3 Functional Alternatives to the Traditional Shoulder Press
Most gym enthusiasts are familiar with the traditional shoulder press which is typically performed seated against a bench or standing:
With each version, the legs are passive and the trunk is relatively still with the shoulders moving a weight overhead and back down. This is great for isolating specific muscle groups of the shoulder but not at all functional, as we instinctively move and use our feet, knees, hips and trunk to assist us when we have to move heavier weights above our heads in general living. Therefore it is important to engage the rest of our bodies when we practice lifting weights at the gym.
How to reduce injury risk to the shoulders?
The following are 3 alternatives which engage the rest of the body in functional and practical movements. Although you may not be able to push as much weight, injury risk to the shoulders is reduced as the body is moving like it was designed to without the force of a large weight centrally focused on just the shoulder joint itself. With the appropriate weight and with safe technique, you can still achieve fatigue within the usual rep range to help yourself become functionally stronger.
1. Single arm landmine press with trunk rotation:
Ensure you are bending your knees and allowing your trunk to rotate forwards and back during the repetition. Lifting your back heel to allow forefoot pivoting will help with the overall rotation of your body as you push the weight up and return the weight back down. There are plenty of other videos and picture demonstrations of this exercise online, but most of them are not functional without trunk, hip and knee involvement.
2. Single arm dumbbell shoulder press with rear lunge:
The weight should be held on the opposite side to the leg that is moving behind. For most of us, arm and leg coordination should always engage opposite sides of the body at the same time as we do this instinctively in life. For example, we will typically stand on our left foot in order to reach above us with our outstretched right arm for an object on a high shelf. This allows us to elongate effectively through our trunk to help us reach up and balances our weight across our body rather than all our weight being on just one side of our body.
3. Double arm (or alternating single arm) pulley shoulder press with alternating forward lunge:
Lift forwards and upwards as you lunge forward. Rarely in life would we be successfully pushing something forwards while our bodies are moving backwards.
How can we help you?
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If your sports, fitness training or work has been wearing your body down, book in with one of our expert physiotherapists or massage therapists so we can help you reduce your pain and get you moving again.
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