The overhead press (OHP) is one of the true indicators of upperbody strength. Everybody who has trained for a while will have a decent chest and some bench press strength to go with it: not everybody has boulder shoulders. Yeah they might be pressing a decent weight laid down, but how much are they lifting stood up, right over their head. 9/10 times the chances is they won't be moving much weight.
First I will explain why I feel I am qualified (so to speak) to give you advice. I have gone from struggling to lift 40kg above my head to putting up 90kg in about 14 months. This is stood up with straight legs and strict form. I also went from having no shoulders to them being one of my defining features, which helps give the illusion of a having a slim waist.
To perform a standing military press I would advise following this step by step guide:
- Stand in the middle of the bar and place your arms straight out in front of you. With slight adjustments when needed, this should be roughly where your hands should be placed. Too many people put their arms in the same position as with bench, when it should be in fact narrower
- If not cleaning from the floor then the bar should be racked at about shoulder height
- Swoop under the bar with your palms facing away from you and rest on your shoulders, then lift off with your legs.
- Step back from the rack
- Place feet in a slightly staggered (but not exaggerated) stance. Note that you can have them side by side which was common when it was still in the Olympics, but I find this easier when the weight is high, and helps with tension from the lower back.
- Ensure legs are kept straight throughout the entire movement, we are not push pressing. Unless you are someone that says he reps 140kg on bench when its all half reps then you should not be push pressing. We want that shoulder growth.
- Another key factor with form is to make sure that your shoulders do not at any point during the movement go further back than your hips. This is the key reason it was removed from the Olympics: there were too many people doing a standing incline bench press.
- With the bar touching your shoulders (or just above if mobility is an issue) drive up from your shoulders and with your hips to explosively push the bar up.
- When above the sticking point (usually about half way up) activate the triceps to hit the lockout
- Lower slowly back down to the shoulder. At this point you can either explosively push back up using the reflex mechanism or hold at the bottom for a second and then push up. I recommend the latter as it will build up your explosive strength which will help you hit higher single-repetitions (ie. 1RM) and be able to lift that girlfriend up easier.
A little demonstration. Best video I could do with a busy gym.
There are a few extra points that I feel are necessary to add in.
If your shoulder development is not near on equal, then I would stick to using dumbbells. It is slightly different to use these but the basic ideas regarding stance is the same except when you come up your hands will gravitate towards each other and away from each other at the bottom (think of a triangle).
The bench press is one of the big lifts that everybody uses to try and compare upper body strength. Though I personally prefer the OHP as a strength standard, there is no doubting the love the bench press gets. If you are wanting to increase the bench and have hit a sticking point, add OHP into your program and you will smash through that plateau.
Girlfriends may not actually enjoy being picked up. Please be aware that she may get angry if she does not expect it. I hold no responsibility for how she reacts.
I am not a fitness expert, I just like to lift. This information is for fun and should be taken as fact. Please refer to a fitness professional if you are unsure with what you are doing. On that note, have fun with the OHP and enjoy the gains!