The overhead press is a challenging exercise but works many essential muscles, such as the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps. A famous athlete and youtube, Eugene Teo, recently broke down this workout because there is a common mistake that can happen that can cause injuries and overly strained muscles. This exercise’s primary goal is to maximize the most out of the shoulder press movement and that you don’t move the same as everyone else.

When performing the overhead press, a lot of people tend to bring the bar right down to their chest, so that it’s resting on the collarbone, and lift from there. And yes, this is optimal positioning, but it’s not necessarily how you are built. “For all intents and purposes, that looks pretty good; my elbows are tracking in a good position, bar path is a straight line, I’m not overextending in my lower back,” says Teo. “But when you get heavier, a lot of issues will start to manifest.

Your movement might be spot on with a certain amount of weight on the bar, but as you start to add more weight, you will find it challenging to maintain a safe range of motion. Some advice for defining that safe range of motion is to:

  • Mimick a pulldown move
  • Once your back and shoulder muscles are engaged in this lower position, you’ll come to a natural stop

This is the stop you should be aiming for when doing an overhead press. It is critical to stop doing a shoulder press when you find yourself leaning to one side, arching your back, and not controlling your elbows. Defining the correct range of motion to avoid bringing the bar too far on their chest to maintain great form. Not maintaining this good form can limit how much strength you can build and even lead to shoulder impingements.

thumbnail courtesy of Frans Van Heeren from Pexels