Barbell Push Press and Overhead Press

  1. Set barbell on rack so that collar bones are below bar level – never go high where you have to stretch on toes to un-rack a bar
  2. Place hands on bar so that when looking in mirror you see your index finger is outside outer edge of shoulder when looking at your reflection. If you don’t have a mirror, symmetrically place hands on bar, step forward and drag hands outward so index is outside shoulders
  3. Step up (if you haven’t already) to bar, feet under hips and bend knees to drop below bar pressing shoulders into bar
  4. Stand up lifting the bar with you
  5. Step away from rack
    1. Bend knees slightly to jump bar overhead
    2. Let hips rock back as chest comes forward, poke head through window of arms
    3. Lean chest backwards so head gets out of way of bar path, let hips counterbalance forward
  7. OVERHEAD PRESS (create a see-saw rhythm with shoulders and hips)
    1. Keep knees straight and press bar overhead, chest goes forward, head pokes through window of arms, hips swing backward
    2. See-saw hips forward and chest and shoulders backward to let bar come down to touch chest


If you hold your breath while the bar is in motion you’ll create a stable spine. If you inhale and exhale on the ascent or descent of lift the breathing muscles, which stabilize the spine, will be moving and will destabilize the spine. You really don’t want that went lifting heavy things.

Believe it or not, the rest in this exercise is when arms are locked overhead. Take a big inhale, hold breath, bring bar down and up and exhale. Inhale/hold before your next rep!


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Barbell Bench Press

  1. Begin sitting at edge of bench (you probably won’t hit your head if you sit at the edge!)
  2. Lay back onto bench
  3. Slide backward until eyes are under bar
  4. Separate legs so you have a wide, sturdy base
  5. Place hands a straight thumb’s distance from the edge of the knurl, grip the bar and squeeze it
  6. Arch back as much as possible
  7. Pinch shoulder blades together
  8. Take bar off rack and let the bar settle directly above shoulders, ring part of your fingers facing the ceiling
  9. Inhale – bring bar to bottom of sternum
  10. Press bar back up to locked elbow position
  11. Exhale
  12. Inhale again before the next rep


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  1. Level 1: 3/4 body weight
    1. Knees on floor, hands (generally) one hand distance in front of shoulders
    2. Hinge at hips to form a diagonal line from knees, through hips, through shoulders, to head
    3. Bend elbows, allowing them to find a comfortable angle*, don’t force them out to the side
    4. Return to straight elbow
  2. Level 2: full body weight
    1. Toes and hands on floor
    2. Stiffen body
    3. Bend elbows, allowing them to find a comfortable angle*, don’t force them out to the side

*Tuck elbows into hips for more direct tricep work


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