The overhead press benefits should motivate any lifter. The overhead press is probably best shoulder exercise there is. This post will tell you exactly what it can do for you.
If you do not know how to do this exercise, please read my guide on the barbell overhead press.
Overhead Press Benefits. This lift comes with a gamut of advantages. Check ’em out in the list below:
- Get a Full Body Workout. This Olympic-style lift delivers a fantastic full body workout. To the casual gym-spectator, it may appear as nothing more than an upper body exercise. But the overhead press is much more. Yes, the shoulders, triceps, upper chest and upper back muscles are the “movers” that carry out the motion. However, your core and lower body muscles must be isostatically contracted (flexed without moving) throughout the motion. Don’t be surprised if your glutes are sore the next day.
- Build Upper Body Mass & Strength. You’ll surely experience a full body workout, but the most noticeable results will be a bigger and stronger upper body. The overhead press is the best exercise for pushing the greatest amount of weight overhead (using just the upper body muscles). According to the principal of progressive overload, you must increase stress on the muscles over time to build muscle mass. Thus, the overhead press is a top choice for building muscle because the potential for progressive strength gains is practically unlimited.
- Increase Your Lockout Strength. You train your lockout strength by fully extending your elbows on each and every rep. This improves your ability to power through the end of heavy repetitions that would otherwise end in an intense, drawn-out struggle to move the bar just two more inches. This lockout strength transfers to all other exercises that involve an elbow lockout.
- Increase Your Bench Press. Overhead press strength carries over to the barbell bench press. This is because the overhead press trains most of the muscles trained when bench pressing, but with a different focus. It focuses on the shoulders and triceps, which are assistance muscles for benching. Additionally, the lockout strength (see above) carries over to the bench press.
- Related: read these bench press tips for more info on increasing bench press strength.
- Safeguard Your Shoulders. This exercise offers the benefit of improved shoulder health and protection against injuries when done correctly. First off, it makes the shoulder muscles stronger in general. Second, and most important, it trains the anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid and posterior deltoid relatively evenly, which helps maintain proper muscular balance. That said, the posterior delts will probably still lag. So I advise doing additional exercises like face pulls and rear delt raises.