Upper body press

The upper body pressing exercises include horizontal and vertical pressing.

The horizontal pressing exercises strengthen the pectorals, triceps and anterior deltoid muscle. The horizontal pressing exercises can be further divided in three categories: Bench press and variations, Push-up and variations, and Standing chest press exercises.

The Bench press is the upper body exercise in which the highest amount of weight can be lifted. The Bench press and variations are excellent exercises to create an overload on the upper body muscles to improve strength. Closed kinetic chain exercises (exercises where the hand is the base of support) enhance co-contraction of the muscles that stabilise the shoulder. This advocates the use of push-ups in addition the Bench press and its variations.

Standing chest press exercises are functional, mimicking movement in sport and everyday life. These exercises also improve core-strength, stability and balance.

The vertical pressing exercises develop shoulder strength. Additionally the core and legs are engaged to stabilise the body when lifting overhead.

Balance between pushing & pulling movements

Do not overemphasize pressing exercises at the cost of pulling exercises. Balance the amount of work done for opposing movement patterns. Overhead pressing is the direct opposite of the pull up, and horizontal pressing is the opposing movement pattern of rowing (horizontal pulling).

  • Bench press exercises

    Bench press exercises target the chest, shoulders and triceps. The barbell versions allow you to lift a heavy weight, placing more tension on the upper body muscles. The dumbbell versions require more coordination and stabilization, engaging more stabilizer muscles.

  • Push-up progression

    The push-up is a great exercise to develop upper-body pressing strength. The push-up has more variations than any other exercise. Through various progressions the intensity and difficulty of the exercise can be increased.

  • Plyometric push-ups

    Plyometric push-ups are explosive push-ups to enhance upper body power. At the end of the range of motion the body is projected. This allows acceleration throughout the entire movement. More motor units are recruited and more power is produced compared to a regular push-up.

  • Standing pressing

    Standing pressing exercises enhance upper body pressing strength, balance and core stability. Staggered stance exercises allow more weight to be lifted, placing more tension on the core and upper body muscles. One-leg stance exercises emphasize single-leg stability and balance.

  • Overhead pressing

    Overhead pressing exercises target the muscles of the shoulders, arms and core. The barbell versions allow you to lift a heavy weight, placing more tension on the upper body muscles. The dumbbell versions require more coordination and stabilization, engaging more stabilizer muscles.

  • Chest fly

    The chest fly exercises strengthen the pectoral and anterior shoulder muscles. These exercises also place a high demand on the core to maintian proper form. Chest flies are performed over a wide range of motion and get a good stretch out of the pectoral muscles.