Strict Press is a fundamental compound exercise that strictly works on strength and muscle building of the upper body with zero leg drive.
Compared to other presses, they have major similarities but a very distinctive difference, which is Strict Press, does not involve bending of the knees or use momentum from the legs to power the overhead press.
Just from the name, you know that the press is strictly for the upper body development especially the shoulders and chest, which means your shoulders, should have strong muscles to perform the exercise.
The exercise develops your overhead pushing strength and core strength too.
HOW TO DO STRICT PRESS PROPERLY
For a proper execution and form, make sure to keep in mind that your core and shoulders are doing most of the work so no aching your back nor gaining momentum from your leg muscles.
Your lower body should be stable.
How to do it:
- Place a barbell on a rack and adjust the height so that it is about your chest height.
- Grab the barbell with an overhand grip, lift it off the rack and step backwards to a free area where you can press freely.
- Rest the bar at your palms’ heels and place it across your front delts so that it rests in that position.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Grip the bar with your hands wider than the shoulder width distance, just outside your shoulders. Keep your forearms vertical and tightly fold your fingers on the bar.
- Tuck your chin in and puff your chest out. This is your starting position.
- Inhale, brace your core and drive your arms up to press the barbell overhead. Fully extend your arms overhead to lockout the movement.
- Press the barbell upwards as if following a straight line in the middle of your body.
- Tighten your triceps and shoulder muscles to keep the barbell overhead and lock out at the elbows while your core stabilizes the upper body.
- Remember not to arch your lower back nor bend your knees.
- Exhale as you reverse back to your starting position by bending your elbows and bringing it down slowly in a controlled motion. Repeat.
- Do 2 sets of 4-8 reps.
WHAT MUSCLES DO STRICT PRESS WORK
We can confidently state that the shoulder muscles are the most targeted muscles when doing most types of press exercise.
The deltoid muscles are responsible for arm movements in whatsoever direction it seems fit. They help to stabilize and protect the shoulder joint when doing the pressing technique.
The pectoral muscle extends across the upper part of the chest area and attaching at the rear of the humerus.
Pushing your chest forward helps to increase the pressing power so that the arms are strong and well stabilized to hold the barbell while fully extended.
Best known as the traps, the trapezius muscle helps to control your scapula when pressing up since the muscles contract when lifting the barbell overhead.
When doing the Strict Press, the traps muscles squeeze together to allow your shoulders to shrug to lockout the movement and help secure the barbell overhead.
From the grip to the form and technique, it is obvious to check the triceps as one of the main muscles that activate in the workout.
The muscles helps with extension of the arms at the elbow joint and proceed to assist in locking of the elbows to allow full extension.
STRICT PRESS BENEFITS
BIGGER BETTER SHOULDER MUSCLES
Big and well-defined shoulders that look sculptured by an artist is what most workout enthusiasts, lifter and body builders swear by.
Pressing the bar overhead and locking your elbows is mandatory is helping to build rounder and stronger shoulders.
More power and momentum for the press comes from the shoulder muscles, which helps activate the muscles and improve on its overall health.
IMPROVE CORE STRENGTH
No lower body assistance and zero leg push. With such strict rules, all of the stabilization work is on the core.
Tightening the muscles helps to secure the spine while pressing to avoid back pain or injuries. The core pushes the muscles and braces the torso area helping to replace the ache at the lower back with a neutral pelvis and a straight back
IMPROVE PRESS TECHNIQUE PERFORMANCE
Practice makes perfect and with constant presses with a good form and technique, you have what you need to improve on your presses (bench press) techniques.
Strong shoulder and chest muscles is what will help you increase your endurance and muscle power when doing more pressing variations.
ALTERNATIVES TO STRICT PRESS
SEATED DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISE
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise is one of those exercises that must always appears on our daily workout routines.
The exercise works on your shoulder muscles and helps to increase muscle mass and improve on muscle symmetry.
A great alternative if you want a break from the pressing variations.
Push Ups are a classic workout that can never get close to being irrelevant just because it is one of the fundamental exercises for shoulder muscle strengthening and build up.
Simple but effective workout that utilizes the body weight and shoulder muscles to the max.
STRICT PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID
BENDING OF THE KNEE
Just from the name, the workout strictly disqualifies the use of your leg muscles for the press momentum.
Engage your shoulder, upper arms and chest muscles to press the barbell overhead. This way you will build a great push strength and develop the muscles.
ARCHING YOUR LOWER BACK
Arching your back places more pressure and tension on the lower, which is a hot recipe for backaches and injuries.
Using your back to power the pressing movement shifts focus from the target muscles and leads to a decrease in effective muscle activation.
Maintain a neutral position with your pelvis and your core tightened to reduce the chances of arching your back.
Strict Press is a strict workout that greatly insists on full upper body engagement and zero lower body engagement.
All pressing exercises benefits the upper body muscles from the arms to the shoulders then the chest muscles. The core plays a great role of stabilize the upper body while pressing.
Working on the shoulder muscles with this workout is great especially if muscle hypertrophy and strengthening is your target outcome.