Tip: The Right Overhead Press for You

Not everyone is ready for the barbell. Are you? Find out here and double check your form.

Vertical pressing is an essential skill to have if you want functional strength, but that doesn't mean the standard overhead barbell press is right for you.

The one-arm dumbbell press is a joint-friendly pressing variation that allows your shoulder to go through its natural range of motion. Start with a neutral grip and rotate the palm as you press up. This limits the risk of impingement.

Although you could do a two-arm dumbbell press, it's generally easier for beginners to learn how to engage their core and keep their ribcage down when doing the one-arm variation.

Not for beginners, those who lack thoracic spine mobility, or individuals with shoulder injuries. The barbell strict press is one of the most misunderstood movements out there, and if done improperly, it's likely to cause back strain or shoulder tweaks.

Good Standing Barbell Strict Press

Keep the elbows lifted as you drive the bar up and back while you pull your body through the bar. The bar should be stacked directly overhead and you should be able to stand with the bar above your head comfortably when a good rep is completed.

Bad Standing Barbell Strict Press

New lifters will often arch the back and forget to pull the body through. It's essential to learn how to keep your ribcage down and core engaged to protect your lower back.

TJ Kuster is a certified athletic trainer (ATC) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), specializing in mobility and injury prevention. He coaches at Method Sports Performance in Bloomington, IL.