The Lift Everyone Should be Doing
The Press. The Shoulder Press. The Strict Press.
Usually called just a “Press” in a CrossFit gym, but differentiated from a “Push Press” by calling it “Strict.” The strict press or “Press” involves beginning with the barbell in an upright position on your shoulders (with elbows slightly in front of the bar) and pushing it overhead. The entire body is used on the press, from the feet all the way up to our hands, but is commonly under appreciated.
The Press is one of our most instinctual fundamental movements. If a caveman wanted to get a rock overhead and set it up on a ledge, he would bring it up to his shoulders, hold his breath and put the rock overhead. If the rock was a bit heavier, he might use his legs to do the same movement, generating more power from his lower body.
When the majority of people hear the word “Press,” they probably think of the bench press, which is performed at a horizontal position rather than a vertical one. Although there are many important and beneficial aspects to performing a bench press, the strict press is a better indicator of strength. This is because the lift requires almost everything, including strong hips, glutes, and abdominal strength.
Because of the nature of the press, it can be used to be a gauge of how strong a person is. Pressing your bodyweight (something that a very small percentage of people can brag about) is a helpful long term goal any athlete can strive for. And for most people, this is something that can only be achieved through training.
During a strength cycle with this overhead movement, focus on the integrity of the lift during all reps, especially high ones. Bracing your mid-line and maintaining a solid body position (rather than arching your back and compensating on one side or another) will not only train your upper body, but your abdominal region and hip positio. If you are not able to complete the press without mobility issues, take the time to correct those issues with the help of a coach.