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Barbell Push Press

What Is A Barbell Push Press

How To Do A Barbell Push Press

The barbell push press is a shoulder press variation with targets the deltoids, triceps, and clavicular head of the chest. It also engages the core, glutes, and quads. The aim of the push press is to lift the barbell from shoulder height to above the head, however unlike many shoulder press exercises where the lower body remains fixed throughout the movement, the push press allows the knees and hips to flex to lift greater weight. 

Most people find they feel more stable in the barbell push press vs over shoulder press variations due to the increased involvement from the lower body. Rather than relying on the core and lower back for balance, the glutes and quads provide strength and stability in both the lifting and lowering of the barbell during this exercise.

Commonly Asked Questions On Barbell Push Press

  • The barbell push press works the deltoids, triceps, and upper chest, with the core also being worked. Unlike other shoulder press variations, the push press also engages the glutes and quads to power the movement.

  • Push presses are an effective, powerful movement that builds strength and stability in the shoulders. The lower body involvement means that a greater load can be lifted compared to other shoulder press variations, which helps to build strength. The push press can be useful for breaking through plateaus in other shoulder presses.

  • The push press has a similar overhead pressing movement to the shoulder press, but uses more momentum from the lower body to lift the bar overhead While the shoulder press requires the legs to remain straight, the push press involves bending and extending the knee to drive the barbell overhead. It has greater quad and glute activation, and heavier loads can be lifted.

Barbell Push Press Tips

To get the most out of this exercise, choose a weight that allows you to lower the barbell until it reaches just above the front delt. Some people limit the range of motion to lift heavier, however using a full range will be more beneficial for strength and hypertrophy.

Some may find they feel lower back or shoulder pain when performing the barbell push press. Keeping the hips in a neutral position throughout the exercise will help prevent back pain from the lower back overextending. If you are struggling to maintain a neutral hip, try dropping the weight and working back up.

To avoid shoulder strain, press the arms up slightly in front of the body rather than flaring out to the side.

How To Do A Barbell Push Press

  1. Set up a squat rack so that the bar rests just above the front delts and unrack the bar. Alternatively, you can lift a bar to rest on the delts. Place your feet hip width apart and hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart, elbows pointing forward.

  2. Bend the knees and hips to dip down slightly, then extend both at the same time and come up to the balls of your feet. Your core, glutes, and quads should all be engaged. At the same time, extend both arms to press the barbell overhead.

  3. Return to standing and lower the barbell to your shoulders, making sure to keep your core engaged throughout.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.