Training the human being is a lot simpler than people would like to think. We love to over complicate everything we do, leading to more stress and in training confusion and a lack of real results. Training should be based on movement with minimal exercises and no “circus” movements,which in reality are dangerous and not effective.

Over the next few weeks my series will be about training human movements that everyone can and does do. Those movements are as follows and I write about them ad-nausea: hinge, squat, upper push and pulls.  Today’s post will be about upper pushes, the PRESS! and a pushup!

Let us start with learning the overhead press,- it doesn’t matter what implement you are using to train with,(barbells,kettlebells, dumbells, bodyweight) there are certain rules that apply to this movement that need to be applied to be both safe and effective. Number one your shoulders must be “packed” while you perform the movement. Here is an article written by Master R.K.C. Brett Jones to explain further what it means to have a packed shoulder while training.  In addition to this information here is a drill you can do to practice this necessary practice: stand underneath a door way press into the door ledge lock your elbows and brace your abs as if you were going to get punched. You should feel you lats load and your elbows and shoulders should be pain-free. Welcome to the world of packed shoulders where your rotator cuff is safe and your strength goes up.  It is a happy, happy place! Also may I add in addition and almost more important is adequate shoulder mobility. If you are not the possessor of such a range of motion get it fixed. Here is a guideline for you before you press you should be able to get your bicep by your ear.

Now if you have passed the mobility requirement and know how to pack your shoulder, let’s get pressin’! Start with kettlebell or dumbell in your hand if you have a kettlebell make sure your wrist is straight and that the bell is sitting on your forearm. Now use both hands to put the bell up by your ears, make sure your shoulder is packed now pull the bell with your lat down into the rack with your hand underneath of your chin. That will be your starting point.Check list, was your shoulder stable on the top? Also did you feel and use your lat to bring the bell down?  If not, do it again and look for that feeling.

Now comes the actual press, your shoulder should be in its socket from the start now instead of pressing the bell up, I want you visualize  pushing your self away from the bell. The difference will been seen in your strength and stability and having your shoulder packed throughout the pressing groove.  Checklist- did you feel your lat again as you pressed? Did you have elbow or shoulder pain? If you answered no to first question and yes to the second go back to the door drill. Then keep that sensation as you press.

We shall presently review the pushup, the pushup and or the chest press are pretty much done the same with the exception of how much the abdominals and legs are worked in the pushup and you are obviously facing down in the pushup.

The good thing about training movement and not muscle is that first it is much more effective in burning calories and get more done in less time. However it is also easier to apply principles to our movements. Saying that the pushup or chest press are basically the same as the overhead press, except you are working on a different plane of movement. So assume the position get your hands underneath your shoulders and now pull your self into the floor touch your chest to the floor and press from your armpit keeping your abs and glutes tight. If you cannot achieve a full range of motion give your self a little ledge to do your pushups on until you can.

There we go the upper body push very simple and yet very effective. Follow the cues and technique for safety, longevity and a killer workout. If you have any questions contact me on here or facebook and I will help you out. Happy trails and training friends!


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