How to Do The Barbell Push Press Properly

The barbell push press is a highly engaging exercise that targets areas all over the body regardless of whether they’re upper body or lower body.

However, the areas that experience the most strain include the shoulders, hips and core.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Unrack a barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and your palms facing forward.
  • Hold the barbell on your upper chest and front shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Evenly distribute your weight and grip the floor with your feet to create a stable position
  • Create tension throughout your body by engaging your core and squeezing your quads and glutes.
  • Lift your chest without extending your spine and push your head back slightly to create room for the bar path.
  • Rotate your shoulders so your elbows are pointed straight down. The barbell should rest in the heel of your palms, and your palms should be in line with your elbows.
  • Use this as your starting position
  • Initiate the upward movement by straightening your elbows and pushing the barbell toward the ceiling while maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Continue to push the barbell overhead until your arms are long with a slight bend in the elbows.
  • The barbell should be slightly behind your ears, with your head pushed forward to a neutral position and your chin tucked as if you were holding an egg under your chin. Use your shoulders and upper back
  • Slowly pull the barbell down by bending your elbows and pulling with your lats until the barbell is back in the starting position.

Repeat the steps for the number of times you feel comfortable doing the exercise i.e., 3 repetitions

WHAT MUSCLES DO THE BARBELL PUSH PRESS WORK?

As mentioned above, the barbell push press was built on a foundation of activating the majority of the body

Push presses to build muscle in your lower body and upper body, activating muscles like the glutes, pecs, triceps, deltoids, quadriceps, and lower back muscles.

That said, the barbell push press still remains largely, a full-body workout.

Think about it, before you get to a point where you plough and push that barbell overhead, there’s a circuit of muscle engagement.

First, you set yourself up in the lower body through the quads, hamstrings, glutes and hips. Store all that potential energy in the core as you balance and distribute the weight of the barbell.

Finally, you use the delts, triceps, traps and upper back to hoist the barbell over your head.

BARBELL PUSH PRESS BENEFITS

ENGAGES THE WHOLE BODY

The barbell push press activates muscles across your body—including your delts, glutes, and lower back muscles.

As such, it simplifies working out for you as it reduces the number of targeted workouts you have to do. It also improves your general fitness and conditioning levels

FACILITATES MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY

For those looking at muscle hypertrophy as the ultimate goal, then the barbell push press is a perfect exercise.

If you engage the right areas when lifting, it is possible to increase the muscle size of areas within your body such as the anterior delts, pecs and triceps.

IMPROVES CORE STABILITY

When you prepare to make the final overhead your lift, you rely heavily on your core.

This is because engaging the core allows you to balance, distribute and direct potential energy before producing that final burst of energy.

As you continue to do more reps, the core is also continually engaged. In turn, this improves its ability to balance and stabilize your core better.

BETTERS YOUR ABILITY TO DO OTHER EXERCISES

Having the barbell push press as a base sets you up for better performance when it comes to similar exercises.

For instance, exercises that require your weightlifting basics to be polished i.e., the bench press and the deadlift.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE BARBELL PUSH PRESS

STRICT PRESS

The strict press is considered as a direct replacement to the push press exercise. It involves a lot of similar movements.

The strict press is however not as explosive an exercise as the barbell push press. That said, it does do a better job in regards to allowing you to carry larger overhead muscle mass.

Therefore, allow you to push your strength and balance levels higher. It is also possible to do the exercise while seated

JUMP SQUAT

The jump squat brings about the same lower body effects as the barbell push press. It creates an environment to facilitate power and explosiveness in the lower body.

You do this by training your body to forcefully push yourself upwards often using the floor as a trigger.

THRUSTERS

This is a hybrid exercise moulded in a pattern that heavily borrows from the push press and squat.

Thrusters involve introducing weighted barbells and squatting before rising and simultaneously pushing the weights overhead.

BARBELL PUSH PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID

DOING TOO MANY REPS

The practice of regulation is just as important as anything when exercising. The promise of hypertrophy can at times push you to a point of getting carried away when doing reps.

It is also important to note that the barbell push press is not a conditioning exercise. Therefore, it is likely to be draining.

The recommended number of reps is five anything more can be strenuous so much so that you get an injury.

NOT ENGAGING THE CORE

The core acts like an anchor, a pivot upon which you set yourself up for effective movements. Failure to use the core directs excessive amounts of strain to areas like the back.

First, this limits the number of reps you’ll actually be able to do. Second, it leaves you exposed to potential back injuries.

The core also acts as an indicator of whether or not you’re carrying weight you can handle. If you’re struggling to engage the core, chances are you’re carrying too much weight.

PREMATURE LIFT

A successful push press move involves a chain of movements, each as important as the other.

As such, you should never move to the next phase without ensuring that you’ve nailed the previous step.

This usually happens when you’re in a rush to start lifting.

However, there a number of things you should check on before actually lifting i.e., you should ensure that your elbows are tucked in at a level close to the shoulder to keep tension levels appropriate

Also remember to keep the bar at chest level

CONCLUSION

The barbell push press is an aspirational exercise for many enthusiasts as it provides the promise of hypertrophy.

However, you should understand that this is an exercise that is rooted in patience and taking small steps towards your goal.