How to do an overhead press and 5 mistakes to avoid

Your form is important during this exercise!

  1. Keep your core engaged and back neutral as you press the weight overhead. The tendency is to arch the back/swing as you press. Think of it like holding a plank as you press — no arching allowed!
  2. Make sure to balance overhead motions with moves to strengthen your rotator muscles, posterior deltoids, and upper back muscles. For every overhead motion you do aim for at least one upper back exercise, one postural/external rotation motion, and one move for the posterior deltoids. Think bent-over rows, band external rotations, and bent-over reverse flys.

Different variations are appropriate for different situations. A fun way to make overhead motions more interesting is to combine them with a squat or lunge motion. Think squat thrusters or a kettlebell lunge. Try the kettlebell lunge and press with the bell up for extra fun.
Remember to breathe. Holding your breath is never good, but it is especially problematic if you are pressing weights overhead. READ MORE