Tip: Get Linebacker Strong

Build your shoulders, traps, upper back, and triceps with this brutal exercise. Take a look.

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The javelin press is old-school strength move that has regained popularity thanks to football superstar James Harrison performing it with incredibly heavy loads.

James Harrison

Here's what it looks like.

With your hand perfectly centered, grip the barbell hard, keep a tall posture, produce ample t-spine extension, and drive the weight overhead in a smooth, forceful manner. Don't allow the elbow to drop excessively low in the bottom position. This promotes collapsing and faulty recruitment patterns.

The javelin press will also produce heightened levels of rotary stability from your core as the offset loading forces you to resist rotation. Few exercises require such a high degree of shoulder and grip stabilization while simultaneously challenging the core.

The javelin press forces you to pack your shoulders into the optimal position because anything less will cause the bar to tilt. That's why the javelin press is very joint friendly – the heightened instability requires you to centrate the shoulder joint into the most biomechanically sound position. This takes stress off the joints and connective tissue, ensuring the surrounding muscles absorb all the force.

  1. Lower the bar under control. Letting the bar descend in a free-fall causes instability and you'll likely end the set in spectacular but undesirable fashion.
  2. Make it even more effective by pausing at the top and bottom. This stimulates a greater hypertrophy response because the amount of mechanical tension, muscle damage, and metabolic stress (particularly to the shoulders, traps, upper back, and triceps) goes through the roof.
  3. The javelin press can also be done with two arms:

Two-Arm Javelin Press

Although this eliminates most of the rotary stability demands to the core, the heightened degree of motor control makes the exercise even more difficult because you'll have to stabilize two volatile loads simultaneously.