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Is overhead press necessary? Is it true that overhead presses are effective?

Is it required to do an overhead press? The overhead press is a useful exercise that has been a part of well-balanced programming for a long time. You’d assume that pressing bars to the ceiling would be the go-to workout for shoulder health, overall strength, and huge deltoids, but honestly, overhead pressing isn’t for everyone.

Is overhead press necessary
Is overhead press necessary

If long-term shoulder health and preventing more serious injuries down the line are important to you — and they should be — then a simple “screen” to see if overhead pressing is a suitable fit may be in your best interest.

To check if the overhead press is a suitable fit for your workout, try this one-step shoulder test.

Why Isn’t the Overhead Press Overrated?

Why Isn’t the Overhead Press Overrated?

The overhead press, as one of the first strength competition lifts, has a long history in weightlifting. More information on this can be found here. Despite its long history and widespread use in bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, strongman, and even Crossfit, the overhead press continues to be reviled.

I’m quite sure I know why. It’s a tough motion, and your overhead pressing weight will almost certainly be far lighter than your bench press. It doesn’t have the same immediate ego-boosting effect as the bench press.

However, if you stick with the overhead press and do it correctly and consistently, it will have a huge impact on your entire strength and body.

The Advantages of Using an Overhead Press

The Advantages of Using an Overhead Press

Increased Shoulder Strength and Size

Even its naysayers can’t refute the overhead press’s capacity to build enormous, muscular deltoids. Unlike other pressing movements, the overhead press focuses primarily on the deltoids, particularly the anterior and medial deltoids.

Although flat and incline bench presses have some deltoid participation, the overhead press is superior to none in terms of fully training and overloading the deltoids with a single lift. The dumbbell shoulder press produced considerably more anterior deltoid muscle activation than any other exercise. Even though it came in sixth place out of ten for medial deltoid activation, it still had a strong activation score.

Only pressing movements that strike the side (medial) delts are allowed.

Every pressing activity, from decline bench press to flat and incline, hits the anterior deltoid to some extent. The medial deltoid, on the other hand, is only adequately targeted by the overhead press, particularly the standing overhead press, which allows for the most range of motion.
Multiple Lifts Carryover

One of the most significant benefits of doing the overhead press is the carryover it provides to a number of major lifts. If you want to build a huge bench press, the overhead press will assist you not only build stronger anterior delts, but also boost your bench press triceps lockout strength. The triceps are heavily activated during the middle section of the overhead press.

Balance and stability are improved.

In every sense of the term, the overhead press is a compound exercise. One of the reasons it’s so challenging is the level of involvement it requires from your complete body. In the standing version, this is especially true.

Pressing a weight overhead, especially if it’s substantial, necessitates the use of your entire body to keep it stable. Especially at the height of the exercise, your core will become completely involved in stabilising the lift.

Is Overhead Pressing, on the other hand, required?

Is Overhead Pressing, on the other hand, required?

In a strict sense, no. The overhead press, despite its many advantages, is not required for shoulder development. Incline presses, front rises, and lateral raises will suffice. However, this method will take longer to properly grow your deltoids. You’ll also miss out on the most important pressing exercise for strengthening your shoulders and putting your upper body strength to the test.

When you can just do the overhead press, why waste all that time doing a bunch of volume with smaller exercises or workouts that don’t directly target your delts?

Of course, those smaller isolation exercises should still be included to fully round out your shoulders.

Overhead Pressing Techniques

Overhead Pressing Techniques

For overhead strength, power, and a favourable impact on other lifts and athletic performance, most athletes and lifters should include an overhead press variant in their routine. However, not everyone possesses the necessary shoulder mobility or core strength to complete an overhead press without requiring any adjustments.

When you’re ready for the barbell — don’t rush this because excellent overhead mechanics are crucial for this action — here’s how to properly set up your overhead press:

  1. Place your hands just outside shoulder width apart with the bar in front of you.
  2. Maintain a vertical position with elbows and forearms stacked on top of each other. Your grasp is either too narrow or too wide if your elbows are tucked or flared. Please make the necessary adjustments.
  3. Place the bar on the heel of your palm, which will generate the most force.
  4. Ensure that your middle knuckles are facing upwards (towards the ceiling).

Is it required to do an overhead press?

Is it required to do an overhead press?

The overhead press is a useful exercise that has been a part of well-balanced programming for a long time. You’d assume that pressing bars to the ceiling would be the go-to workout for shoulder health, overall strength, and huge deltoids, but honestly, overhead pressing isn’t for everyone.

Is it true that overhead presses are effective?

Is it true that overhead presses are effective?

The overhead press is a large compound lift that works our shoulders well. It strengthens our front delts and side delts, broadening and enlarging our shoulders. Many muscles, including our traps, abs, and triceps, are worked hard enough to stimulate muscle growth.

F.A.Q is overhead press necessary:

Will overhead presses help you develop broad shoulders?

The overhead press should be a staple in your shoulder-building practise. Muscle growth, on the other hand, necessitates lifting heavier weights or performing more repetitions on a regular basis.

Is the overhead press superior than the bench press?

The overhead press strengthens you in a more traditional, or “functional” way. The overhead press appears more realistic than the bench press since it is performed from a standing position. In ordinary life or during a sporting event, you rarely have the luxury of lying down and pushing an object.

Is it true that the overhead press is overrated?

Pressing a barbell overhead is overrated unless you’re one of the lucky few who have won the genetic lottery in terms of shoulder anatomy and mobility. What exactly is this? Go for it if you’re a lifter with the shoulder mobility, thoracic spine mobility, and shoulder anatomy to handle overhead training.


The overhead press provides excellent carryover for athletes who demand overhead strength as well as other overhead lifts in the gym. It aids in the development of upper-body strength, power, and flex appeal.

Before moving anything heavy overhead, make sure you understand proper overhead mechanics. Make this a staple of your upper-body workouts, and you’ll reap the advantages in the gym and on the field.

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Field John

If you are an avid believer in health and fitness and want to do something for your team, I can help. As the founder of Field Goals Fitness, I lead a collective of health and fitness professionals dedicated to helping Australians lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. With a warm, friendly, and supportive approach that gets results, I enjoy helping individuals & organisations achieve sustainable success with their health and fitness goals. Certifying as a Personal Trainer in 2009, was a turning point in my life. I had spent 14 years in the corporate world in Business Development roles and decided to take all that I had learnt in sales and marketing and start my own business.

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