Do I have abs yet? (Looking down at belly) Hmmm... Not yet? Then don't skip the accessory work.
0:30 UpDog 0:30 R/0:30 L Arm to the side pec/front delt stretch 0:30 Down Dog
Half Tabata (4 Intervals) 0:20 Hollow Hold (scale hands at sides) 0:10 Rest
0:30 Updog 0:30 R/0:30 L Lying rear delt stretch 0:30 Down Dog
7 Ways to Improve Your Shoulder Press Weight
1. Get Your Abs Involved
You cannot be successful at an overhead lift without having a tight core.
The strict press is considered to be an “accessory lift” meaning it’s really a building block for other lifts — think clean and jerks and push presses. However, you will always struggle to hold even minute amounts of weight overhead if you do not have a locked in, tight core. You can do this by focusing on closing your rib cage in and squeezing your glutes before attempting to press overhead.
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Do Accessory Work
Sometimes, it’s going to take a little work outside of your regular rotation for you to see gains in your overhead press. The overhead press engages your core, your shoulders and your back primarily, so incorporate accessory work that targets those areas.
One great thing to practice is strict handstand pushups, strict ring dips, or hand stand holds. You can also incorporate seated dumbbell presses, barbell rows and push ups each week to build strength.
3. Keep a Narrow (just outside shoulders) Grip
People tend to use a wide grip when doing strict press. This is a common error — a wider grip means the bar has less space to travel before your arms are locked out and the lift is completed. Should make things simpler, right?
However, a narrower grip translates into a stronger, more stable grip with this lift. Keep your hands close together in a normal power clean grip and watch the magic happen.
4. Do Lots of Reps
Remember, the strict press is an accessory lift, so an easy way to build is to do more reps at a lower weight as opposed to trying to max out every time you get the opportunity. There are different programming options online or you can talk to the coach at your box about programming a daily strict press routine to add some weight to your lift total.
5. Make Sure Your Elbows Aren’t Too Far Up or Too Far Down
Many people make the mistake of lifting their elbows into the front squat rack position when attempting a strict press. Although it definitely looks like you know what you’re doing, this actually incorrect form. Alternatively, many other lower their elbows behind the bar. This puts the bar over the forearms rather than over the top of the shoulder, supported by the torso.
Instead, keep your elbows so they are just in front of the bar and tuck them in at your chest to maximize your lat and back engagement and add more strength to the lift. You’ll see an improvement on your shoulder press ability immediately by placing your elbows in this position and keeping your back, shoulder and core muscles engaged.
6. Get Your Face Out of the Way
One sneaky way you may be sabotaging your own shoulder press is by wasting time and energy pushing the barbell out around your face — anyone who’s ever smashed themselves in the nose or chin knows what I’m talking about.
Instead of losing strength and energy by pushing the barbell up and around your face, be sure to squish your face in and push the barbell upward on a direct, straight path. Don’t be shy with the bar — just make sure you’re moving quickly to get safely out of the way!
7. Do Some Mobility Work
One big culprit behind struggling with the strict press is lack of shoulder mobility. If this is the case, you can try some shoulder-specific mobility exercises like the bully extension bias or the super front rack or by following a daily mobility program such as ROMWOD.
Once you gain more flexibility in your shoulders, you’ll see that it’s easier to perform the strict press with more weight. You heard me right — it might not be a strength issue, but a flexibility issue.