shoulder press bench

Overhead Press: Do You Need A Bench?

The overhead press is a popular strength-building exercise among athletes since it promotes upper body power. The overhead press, according to many in the strength movement, should be a mainstay in every lifter’s training program. However, whether performing an overhead press improves bench pressing remains open for debate. Now, what is a shoulder press bench?

Certain sorts of lifters will have some carryover to the bench press after learning how to perform the overhead press. In order to get stronger, lifters who are not able to bench press in the middle of motion or contact the bar below their chest will require to improve anterior deltoid strength. As the overhead press activates the deltoid which is at anterior is more effective than other movements, these lifters will obtain a significant advantage in training the overhead press.

Major Benefits Of Overhead Press

Bigger Shoulders

The anterior and medial deltoids — as well as the posterior deltoids, which are the stabilizers when the weight is overhead — are the prime movers in the overhead press. You can often strengthen one or two of them at a time, but not all three together.

Overhead pressing is required for bigger, stronger “boulder” shoulders. Shoulder raise variations will only take you so far in terms of shoulder size and strength.

Improved Lockout Strength And Power

Developing upper-body power improves your capacity to generate upper-body power. A stronger muscle has a larger neural capacity (ability to produce greater force) — which means it has a higher potential to turn into a larger muscle as well. However, in order to convey strength, you must first develop it. Strength lays the groundwork for power.

With the overhead press relying on the triceps for movement, improving tricep power and size can help you improve lockout strength in lifts that require an overhead posture. Olympic lifts, overheads, and overhead squats are just a few examples.

Improved Core Strength

When pressing overhead, your core must be strong in order to avoid a magnificent arch in the protruding rib cage or lower back. The core should be trained throughout the full movement whenever you do any overhead press. When training the overhead press, you should use progressive overload in order to not only strengthen your shoulders but also your core. 

Better Bench Press Technique

The big side press can also assist your bench press. The same muscles (triceps, deltoids, and chest) are used from various angles in both activities. 

Furthermore, overhead pressing requires a lot of upper back strength. Strengthening your upper back can improve the bench press technique by assisting with the eccentric portion.

Real Life Carryover

The benefits of the overhead press for core stability and development can help you, regardless of whether you’re an athlete wanting to boost performance or a lifter seeking to build strength. The erectors, obliques, rectus abdominis, and deep core muscles will all be strengthened during hyperextension of the lower back.

The Difference Between A Bench Press And An Overhead Press Exercises

It’s critical to comprehend the differences between each pressing technique in order to pick the exercise that best accomplishes your training objectives. 

Body Position

The bench press is done while reclining on a bench, whereas the overhead press is done while standing upright.

Mobility Requirement

The overhead press necessitates greater shoulder mobility in comparison to the bench press. 


The overhead press is very less sport-specific than the bench press, but it may be more so for other sports (such as Crossfit, Weightlifting, and Strongman).

Loading Of The Weight Relative To The Spine

The barbell’s weight is laid directly on top of the spine in the overhead press, but it is perpendicular to the spine in the bench press.

Muscles Used

The overhead press activates more deltoid muscle than the bench press, necessitating a greater level of shoulder activation.

Weight Used

The majority of individuals can bench more than they can overhead press.

How To Perform An Overhead Press

man carrying yellow barbell

1. Put the bar on a squat rack and set it up like a typical squat, with the bar at around arm-pit height. Power cleaning the weight to your front rack from the floor is possible for some athletes.

2. Place your hands on the bar with a complete grip that’s somewhat wider than shoulder width. 

3. Put your elbows beneath the bar and push them in front of you, keeping your legs bent.

4. Extend your hips and knees to push the bar outward of the rack, then walk back 2-3 steps into a shoulder-width stance with your toes slightly turned out. 

5. Place the bar on your collarbone and maintain it there. With a neutral spine, straighten your legs and raise them to stand tall.

6. While retaining your breath and bracing, push the bar straight up overhead in one fluid motion. To do so, tuck your chin in or lean your head back slightly. 

7. Keeping your elbows behind the bar, raise the bar to just below your chin. Lock them thereby pushing the bar all the way up. 

8. Start the movement in a downward direction with your elbows out to the side slightly, bringing the bar back into its start position from the overhead posture. 

9. Take a deep breath, brace again, and let the bar come to a complete stop before starting the next rep. 

The Most Common Overhead Pressing Mistakes

  • Not keeping glutes and quads contracted: Contracting the glutes protects and stabilizes the spine. Contracting the quads will not allow a lifter from relying on momentum to power their pushups instead of developing strong muscle.
  • Not using the full range of motion: At the top or bottom of each rep, you may reduce the number of overhead press reps by not returning to the start position and also by not completely locking out the barbell at the top. 
  • Lumbar compensations for poor overhead mobility: In order to press the bar straight overhead, lifters with limited overhead mobility can compensate by assuming an exaggerated lumbar curve and reduced core stability. Until overhead mobility improves, using an overhead press variant like a seated or dumbbell press is suggested to avoid straining the back.

To know more about hip abduction machines click here.