November 07, 2021 8 min read
Whether at your local fitness center or in your home gym, all you need is a barbell to build your upper body strength with full-body power moves. You’ll see many variations of the overhead press, but few are as efficient at helping you get ripped as the barbell push press.
The explosive barbell push press will bulk up your shoulders and build muscle with just a few reps in your routine as this popular Olympic lifting move hits multiple major muscle groups as you lift your barbell overhead.
Read on to learn more about the barbell push press and get in on the action.
The barbell push press is a variation of the barbell overhead press in which you use your lower body to push a barbell over your head explosively.
This full-body move gets your lower body, upper body, and core working, making it popular amongst bodybuilders and weightlifters everywhere.
So, how do we complete the barbell push press? Let’s break it down, step by step.
Make sure that you maintain good form throughout your barbell push press to avoid injury and get the most out of every rep. Before you dive into this one, we recommend that you complete the movement without any weight to get your body used to how it should feel.
Good form in a barbell push press looks like this:
Avoid these common mistakes that many weightlifters make when completing their barbell push presses:
We love the barbell push press just as it is, but there are several variations and modifications that you can try out as an alternative to what we described here.
If you’re looking for a variation of the barbell push press to try out during your next workout, check out some of our favorites here.
This equipment swap makes the exercise more difficult because you will need to stabilize the weight in both hands instead of distributing it across your upper body. Grip your dumbbells above your shoulder with your palms facing away from you and complete your push press.
Check out this article about the dumbbell push press to learn more about this great exercise.
The barbell push press is a variation of the also popular overhead press, another Olympic weightlifting move. If you love this workout and are looking for other similar exercises, these overhead press alternatives for upper body mass are a great place to start.
The barbell push press is considered an advanced weightlifting move. There’s no shame in taking a modification if you need one, especially if recovering from an injury. Try these simple options until you are ready to complete the traditional barbell push press described above.
We love the barbell push press because it is a compound move that hits multiple muscle groups with every rep. Adding this full-body move to your exercise plan will help you build size and strength in no time.
As you push your bar over your head, you’ll feel some serious upper-body work. As a type of shoulder press, the barbell push press primarily targets your shoulders (deltoids), triceps, and upper back, which carry the weight as you lift your barbell over your head.
For more shoulder-centric work, take a look at this article on compound shoulder exercises for strength.
Using your lower body to help you lift that bar will engage your quadriceps and glutes. Your quads and glutes help you dip into the shallow squat and then give you the leg drive to push your torso (and weights) upwards. You will also get some work in your hips as you extend upward.
Researchers agree on the benefits of a strong core. Your core is working overtime to keep your torso straight and your barbell moving vertically instead of pushing out in front of your body.
One study found that a strong core enhances your motor performance skills and can even prevent musculoskeletal disorders and improve your quality of life.
There is a reason that the barbell push press is so popular amongst weightlifters and bodybuilders. Whether you are an experienced pro or a beginning in the gym, you can get in on these great benefits of the barbell push press.
You’re almost ready to hit the gym, but first, let’s answer the questions that weightlifters most often ask about this popular exercise.
The barbell push press is a strength exercise to help you bulk up but not necessarily improve your endurance. Shoot for 5 reps, if you feel like you can complete more than that, that is a sign that you can lift heavier - Add more weight to your bar and keep your rep count low.
The barbell push press is a variation of the overhead press. There are two critical differences between them.
We recommend incorporating the barbell push press into your strength training routine, either on days that you dedicate to strength exercises or before you complete your cardio for the day. Be sure to complete strength training at least twice a week.
A study in Sports Medicine found that strength training twice a week is optimal for muscle gain.
The barbell push press is a total body workout that can fit well in many areas of your routine, but most weightlifters that we know regularly complete barbell push presses on upper body days because of their shoulder focus.
Now that you are a barbell push press pro, it’s time to get working on those shoulders. This simple but powerful move belongs in every weightlifting or bodybuilding routine, so what are you waiting for? Add this exercise to your gym routine now for bigger shoulders and more muscular legs.