“Stop Pressing!” They Say
You hear this a lot from some trainers. Now, sure, you might be in the habit of training your upper traps, front delts, and chest more than your back, and that would be a problem. But the idea that an imbalance in strength or even physique between your front side and rear side musculature means you should “avoid pressing work” is ridiculous.
Many times trainers will say this to steer clear of injury risk. Even though training the pull patterns can definitely play a big hand in improving the strength and stability of presses, the only real way to get stronger at pressing is to press.
There’s a strong chance that your muscles are injury prone and your press patterns and posture suck because you’re just plain weak due to lack of exposure. Look, the human body is as fragile and injury prone as it is strong, adaptive, and resilient.
This implies that we shouldn’t forget either side of the coin; underestimating the body’s potential is the worst mistake we can make when pursuing gains and it’s a big rabbit hole that overly careful trainers or lifters fall into, never to emerge.
The money fix for “avoiding pressing?” Press smart.
Removing a necessary pattern of movement from the picture is different than saying you’re going to stop barbell bench pressing. Instead of prohibiting any particular pressing movement, find ways to bear load overhead and horizontally that won’t cause pain while still exposing your joints to some resistance and load tolerance.
Here are three good examples: