A lot of individuals today are incorporating the overhead press exercise in their workout plans. This is not a bad thing, given that this exercise has numerous benefits. Unfortunately, despite highly integrating it into their exercise programs, many are still unfamiliar with the overhead press benefits. For most, the idea is to show off or brag about lifting huge weights while performing this exercise in the gym. All these are the wrong reasons as to why one should perform the overhead press. Check out overhead press benefits and substantial reasons to add them to your regimen.
The idea of lifting pressing huge weights can increase your pride and confidence, making you integrate this exercise into your routine. However, this is not a valid reason for why you need to perform an overhead press. This article will explore the overhead press benefits, which detail solid reasons for adding this exercise to your workout plan. Check them out!
How To Overhead Press?
Before we look at the benefits of this exercise, let us look at the correct form on how to overhead press. After all, the only way you will reap these benefits is if you perform this exercise correctly. Below are the steps to guide you (1):
- Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
- Grab a dumbbell in each hand and hold them in a goal post position in alignment with your ears. Make sure your upper arms are parallel to the ground and that your forearms are perpendicular to the ground.
- Slowly raise the dumbbells overhead in a slow controlled movement.
- Extend your arms at the top of the movement without locking your elbows or arching your back. Hold the movement at the top for a second or two before releasing.
- Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
- Repeat ten times.
These steps will allow you to perform the regular or standard overhead press. Remember that there are several overhead press variations. Only indulge in such versions after nailing this basic form and getting the green light from your instructor (1).
Read More: What Does Overhead Press Work?
Benefits Of Overhead Press
There are numerous benefits of performing this exercise. Bragging about lifting and pressing huge weights is sadly not a significant benefit of performing this exercise. Below are more profound benefits and reasons why you need to incorporate this workout into your regime:
Why do I need to tone my shoulders? This is one of the many questions people ask when they find themselves performing shoulder toning exercises like the overhead press. There are a couple of reasons why you need to tone this area.
First and foremost, sexy and well-toned shoulders are the perfect accessory to any sleeveless garment. They help increase your confidence whenever you are rocking that swimsuit, vest, or sleeveless dress.
Secondly, you need toned shoulders to help enhance your upper body aesthetics (7). If you are not pleased with your upper body shape, you need to focus on upper body exercises like the overhead press.
According to WebMD, the overhead press is very effective at toning your shoulders as well as your upper body (5). It targets your upper body muscles and burns excess fat in areas like your arms and shoulders. Experts advise you to perform this exercise on shoulder day and alongside other shoulder-toning activities for fast results (5).
Reduced Flabby Arms
We all want to rock our sexy bikinis, tank tops, and T-shirts during summer. Unfortunately, most of us cannot do this because we are insecure about our flabby arms. Some people may know them as bat wings.
These refer to the fat deposits and sagging skin below our arms. You will be pleased to know that you can get rid of flabby arms by doing the overhead press exercise. It directly engages your tricep muscles, the area where most people report bat wings (9).
According to Medical News Today, doing an overhead press can tone this area and benefit from increased muscle mass (9). However, one must maintain the correct form and perform other effective tricep workouts to get rid of the flabby arms entirely and quickly (9).
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Improved Shoulder Strength
Another highly overlooked benefit of performing the overhead press is improved shoulder strength. When our shoulders are strong, we can efficiently perform lifting tasks without any strain (6). Likewise, we are less likely to injure ourselves while lifting or performing other daily activities that extensively utilize our shoulder muscles.
That said, this does not give you the green light of strengthening a weak shoulder by performing the overhead press. Remember that shoulder weakness may be caused by several factors, including sprains, strains, dislocations, arthritis, torn rotator cuffs, separations, or fractures (4).
The best way to determine how to strengthen a weak shoulder is by seeking medical attention. You might end training a weak shoulder caused by fractures and end up doing more harm than good.
Improved Lean Muscle Mass
Lean muscle mass tends to naturally decrease as we age (8). The effect of reduced lean muscle mass is increased fat because fat is used to replace the lost muscle. However, you can always correct this by working out to improve lean muscle mass.
One of the exercises you can perform to attain this goal is the overhead press or its variations. Your instructor will recommend an overhead press variation depending on your fitness level. It is more likely that they will opt for the regular overhead press exercise if you are new to the fitness industry.
As you start lifting these weights, your muscle mass begins to increase. It will increase at an even faster pace if you focus on good nutrition because nutrition and exercise go hand in hand (3). Fitness gurus also suggest you stay consistent and constantly challenge yourself more to help increase the rate at which you are building muscle (3).
Note that challenging yourself does not mean increasing the reps or weights every other day. You need to strategically plan when and how you will increase the two to help make the overhead press exercise more challenging.
Talk to your instructor if you need to increase the intensity of your overhead press exercise. They might suggest increasing the reps, sets, or weights used.
Read More: Military Press Vs. Overhead Press: Techniques, Common Mistakes, And Potential Benefits
Improved Core Strength
When performing any overhead press variation, you will notice that you are always asked to engage your core. Despite this crucial pointer, most people skip doing this because they have difficulties determining or finding the real core.
Your core consists of various muscles, including the rectus abdominis, hip flexors, diaphragm, transverse abdominis, back extensors, pelvic floor, and internal and external obliques. When you engage these muscles during the lift, you get to improve your core strength.
Improving core strength is vital as it helps ease your performance of daily activities. These include swinging a golf club, bending down to tie laces, or grabbing a glass from the top shelf (2).
Improved core strength also helps in improving your balance and stability. The rationale behind this is that the core muscles have been trained to harmoniously work together when engaged (2).
As a result, they have developed unique coordination that has led to better balance and stability whenever you perform any physical activity. Likewise, improved core strength is essential as it helps tone your abs (2).
Performing the overhead press exercise improves your core strength that makes it easier to acquire a six-pack. However, experts advise you first to perform aerobic activities like running, swimming, or jogging to help burn abdominal fat first (2).
Reduced Back Fat
The other benefit of doing the standing overhead press or the ball squat with the overhead press is reduced back fat. Back fat is not appealing and can hinder you from rocking some of your outfits, like bare-back dresses and tops.
According to Medical News Today, resistance training exercises like the overhead press can help in decreasing body fat in areas like your back (11). However, it is essential to note that you cannot spot reduce fat in one region.
It means that you cannot shed fat primarily on your back. Instead, the workout targets various areas helping shed fat evenly throughout your body when you start exercising. Knowing this, do not be disappointed when you start these exercises but cannot see any difference in your back. It may take a while because the exercise is reducing fat throughout your body.
However, you can fasten the results by incorporating other techniques. These include focusing on a calorie deficit, reducing salt intake, eating more nutrient-dense foods, and avoiding processed foods and added sugars (11).
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Improved Bone Health And Density
Besides lean muscle mass loss, you also lose bone density as you age (10). Remember that bone density is crucial as it prevents your bones from easily breaking. This means that you need to exercise to help improve your bone density and health constantly.
Experts acknowledge that weight-bearing exercises like the overhead press are fundamental in improving your bone health (10). However, you must consult with a professional to determine the most appropriate activities to help attain this goal. Never add or make any changes to your exercise program without seeking professional help or advice first.
The Bottom Line
It is essential to understand why we add various exercises to our workout plans. Typically, the overhead press and its variations are included because of their numerous health benefits. The overhead press benefits range from toned shoulders, reduced back fat to improved bone health, core strength, shoulder strength, and lean muscle mass. Talk to your fitness coach and doctor before adding this exercise to your routine for any of the provided health benefits. And lastly, remember to perform the exercise correctly for reduced injury risk and increased gains.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A 5-minute routine to tone your arms by summer (2020, nbcnews.com)
- Core exercises: Why you should strengthen your core muscles (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- How to build muscle with exercise (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Shoulder Injuries and Disorders (2021, medlineplus.gov)
- The Basics: Build Muscle for Better Health (2006, webmd.com)
- The effects of shoulder stabilization exercises and pectoralis minor stretching on balance and maximal shoulder muscle strength of healthy young adults with round shoulder posture (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Weight Lifting (Resistance Exercise) (2019, medicinenet.com)
- Weight training: Improve your muscular fitness (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- What are the best exercises for bat wings? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What are the mental and physical health benefits of exercise? (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to do to help reduce the appearance of back fat (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)