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Overhead Press Question

I have had an issue re-occur with my left shoulder (blew it apart a few years ago so it’s been slightly hinky ever since).

I think that it might be because of my overhead presses that I like to do. I normally do them unilateral & slightly canted to the side, the idea being to avoid impingement.

I suspect that I might be mis-using my scapula in the course of the lift and pretty much every description of doing the lift I see just says something about “pressing the weight overhead” i.e. no details. If someone knows of a good resource for this, I would really appreciate it.

Those of you that do this, what exactly do you do with your scapulas? Do you retract them and lock them back? Do you try to get them to move a good deal?

I also follow the rule that “every pull followed by a push” so I don’t think I’ve got any actual strength imbalances. Eric Cressey’s article has helped a lot there. However, is there something you find important for your own program? I’m fishing for people’s experience here.

Thanks in advance!


– j

You could try this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sebbhlKhs2E

and this one

I guess no one likes you dude:(

This is what I have noticed from personal expirience from the last year until today. I’ve never had any shoulder injuries (knock on wood), I don’t train people for a living, and I am no expert.

Still I hope you find this useful. (note: all the pressing I do is standing)

I see people tend to use do overhead pressing a little mest up.
-You can see that the bar is infront of their head, or at best right above it. This means that the weight is being supported by the front area of the shoulder.
-NOW, if you see the above video the bar is held BEHIND the guys ear, even behind his head. You can also see this when Olifters do a Jerk, their arms are behind their ears.
-And I’ve noticed when I do Jerks, Presses, and Overhead Squats (1) the arms are behind the ears, (2) the traps kicking in as the scapulas retract and lock (3) I feel a little “sweet spot” where you are solid and the weight feels very light.

HOWEVER, that is an upper back flexibility issue. I used to not being able to get on this “sweet spot” as my upper back flexibility was very shitty. And, everytime after I did front squat, or Clean & Jerks my right shoulder would be in pain the next day. In my view bad upper back flexibilty is the issue here for most people. Thanks to all the benching people do.

To test for this do a press (or overhead squat) with a snatch grip, and then try to do it with a clean grip. You will see and feel the difference.

I would suggest using a broom stick and do “shoulder dislocates” every day. Wall slides tend to be a pretty good warm-up, I’ve felt very good after doing those. Also workouts like pushups, pull ups/chin ups, and hell even light overhead squats for reps will help. At least they did to me.

Currently I am doing 2-3 reps of Overhead Squats with a Clean grip to improve my upper back/shoulder flexibility. (As will be Squat Jerking for the next competition instead of Split Jerking) The 1st time I did those a week ago, I felt my right shoulder do a little “clucking” sound as the it drifted into position behind my right ear. Yes it sound dangerous thats why I take it easy with those.

my 2 cents.

[quote]Scrotus wrote:

and this one


I think you are “thinking” too much. Like Dan John says, “Pick up the weight, and put it overhead.”

[quote]Scrotus wrote:
You could try this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sebbhlKhs2E

and this one


you bastard.


Definitely warm up your shoulders thoroughly before pressing, try some behind the neck broomstick/light bar presses, dislocates, backscratch stretches etc. Also mix up the bar you use - try using a parallel grip bar for a while. If the pain goes away after using the parallel for a while it might be an impingement issue…

Here is the “sweet spot” I was talking about:

from here: