Strict Press (Shoulder Press)
Why: The strict press is the way to measure (and build) upper body vertical pushing strength. With no help from the legs or hips, the strict press strengthens your shoulders, back, and chest. It also challenges and strengthens your core—you’ve got to remain tightly braced during this movement.
Set-Up: Start with your feet at a hip-width stance. Place your hands on the barbell just outside your shoulders. Bring the barbell to the front rack position with your elbows just slightly in front of the bar. Get a full grip on the bar.
Execution: Brace your core. Press the bar overhead. The bar moves over the middle of your feet. Your torso and legs remain still. Keep your heels down. To finish the movement, complete at full arm extension.
Points of Performance: To get a “good rep,” ensure the following:
– The bar starts in the front rack position with your elbows slightly in front of the bar
– Your torso and legs remain static throughout the movement
– Your arms lock out overhead with the barbell over the middle of your feet
Pro-Tip: Build up to a 1 rep max strict press slowly and with very small weight jumps. Unlike the push press or jerk, you don’t get any help from the lower body in the strict press, which makes it tougher to add load. Have your fractional plates ready.