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How to Master the Overhead Press: Top 5 Cues

The Press, often referred to as the "overhead press" or military press is a tough lift to get used to. These cues should help speed you up!

1. "Throw the Bar Behind You"

As you throw your hips forward, you create a backwards lean in your upper body. At this angle, throwing the bar in a straight vertical line feels like throwing it behind your head. This cue is a helpful heuristic for learning spatial awareness.

2. "Elbows in Front of the Bar"

To help you throw the bar behind you, keep your elbows in front of the bar for as long as possible. This will help eliminate wasted motion and drive a very powerful pressing movement.

3. "Quick Hips"

Your hips don't need to be long on the press, they need to be fast. Shoving your hips forward and pulling them back quickly is like releasing the bow string on a crossbow. It's an expression of the tension created, and allows for a massive springing upward that propels the bar.

4. "Squeeze Your Traps"

When the bar hits the inevitable sticking point in the middle of the press, the focus point that will get you through is squeezing your traps. The traps help form a solid platform for the other muscles involved in the press - the delts and triceps mainly - to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

5. "Vertical Bow String/Rubber Band"

Piggybacking off of "quick hips", the visualization of your body as the bowstring launching the bar is helpful. Everything must remain tight from head to toe - the core, the quads, the scapula, all of it! Like a rubber band snapping at your classmate, you want all that pent up tension exploding into the upward motion of the bar.

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