How to Build Muscle – Bodybuilding Pressing Exercises for General Conditioning

In bodybuilding, strict shoulder press is one of the primary movements for the development of the shoulders and arms. When executed properly, it is a complex upper body exercise, as it requires stable foundations in core and hip muscles.

A Bullet proof core is one of the main foundations in the sport of strongman. Many of these Athletes stimulate their core muscles by lifting heavy objects overhead.


How to Build Muscle – Push Press

Unlike the strict shoulder press, the push press starts by the bending and subsequent dynamic extension of the thighs. The success of the lift depend on the hip drive, which turns it into a full body exercise. It is used in weightlifting to teach the proper dip and hip extension for jerks and for building additional strength.

Track and field athletes, footballers, martial artists etc all need high level of explosiveness, which starts at the hips. It can be developed using the push press. Many bodybuilders do the push-press unconsciously, using the leg drive as a way to cheat through the last few reps of strict presses. Sometimes they use it as a main exercise to stimulate their shoulders with heavier weights and activate more muscle fibres. Overloading is one of the intensification methods used in bodybuilding.


Heavy overhead presses should be part of the training routine of all individuals who aim for strength, power and athleticism. They improve raw strength, explosiveness, stability and muscular coordination. Moreover, they are good foundations for the two Olympic weightlifting exercises.

Some people might find them uncomfortable due to the anatomy of their shoulder joints. Machines and alternative exercises offer different ranges of motion, which might alleviate the discomfort. This however should only be seen just as a temporary solution.

Regular mobility drills and learning the proper techniques can improve the range of motion and make the overhead press movement feel more comfortable. Addressing any mobility issues will have more long-term benefits rather than ignoring the problem and sitting down behind the machine. Instead, we should turn our bodies into the machines, to rephrase the famous CrossFit quotes.

Push-presses are also included in some CrossFit WODS:


5 Rounds for Load

  • Complete 7 Unbroken Sets of this Complex:
  • 1 Power Clean
  • 1 Front Squat
  • 1 Push Press
  • 1 Back Squat
  • 1 Push Press

Complete all 5 movements for 1 repetition of the complex. Complete the complex 7 times, unbroken (without letting go of the bar or resting it on the ground) for 1 round. Complete 5 unbroken rounds, increasing the weight and resting as needed between each round. Score is max weight used for your 5th unbroken round.

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