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The Obliteration Of The Shoulder Press

The Obliteration Of The Shoulder Press

Today’s topic is all about the shoulder press. Now there are obviously several variations of pressing that one can implement to become a rock hard weight room cowboy. However, for today’s topic the issue is about where the focus of energy is in our bodies when we go about executing a press. Keep on reading for the rest of the story.

Are You Obliterating The Press?

When wrestling with the iron it seems like us coaches spend more time on addressing what is wrong with a respective trainee in a given movement rather than how to perform the movement correctly. The reality is that this is a necessary approach because one must fix what is wrong first before being able to obtain what is correct. The idea is that we all should learn from our mistakes.

Even though we should learn from our mistakes the common theme with much of the population when looking at the mastery of movement and lifting technique is that they are often unaware that they are making a mistake and over time these repetitive mistakes can potentially add up to be causing an injury.

When looking at the overhead press, or military press, this is certainly the case. Now granted there are some slight variations when comparing different pressing techniques such as the military barbell press to the military kettlebell press, but the truth is that they both have more in common than one might think.

As a matter of fact the mistakes many lifters fall victim to with either one of these techniques are exactly the same. The only difference is that the kettlebell press tends to be more unforgiving and produces a failed attempt more often with the lifter due to the awkwardness of the weight.

One of the main problems I see with many folks trying to perform overhead lifting is a lack of stability in the shoulder girdle. Shoulder stability is an absolute must for any movement that involves pushing, pulling, and pressing. A common theme that I’ve noticed with much of the general population is lacking the structural integrity around the torso and shoulder girdle when performing a pressing movement.

The structure of the shoulder girdle is typically weakened due to the fact that the lifter is unaware with how to pack the shoulder girdle. Shoulder packing is something that really is a natural feeling movement once it is recognized, but the reality is that many people fail to execute it properly. This is an older video I did on this very issue, but I think the information is still very helpful.

As you can see this can be an issue with many lifters. In addition to this other problems involve people wanting to emphasize shrugging at the traps when beginning the overhead part of the lift. When this happens the lifter is immediately compromised in his or her position due to the fact that they are leaking energy which will in turn weaken their structural integrity during the pressing move.

I did sort of touch on this in my video, but here is another great explanation of this error by Pavel when talking about how the focus of energy is misplaced when performing the press. The fact is that we must focus on the underside of the girdle at the lats instead of relying on the traps.

Once again it’s all about where the emphasis is being placed during the movement. A misplaced focus of energy is the direct cause of an inefficient, or failed lift. By placing more of the stress of the lift on the traps we bleed our energy and ultimately obliterate the shoulder press technique. In simple terms it just screws everything up.

Once again my idea of smart training is efficiency. Remember that pressing a weight overhead involves a lot more than just grabbing it and pushing it up towards the sky without a thought. The physical learning curve is a must and once that physical intelligence is acquired then there doesn’t have to be as much thinking involved as there is natural feel to the movement. Until then make sure it’s done right.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if so make sure you post up in the comment box below with any questions you might have. Stay strong and keep training smart.

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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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