How To Perform An Overhead Barbell Press From A Rack

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overhead press technique
10 May 2024 3 min read
How To Perform An Overhead Barbell Press From A Rack

The overhead press is a key compound movement that builds upper body strength and is great for the core. This movement is a staple in many routines that carries over benefits for other pushing activities including the bench press by predominantly targeting the shoulders & triceps.

Here’s how to perform the standing overhead press correctly with the correct setup. You can also watch the full video here.

How To Set Up A Shoulder Press From A Rack

Firstly, it is important to set the barbell at the correct height. Set the J-cups so the barbell is slightly lower than the shoulder, around your upper chest.

Next, you want to think about hand placement. The recommendation here is to go slightly wider than shoulder width. This grip width will make the forearms aligned in a vertical position and is most efficient.

If the grip is too narrow, there will be too much strain on the elbows with an overemphasis on the triceps. Too wide and you’ll be weaker, limiting your prime movers.

From here you want to get underneath the barbell and unrack the weight with the barbell resting on your shoulders. Take 3 steps out and ensure your feet are in line with each other. Set your feet so they are in a stable position.

Starting position for the standing overhead press

If you are lifting a challenging weight (it’s good practice to have these set up all the time), you should have your Safeties or Spotter Arms set up correctly. As you step out of the rack be sure to stay in range for your Safeties to catch the barbell should you fail the movement.

Ready To Lift

At this point, you will be ready to press directly above you with your core engaged. Push through to the top of the movement, fully extending the arms. At the top part of the movement, the barbell should be directly above your head with your wrists straight.

Lower the weight back down in a controlled motion to your starting position and repeat for the target number of reps. Breath in as you lower the barbell and breath out as you push the barbell overhead.

After you’ve completed your set slowly step back into the rig or rack and rest on the J-cups.

Repeat for the desired number of sets.

Performing the overhead press

An overhead press from a Power Rack or Rig is much easier than lifting a barbell from the floor and trying to bring it into the right starting position. You’ll also find it much easier to change the weights this way.

Take a look at some of our most convenient stands and racks for pressing movements. If you are short on space in your gym the next best alternative is using a set of Again Faster Dumbbells.

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