Tip: A Strange Way to Build a Rock-Solid Core

It looks like an overhead press, but it's really one of the most brutal core exercises you can do. Check it out.

When you've been training for a long time, it can be challenging to find exercises that get you excited. For me, if an exercise makes my core scream for mercy I immediately want to get better at it. Why? Because I've found a gap in my strength and I need to remedy that. Here's a new one that has me excited:

The Offset Barbell Press

The offset barbell press is really unique in that the weight of the bar isn't the issue: it's the leverage. To do this press, you really don't need a lot of weight. You stand at one end of the bar, with one hand almost touching the sleeve, and press straight up. That's it.

Since the weight is so far from your center of mass and offset to one side, you actually have to pull with the furthest arm while pressing to prevent the barbell from tipping. It's like a standing-side-plank-half-pull-up and press – a truly unique movement that gets your body thinking!

Start with an empty barbell. As you get more comfortable, add fractional plates to the offset end of the bar. A few sets of this and your abs and brain will be mush.

Offset presses are a quick warm-up for a pressing day or a core workout in their own right. Here's how to do them:

  1. Set up in a rack with the barbell more out to one side, leaving space for your hand on the other side.
  2. Put a small amount of weight on the very end of the other side (or none if it's your first go). I recommend double clipping it just in case you press at an angle.
  3. Grab the barbell at the opposite side to the weight and brace hard. Do not rush your walkout. Slowly step back into your standard strict press position.
  4. Press with control very slowly and keep the bar completely straight at all times. Push with the closest arm; pull with the furthest arm.
  5. Aim to do 5 sets for each side. Do however many reps you can keep braced for – minimum of 3 reps: this isn't a one-rep max exercise.
Tom Morrison is a British weightlifting coach, martial artist, and CrossFit trainer and competitor. Tom works with athletes on prerequisite movement capabilities for optimal strength, performance, and reduced risk of injury.  Follow Tom Morrison on Facebook