly effective stage, look no additional than the PUSH PRESS.

While the push press, which may be completed with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells (amongst different extra obscure tools), is taken into account a sophisticated motion because of a number of areas of the physique working without delay, it’s an train that even learners can study and incorporate into their coaching routine.

Below, we’ll talk about the next:

What a push press is
How to do it accurately
Common errors when performing push presses
Benefits of the push press
Push press muscle tissues labored
Variations of the push press
How to include it into your routine
Alternatives to the push press

What is a Push Press?

A push press is an overhead press that permits you to use your decrease physique to generate energy.

While this motion may be carried out with different health implements like dumbbells, kettlebells, and even sandbags, for now we’ll talk about easy methods to execute a push press correctly with a barbell.

With a barbell racked alongside your higher chest and fingers exterior shoulder width, the physique is lowered into the ability place; from right here, the hips prolong and the arms concurrently press the barbell overhead, with full extension by way of the legs and arms on the end.

The predominant distinction between a push press and a typical overhead press (aka navy press or strict press) is that you may be utilizing your decrease physique to generate power as you press overhead. 

The push press can spotlight a number of components involving indiscrepancies with urgent actions – one huge one being your mobility. Since the decrease physique, core, and higher physique all play main components in finishing a push press accurately, establishing for the motion and executing it with correct type is vital. 

If you wish to improve your energy, energy, core stability, and overhead urgent endurance, then the push press would be the good train to include into your health routine. 

Now, let’s dive in and see easy methods to do a push press accurately!

How To Do a Barbell Push Press:

We will first go over the barbell push press, then take a look at different tools choices and even alternate options to the push press.

Set Up: There are two other ways which you could start to get within the correct setup place for a push press; one is eradicating the barbell from a squat rack at about shoulder top, or you possibly can clear the barbell off of the ground.

push presses

Regardless of the way you get into place, you need to carry the barbell as much as the entrance of your shoulders with an preliminary relaxed grip on the bar – that is so your elbows can come by way of, in order that your higher arms (triceps) are parallel with the ground.
Once your elbows are by way of and pointing straight forward – or as a lot as your mobility permits – then a full grip on the barbell is required. Hands listed below are about shoulder-width aside.
As for the decrease physique, toes must be about hip-width aside, and in case you are ranging from a squat rack, take a step or two away from the rack earlier than starting.
From right here, maintain your chest up excessive with shoulder blades retracted, sustaining a stable grip on the barbell. Eyes must be ahead, with core engaged.
Once you might be set right here, decrease your self down into 1 / 4 squat, or the ability place; your heart of gravity must be simply balanced as you get into this place. With knees monitoring over your toes and elbows excessive, drive by way of your legs and prolong totally by way of your hips because the bar strikes vertically overhead.
Once the elbows are then totally prolonged, you have to be fully locked out with the barbell over your head.
If you might be doing a number of repetitions of a push press, then bringing the bar again down into the ability place (primarily re-racking the load in your entrance rack) is critical. As you decrease the bar again to the beginning place, bend your knees barely to assist “catch” the bar on the descent.
Once the barbell has totally returned to the entrance of your shoulders, your knees must also be bent – from right here, you possibly can proceed with extra reps, or you possibly can stand with full extension and re-rack the barbell in your squat rack, or drop the barbell to the bottom (pending security of your environment, in fact).

Common Mistakes with a Push Press

Because a push press could be a tough motion to get the hold of, there are some errors that may be made when studying easy methods to do it! Let’s break down among the commonest areas the place deficiencies may be seen throughout the motion.

Not shifting your head out of the best way: While this would possibly nearly be a given, shifting your head out of the best way of the barbell path can rapidly go on the again burner as you might be working by way of the method of the entire different components of the push press. As you might be decreasing into your energy place, carry your head again barely so that you’ve room to press the barbell straight up into the air – however hopefully, avoiding your chin on the similar time! Once the barbell is above your head, you possibly can then press your head by way of your arms to finish the motion. The reverse would then occur as you carry the barbell again to your entrance rack, shifting your head out of the best way because the barbell returns to the beginning place.

Pressing the bar ahead as a substitute of up: This is a quite common mistake, particularly with learners – and particularly those that have already presumably hit their chin with the barbell because it goes overhead! Although it may be a bent (and presumably really feel awkward at first) to maneuver your head again because the bar passes overhead, it’s mandatory with a purpose to preserve a vertical bar path – particularly as the load will increase. Think about it this manner…in case you are going up in weight however neglecting to drag your head again by way of the press, the load on the barbell will go ahead – subsequently placing your shoulders in danger, and putting you right into a situation the place the energy and energy out of your legs is now not helpful to the motion, because the weight is in entrance of you. Bring your head again ever so barely, then let your head come by way of your arms as you go into extension overhead.

Turning the motion right into a strict press: Again, a typical mistake that’s typical with novice push pressers. The dip-drive can take a little bit of time to get used to, so oftentimes the push press may be became a strict press (subsequently eradicating the dip-drive and corresponding leg energy and energy for the motion). If you might be questioning why the train is hard, just remember to’re getting that quarter squat from the ability place after which powerfully extending up by way of the hips to get that barbell overhead!

push press muscles worked

Benefits of the Push Press

There are a number of advantages to incorporating the push press into your routine – let’s check out a number of key paybacks for this motion!

Shoulder & Back Stability: For one, the steadiness inside your shoulder joint – and correspondingly, your actions overhead – can enhance drastically. Granted, this needs to be approached with warning, since not each train the place you might be including weight will enhance stability if completed incorrectly. However, with correct mechanics and a stable lifting program, you possibly can enhance your overhead stability as you study to push press extra weight.
Upper Body Strength & Mass: Along with this stability comes total management of your actions that require you to go overhead, and may also improve your energy good points all through the higher physique as effectively.
Leg Drive: Leg energy and energy are additionally elevated with a push press, though that’s in all probability not one of many prime advantages that often come to thoughts for most folk. However, the highly effective explosion that’s required with a purpose to get the barbell out of your entrance rack comes from a powerful hip extension, in addition to a stable energy place. Lots of power comes from the decrease physique, and in case you repeatedly work on the push press and nail the mechanics, the advantages of that decrease physique energy will translate into different workouts and positively sports activities as effectively.
Speed & Efficiency of Movements: Increased effectivity and velocity are additionally advantages of the push press; the faster you possibly can study to correctly cycle repetitions, the higher you’re going to get at shifting by way of a exercise basically, which might additionally lend itself to enhancements in different areas of train efficiency.

Other advantages of the push press can embody:

Break Through Strict Press Plateau.
Total physique muscle stimulation for elevated androgenic hormone manufacturing.
Improve mobility and mechanics for overhead presses.
Add some freshness to your exercises (do not underestimate this one!)

Overall, the push press might help you develop into a extra highly effective and explosive athlete/trainee. 

Push Press Muscles Worked

As acknowledged, the push press is a full physique train, using a number of joints and muscle tissues. Let’s check out just some of the prime movers!

Glutes: Probably not the principle muscle group you consider in terms of the push press, the glutes are the driving power behind the ability overhead. As the glutes have interaction and contract on the prime of the dip-drive, this vitality will then correspond to serving to the bar get overhead.
Quads: Again, not a entrance of thoughts muscle regarding the push press; nonetheless, just like the glutes, the quads help within the dip-drive section of the train, permitting velocity to extend with engagement as you drive upwards with the hips – and correspondingly, the barbell!
Lower Back: The engagement of the decrease again may be correlated with the core as effectively – and is critical with a purpose to maintain your whole torso stabilized through the motion of a push press. There must be no rounding (or, no anterior pelvic tilt) through the train, and an engaged core might help forestall this from occurring! If the core stability is misplaced, that may additionally contribute to the barbell shifting ahead as a substitute of in a vertical trend, which might disrupt the raise as effectively.
Anterior Delts: Although all three heads of the shoulder are activated with the push press train (anterior, lateral, and posterior), the anterior harbors a lot of the work. The medial and posterior areas of the delt assist stabilize the shoulder basically through the motion.
Upper Back: This consists of muscle tissues such because the traps (higher, center, and decrease) and the rhomboids, all of that are mandatory for the overhead energy and stability in a push press, notably across the girdle of the shoulder.
Triceps: To full the motion overhead, your arms must be totally prolonged – and that’s the job of the triceps. This smaller muscle group situated on the again of your arms is liable for locking out the elbows on the prime of the motion.

Other accent muscle teams utilized with the push press embody the hamstrings, pectorals, and calves!

push press alternatives

Push Press Variations with Different Equipment

Although the barbell push press is the commonest, there are a pair different health gadgets that you should utilize to mannequin the identical motion in case you don’t have entry to a barbell.

Kettlebell: Push presses may be carried out with both one arm or two if utilizing kettlebells, so maintain that in thoughts with reference to your coaching program. The largest distinction with this tools variation is the place of the kettlebell (that’s totally different from the barbell grip) – whenever you choose up your kettlebell, be certain that your palms are going through ahead (away out of your face) and that the kettlebell(s) are resting on the surface of your shoulder(s) earlier than starting the press.

kettlebell push press

Related: Best Kettlebell Shoulder Exercises

Dumbbell: Push presses may also be carried out with dumbbells. You can do a one or two arm model to work on imbalances and core energy, identical to with the kettlebell. When utilizing dumbbells (whether or not one arm or two), you need to seize maintain of the dumbbell and clear it as much as your shoulder(s) so one head of the dumbbell is resting calmly in your delt. With palm(s) going through inward, you then carry out the motion of the push press, explosively on the best way up, but in a managed method.

dumbbell push press

Both of those tools variations assist you to carry out a push press, however may be tweaked with a purpose to work energy and stability unilaterally in addition to including some variability to your core and decrease physique work. Sandbags and resistance bands are additionally different viable alternate options to the barbell push press, if the tools is on the market to you.

Push Press Training Variability

Since the push press is a compound motion, taking weight into consideration is vital along with your coaching, regardless in case you are utilizing a barbell or different forms of health tools. Starting with a low weight load and actually specializing in correct type and method is crucial earlier than including extra resistance.

With that being mentioned, in case you’re wanting extra of an endurance edge to your push press, then aiming for larger reps is the place you need to be. This can look one thing alongside a scheme of 2-3 units of 12-15 reps, whereas constructing mass and energy can look extra like 4-5 units of 6-10 reps.

Also remember in case you are working push press right into a routine that additionally consists of strict press and/or push jerks, as a result of that may change the dynamics of your programming as effectively.

Push Press Alternatives

Here are some nice alternate options to the push press that may even enhance your urgent energy and total higher physique energy. 

Landmine Press:

push press vs strict press

A landmine push press retains your wrists in a impartial place, which in and of itself may really feel vastly higher for some folks. This train may also be completed from a standing place or a kneeling place, giving a bit extra variability with stance. Lastly, you might be urgent at extra of a diagonal than with an everyday push press, which might ease up stress on the shoulder if that is an space of concern for you.

Note: Use two fingers to get into the beginning place, and begin gentle when first studying this motion. 

Related: Best Landmine Exercises

Push Jerk:

how to do a push press correctly

A push jerk is yet one more variation of the overhead press. A huge distinction with a push jerk is that the press begins from a racked grip place (as it’s usually completed after a clear), reasonably than a typical shoulder press grip.

Most athletes discover that they’ll push jerk considerably greater than they’d in the event that they had been simply doing a push press. This is because of the truth that whereas the push jerk has the preliminary dip-drive just like the push press, there’s one other dip after the barbell is prolonged overhead with a purpose to assist obtain the load. Once the second dip is finished, then the legs are totally prolonged, and that completes a rep. If given the selection between a strict press, push press, and push jerk (particularly in a exercise resembling HIIT the place that you must transfer weight rapidly) then a push jerk is a superb different to the push press.

Z-press:

alternatives for push presses

The z-press is one other nice possibility which you could incorporate into your exercise routine as an alternative choice to the strict press. While this motion nonetheless focuses on stability overhead, it’s primarily the strictest type of an overhead press. There can be no “cheating” with a Z-press, and that’s since you’re seated on the ground! Thus, the key emphasis is in your shoulders, traps and serratus anterior. That mentioned, there’s additionally quite a bit of focus all through the core.

A z-press may even have you ever urgent a lot much less weight than you’ll for a push press, so don’t be upset in case you get down on the ground and need to drop approach down in weight. Nevertheless, your core and overhead energy and stability can be working time beyond regulation because the dip-drive is gone. Moreover, you can actually work on bringing your head again and thru your arms as you press overhead with this train.

Start gentle with this one, and improve as desired – simply do not forget that it’s not the simplest motion, and can problem your core energy and stability intensely!

Snatch Grip Push Press:

snatch grip push press

Lastly, a snatch grip push press provides a bit extra variability to your exercises if desired; whereas the dip-drive movement stays precisely the identical because it does throughout an everyday push press, the grip is totally different! A snatch grip on the barbell could have fingers a lot farther aside than with a conventional push press.

Since this could be a difficult place to get into – and to have a cushty grip on the barbell – begin with an unloaded barbell and get a sense for stepping into place and the urgent movement.  

Overall, the snatch grip push press is an efficient variation to focus on the muscle tissues otherwise, in addition to construct energy and higher physique mobility & stability for overhead squats and for Olympic workouts just like the Snatch.

Final Thoughts:

If you might be on the lookout for a extra various motion for higher physique energy good points whereas concurrently incorporating some core stability and decrease physique energy, look no additional than the push press. Whether with a barbell or different health accent, you’re certain to note higher overhead stability, core energy, and total energy from the push press!

Related: Overhead Pressing Variations



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