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Part 2 Of High Impact Strength Movements…The Press

Part 2 Of High Impact Strength Movements…The Press

So in Part 2 of my high impact strength series I want to dive in to take a look at the overhead press. As I pointed out in the last part of this series (seen here) I wanted to give you a breakdown of the most basic moves for you to perform that would essentially give you the most bang for your strength training buck, especially if you are limited on time, space, and equipment. Staples may have the “Easy Button,” but I’ve got the “Simple” button for you to hit right here.

Examining The Overhead Press…

When looking at the press you might assume that it is a fairly basic looking exercise that doesn’t require a great deal of complexity to understand, let alone to perform. If you still come to that conclusion after viewing that movement here below then I would ask you to seriously re-evaluate your observation.


First of all I’m referring to the overhead press in a fairly generic manner in today’s post concerning movement selection. Obviously you could select from a battery of overhead pressing exercises if you really look into all the variations. For today’s post I’m demonstrating the single arm military press (swing, clean press) with a kettlebell.

Looking specifically at the military press which involves more of a rigid body and being able to create maximal tension to press the bell (with fist below chin to a locked out position overhead) is the type of press I’m referring to in this series of high impact strength movements. I’m more concerned with you performing a strict military press either with a single arm or with both arms for the sake of today’s post, but I’m personally demonstrating the kettlebell single arm military press simply because I already had a video completed and ready to post up for both yours and my convenience. Yep, there’s no other magical explanation as to why I specifically chose the single arm military press using the kettle bell rather than a barbell or dumbbell, it was just simply a matter of convenience. 🙂

Raising the Bar The Definitive Guide to Bar Calisthenics

The point is that it’s the technique of the military press that I’m going to discuss in more detail. In the video that I shared with you above I’m performing the single arm press with a 32 kg (or 72 lb.) kettlebell. In order to effectively military press a heavy weight in such a raw manner the lifter (you) must be able to once again create that much needed intrathoracic pressure within the abdominal cavity in order to create a great deal of tension and stability. This is essential for creating force production in order to get the weight above the head in an effective manner.

In addition to creating the force you must also learn the proper “feel” involved with the act of pressing a weight overhead which has a much different description than what an outside observer sees the lifter actually doing. I know what you’re thinking, Brandon what in the hell are you talking about? Coach have you lost your marbles?

Authentic RKC Kettlebells

Ok, no I’m perfectly aware of what I just said. Allow me to explain in a little more detail. First of all, I want you to imagine holding either a barbell, or a kettlebell at the rack position. From here when you start the press change your physical perception of the lift by not thinking so much about pushing the weight overhead, but rather compressing your body to be straight, compact, rigid, and stable as you push yourself “away from the weight.” I know that sounds a little different, but think about that perspective.

In addition to this as I push myself away from the kettlebell I’m maintaining a complete lockout of my body position from my ankles, knees, hips, torso, and up through my arm(s) until the weight is lifted overhead. This is essentially at the center of the military press technique. In addition to this there is a slight circular motion of the arm as it ascends into the lift due to the external rotation of the head of the humerus until the lockout of the weight is complete. The shoulder moves more naturally in this manner.

Perfecting The Press

It’s because of this circular motion that you want to ensure that you really learn to contract your lats as you start to build compression throughout your torso to effectively push the load overhead. As you contract the lat and crush your grip to press the weight you’ll effectively pack the shoulder which will result in more strength and stability at the joint. Take a second to allow that last sentence to sink in. I know this requires a great deal of visualization to grasp, but just to be sure you understand I’ve got another video here to help clear it all up.


Now you see what I’m talking about? Whew, I broke a sweat trying to explain the damn press. You see I told you there was a lot more to it than you initially might have thought. The point is that if you can break it all down and hit the lift as described here on all cylinders then you’ll be pushing some serious weight overhead with complete stability and control in no time.

So what did you think of Part 2 of High Impact Strength Movements? Let me know by dropping me a line in the comment section below this article. Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart my friend.

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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