This is how you do an over head strict press.
What is an over head strict press?
The strict press is movement that is vital to any program–especially here at Recharge|HoCo CrossFit. It addresses a range of motion that we do not utilize enough in our daily lives which is having our arms overhead. That reason alone gives way to it being problematic for many.
In addition, the idea of putting weight above one’s head is not all that appealing for many.
Regardless of confidence and use, utilizing the strict press is vital for shoulder health and function. Taking a weight, putting it overhead, requires full use of the rotator cuff, upper back muscles, and coordination of the core.
The ‘strict’ portion of the strict press comes from using only the upper body to move the weight. Other variations of an overhead press could be the push-press or the push-jerk which utilize the legs as well.
Let’s dive into how we do it.
How do we strict press?
Putting something over our head is simple enough. Thus, this movement is much more about what your body will do if we are missing certain motions. For baseline though, your shoulders should first be able to reach vertically overhead without your rib cage flaring up or your low back arching significantly. If you are able to do this, you have the motion required to press overhead. If not, there may be some technique or mobility work required to allow the movement to be as efficient as possible.
The barbell will start in the front rack position, where it sits on the clavicle, or the base of the neck. This gives us a “shelf” to raise the bar from. From there a firm grip around the bar allows us the stability to press up.
As you press the bar up move your head back by creating a “double chin.” This will allow you to keep the bar from getting to far out in front of you and, more importantly, keep you from knocking the bottom of your chin with the bar.
As the bar goes up it is important to keep the ribcage from flaring up, so that you can use the range of motion in your shoulder.
As you approach the top the cue we most often give is push the bar TO the ceiling. This allows your shoulders and upper back to be an active participant in feeling strong overhead. If that cue doesn’t work, attempt to “push yourself away from the bar.”
Last, as you come back down from the top position of the overhead press make sure to make that double chin and settle back into the front rack position.
Why do we strict press?
The strict press allows us to strengthen our upper extremity through a full range of motion. This enables us to perform any activity that we demand of our shoulders to be done with (relative) ease.