When overhead pressing, take into consideration your daily living conditions and how they may affect your training. Since the majority of Americans have jobs sitting down, over time their shoulders become rounded, resulting in their pectoral muscles becoming shortened and their spine being forced into constant kyphosis. Also keep in mind that every lifter loves to bench press, which shortens the chest muscles even more.
Most people don’t train their back or rear deltoids as much as they should, so over time this causes problems. When you develop these issues, pressing a barbell overhead can become a glitchy painful nightmare. In order for you to push that weight skyward, you must do some funky things with your lower back to compensate for your compromised mobility. Many people need to drastically hyperextend the lumbar spine. If you attempt to keep your back flat and straight, you’ll quickly realize that your flexibility issues won’t allow that barbell to be pressed over-head in a correct path.
A great assessment tool for realizing imbalances is the back-to-wall shoulder flexion. This exercise will help you identify what kind of preparation you may need to do prior to lifting a weight overhead. Place your feet about six inches away from a wall and put your butt, back, and head against the wall. Leading with your thumbs, bring your arms straight out in front of your body and then over your head, touching your thumbs to the wall over your head. If your back, butt, or head lose contact with the wall or you must do anything compensatory to allow this movement to happen, you will need to spend some time doing prep work before continuing to put weight over your head. Strict overhead pressing is not only an effective strength-building exercise, it is the foundation for more advanced moves such as the push-press and overhead squat. When you begin pressing, make sure that you keep these in mind.