The Basics: Overhead Press 101
The overhead press is a good movement that will allow athletes to be able to put on size on their shoulders. This movement is especially important in sprinting athletes because it allows them to be able to transfer force across their body (Nick Tumminello). Just as legs are important for being able to produce high forces and speed, the rotational movement of the shoulder will help to be able to transfer and balance out the forces especially when the athlete is tired.
To properly execute the movement, start by standing with shoulder’s length apart. Set the bar in your hands with the palms facing up and thumbs inward.
Elbows and chest should be lifted and ready to go. Once you are ready to push the bar above your head, make sure the core is engaged and push up through the bar almost as though you are stretching it.
If an athlete is looking to work their way up to a proper overhead press, it may be beneficial for them to start with using a dumbbell and having them engage more of their core and getting used to that movement before moving to the bar (TJ Kuster).
Another movement that can be done without weight is an inclined push up. This will help with rear shoulder strength in which the athlete can eventually move to the bar movement.
When it comes to developing speed and jumping ability, the shoulders are important for being able to maintain their center of gravity and momentum through a jump or through a sprint.
For example, an athlete will be able to jump further in a standing broad jump with their arms swinging than without. The upper body and more specifically the shoulders are sometimes forgotten, however, they do play a very important role in being able to move more fluidly and put the body in a better position to exert more force.
Go try this shoulder training session and increase your speed now!
Written by Antonio Riggins
Edited by Dominique Manning
“The Right Overhead Press for You”- TJ Kuster
“The Athletes Overhead Press”- Nick Tumminello