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a woman performs an overhead press with a barbell

You Know the Overhead Press . . .

“The overhead press is an amazing shoulder exercise,” says Nicole Volpe Miller, a certified group fitness instructor based in Broomfield, Colo., “and being able to lift heavy objects overhead is something we need in everyday life, whether putting a heavy bag in an overhead compartment of an airplane, lifting a child in the air to play, or putting a box away on the top shelf of a closet.”

. . . Now Meet the Kettlebell Press

The great thing about the kettlebell press is that you can perform it at more of a 45-degree angle, which is safer for the shoulders and elbows than the usual 90-degree angle made with a barbell or dumbbells, says Dallas-based fitness coach Karen Smith. “And if you start single-sided, you’re going to fix any asymmetries you might have.”

To Do It Right: Hold a kettlebell in one hand (or a kettlebell in each hand) at chest height, with your elbow tucked in. Drive the kettlebell up and overhead, keeping the handle at a 45-degree angle, pressing into your palm. Slowly lower the weight and repeat, then switch sides.

. . . and the Push Press

The push press combines the overhead press with a leg drive. By initiating the move with a mini-squat, or dip, instead of straight legs, you can produce more power and lift more weight. “The push press lets you keep going with a few more reps, because your legs can help,” says Miller. “This is a great option to get the upper and lower body working as one.”

To Do It Right: Holding dumbbells (or kettlebells, or a barbell) at the height of your collarbone, lower into a half squat and use your legs to help drive the weights overhead. (Find form tips on overhead pressing at “BREAK IT DOWN: The Overhead Press“.)

. . . and the Landmine Press

The landmine refers to a barbell attachment, available in most health clubs and gyms, that allows you to press weight in a shoulder- and back-friendly arc instead of straight overhead. (If you don’t have a land­mine attachment, wedge one end of a barbell into a corner.)

To Do It Right: Grip the free end of the barbell with both hands, holding it close to your chest. Press the weight away from you until both arms are fully extended. Lower the weight and repeat. (For a beginner-friendly landmine workout, check out “6 Unconventional Barbell Exercises“.)

This was excerpted from “Beyond the Basics” which was published in the October 2021 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Photography by: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: Heather King
Sarah
Sarah Tuff

Sarah Tuff Dunn is a Colorado-based outdoors, health, fitness, and nutrition writer.

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