JL Holdsworth has returned to the overhead press as one of the best exercises for overall strength building. In this Friday technique video, owner of The Spot Athletics JL Holdsworth, and strength and conditioning coach Zach Gallman, demonstrate the overhead press.

There are several steps that should be remembered when performing the overhead press. JL suggests these rules to follow:

  1. Create a big shelf with your chest.
  2. Tighten your lats before unracking the bar.
  3. Keep your elbows directly under or slightly in front of the bar.
  4. As the bar passes your face, bring your head through to get the bar in the center of your body.
  5. Lower the bar in the same motion you raised it: straight up with a slight arc that is similar to a bench press.

Body position is crucial, according to JL. If you lean backward and press the bar over your chest, you are doing a bent press — not an overhead press. While this may be a useful exercise, it is not an overhead press.

Failure to keep your elbows in proper position will increase risk of injury. If you press from an externally rotated position there is a high likely of a rotator tear. If the bar is placed too far behind the elbows there will be greater stress on the wrists.