How to Overhead Press without Pain

shoulders Jul 17, 2018

3 Essentials to a Pain-Free Overhead Press

Have you ever had issues with overhead lifting? Let’s check out 3 key areas to improve to get you back to a pain-free overhead press.

1) Thoracic Spine Mobility

Being sandwiched between the shoulders and lumbar spine, the thoracic spine gets overlooked as a key player in movement mechanics.

It serves as an attachment site for all of our ribs, and it forms the base that our shoulder blades move on.

The key aspect that we need from this part of our spine is extension. That means being able to reverse some of the natural curve in our upper backs.

This will allow the shoulder blades to upwardly rotate smoothly on the rib cage. This in turn sets us up for good shoulder position.

Ignoring the thoracic spine is a huge mistake when trying to optimize your overhead movements.

Here are some fantastic ways to maximize your thoracic spine mobility.



2) Full Shoulder Range of Motion

Two shoulder motions specifically can be a sticking point for overhead pressing are flexion and external rotation.

Some of the main culprits limiting full mobility here are the Pecs, Lats, and Subscapularis.

With restrictions at these muscles it’s going to be tough to get good position of the arm and shoulder blade when trying to overhead press.

Trying to “push through” these mobility issues is not going to play out well, especially as weight and volume increase.

Have difficulty getting full overhead range of motion? Here are some ideas for you.



3) Dynamic Shoulder Stability

Once both of the above issues are addressed, you need to make sure your shoulder stabilizers are up to the task of supporting weight overhead.

This is where muscles like the Serratus Anterior, Lower Traps, and your Rotator Cuff are essential.

Having strength and control in these muscles will give your shoulders the stability they need to safely support and move weight overhead without pain.

 For scapular strengthening, these are a great place to start.



Have questions? Drop a comment below!

- Dr. Adam McCluskey, PT, DPT, CES


50% Complete

FREE 20-Page Shoulder Mobility Guide

Before you go, make sure to grab a copy of my Blueprint to Bulletproof Shoulders for Free-99! It's a step-by-step guide to assessing your mobility and building strong and healthy shoulders!