The shoulder press is one of the most mainstream movements within the fitness world-heck, I remember doing the shoulder press throughout high school and learning about the military press in college. Throughout that, I wondered the entire time what the difference was. I've always been strong upper body wise...but also combated partial tears and strains in my shoulders throughout that time. In all the times I did a shoulder press back then, I remember only doing them in the seated position. With CrossFit, all the shoulder presses, whether they have been done strict, push pressed, or push jerked, they have all been from the racked position. I am standing upright throughout those movements. Is there a difference? Am I better or worse for it?
In the press, whatever variation we engage in, develops core strength and the kinetic chain from toe to our hands in the overhead position. Mark Rippletoe, author of Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training and Practical Programming for Strength Training, discusses the shoulder press.
"Pressing a bar overhead develops core strength, and somehow manages to do so without a Swiss ball. Since the kinetic chain-the parts of the body involved in the transmission of force from the place where is generated to where it is applied- in the press starts [sic] at the ground and ends at the hands, everything [that] is between these two points gets worked, one way or the other. This includes pretty much everything. Specifically, the trunk and hip muscles have to stabilize the body while the force being generated by the arms and shoulders gets transmitted between the bar and the floor." - Mark Rippletoe "The Press"
- The stance of the press will be wider than a pulling stance (jumping stance in other lifts) and maybe as wide as a squat stance.
- Look straight ahead, lift your chest-think raising your sternum to your chin. This improves tightness in your torso.
- Take a deep breath, hold it as you drive the bar over your head. The increased pressure provides support for your back and chest, which provides safety with heavy weights.
I've noticed many athletes, self included, leave the heels early. The athlete in the image above shows this. Try staying in your heels as long as you can to maintain that force from your feet through your hands.
A. 10 mins to find max strict press
B. 3 x 2/4 strict + push press @ 90% of above
10 Deadlifts 225/155#
8 Box jumps 32/24