Overhead Press Form Check

by Robert Maxwell

Recently I've been getting lots of requests for form checks on the basic barbell lifts, and I want to show you what that looks like. Below is a link to a video from John, a member of my Facebook group for men 50 and up interested in strength training. In the video he performs the overhead press, and wanted some feedback on his technique. Click here to watch the video of his lift, then keep reading below for John's explanation of his lift and my suggestions to him.



JOHN: We had a winter storm today in NYC (mild but cold, wet and messy), so everything got jumbled. Nonetheless, I made it to the gym and did a short shoulder workout. Military Press was the only exercise. 



45 lbs x12, 95 lbs x 6, 145 lbs x 3,185 lbs x 0

I progressed quickly to attempt a new 1 rep max which was unsuccessful, but closer to making it than prior attempts. After that I dropped the weight and did 5 working sets:

135x5 ,135x5,135x5,135x5, 135x8


I don’t like videoing myself, but think I should open myself up

to some review & critique. So here is my set of 3 @ 145 lbs.


Click here to watch the video of his lift



ROBERT: Looking pretty good John! A few suggestions.


1) You start your first rep too soon, almost before your feet are planted. Take a second or two longer to set your stance and tighten your core, squeeze your glutes, push your hips forward, and flex your quads hard.


2) Between reps, you seem to bring the weight down while you're still inhaling. Take your breath and focus on getting super tight through your whole body during lockout before you bring the bar down for your next rep. If you breathe while the weight's moving, you'll lose power.


3) Your wrists are bent pretty far back, and the weight is sitting back in your hands. Adjust your grip so the bar is in balance over your forearm, rather than behind it (as viewed from the side). This will help you transfer power better, and be way easier on your wrists.


4) As you bring the bar down following your second rep, you move it out slightly to dodge your face. Don't do that. Lean back and move your head back further instead. Always move your body around the bar, not the bar around your body.



If you'd like me to check your form on one or more lifts, send me an email and let me know. I'm considering launching a form check service, and the first few submissions I'll do for free.


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