Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Pressing Matter

It's guys like this that made the
overhead presstough to judge
Before the benchpress became the staple in powerlifting competitions, the overhead press was used as a measure of strength.  It was one of the things that was competed in powerlifting meets until the year 1972.  The reason why it was omitted wasn't because overhead presses suck or make a lifter prone to injury.  Rather, the overhead press was hard to judge because flexible lifters tend to arch their back which then enable them to press more.

It's easy to figure out why the benchpress was then introduced.  It simply is much easier to judge.

I for one, am not impressed by guys who can bench a huge amount of weight.  I usually go "mehhh...." when I see guys grunting and heaving to bench weights.  But pressing huge weights overhead is another story altogether. Now THAT is impressive.  THAT is the mark of a strong man.  Plus, it has good carryover to real life usage.  Unlike the squat and the deadlift, I don't see how lying on your back and lifting weights can be beneficial when going through your daily activities.

Yes, I am biased.  Sue me.  I am entitled to my opinion.  Plus, it's my blog. Haha.  Anyway, here's a list of benefits of overhead presses:
Keep your elbows tucked in... Like this
dude does right here

  1. It's a total body workout.  It works your legs, glutes, core, shoulders, upper chest, lats... it smokes everything.
  2. It especially gives your obliques a nice workout.
  3. Unlike the benchpress which focuses more on the front shoulders and not much on your back shoulders, the overhead press works all parts of your shoulders.
When done correctly, the overhead press is a heck of an exercise.  For me, it's one of the toughest lifts.  But I love it nonetheless.  However, my shoulder was once injured because I had been using the wrong pressing technique.  Luckily, it wasn't a serious injury but I had to stay away from upper body exercises for a few weeks.  That's enough to make me weep.

My mistake was that my grip was too wide and my elbows were flared.  You must always tuck your elbows in.  For that to happen, you must also have strong and flexible wrists.  Or else you're gonna have some trouble keeping your elbows tucked in when you're at the overhead press starting position.

If you haven't tried out the overhead press, you should.  Just make sure you do it with proper form, ok?

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