Overhead Barbell Press

About The Overhead Barbell Press

This overhead barbell press is commonly used to strengthen the muscles within the shoulder region. Several variations are possible, all if which are discussed below. For simplicity, the instructions below are in reference to performing the movement to the front, with elbows in line with shoulders (3:00 & 9:00). Although the to-the-front version of the overhead barbell press is effective in recruiting all heads of the deltoids, the primary focus is on the anterior (front) deltoid with the secondary focus being on the middle portion of the shoulders.

Overhead Barbell Press Video

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How To Do Overhead Barbell Presses

  1. Sit in an upright position on the appropriate bench with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Reach up and grasp barbell using a closed grip at a position that has your wrists in alignment with elbows.
  3. Since starting can be awkward, have a spotter help you lift the bar off the rack and into a position that has you holding the barbell overhead.
  4. Inhale and lower down at a controlled speed until arms reach a 90 degree level. In most cases, this will be when bar reaches nose level.
  5. Exhale, extend arms and drive the weight back up to starting position.
  6. Repeat until desired number of repetitions are completed.

Overhead Barbell Press Variations

Bringing the bar behind the head instead of the front when performing the overhead barbell press will increase the recruitment of the middle deltoid. However, this method comes with a heightened risk of injury due to the additional stress placed on the shoulder capsule and the cervical disks of your neck region. This method increases your chances of sustaining a hernia.

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