The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Push Press

I continue my series where I count down my top 10 weight exercises, giving my opinion on some of my favourite exercises that have been a staple of my gym routine for many years.

The purpose of this weekly series is for me to share with you the reader my favourite workout exercises.  I don’t tell you how to do it – so whether you are doing it for power, body building or endurance – you will just see why I like these exercises, it’s up to you how heavy you go.

If you have experience of weight training you have probably heard of most of my list.  Although I can appreciate a number of exercises, I take the view it is best to be a master of a small number of routines.  These 10 weight exercises are what I focus on week-in, week out.

This week is Number 8:

Push Press

What it works:

Shoulders, quads and triceps

pushpress

Image from Bodybuilding.com

Why do it?

The push press is an explosive movement where you are pushing back on your legs and then pushing up giving an explosive shoulder press movement.

I was introduced to the push press by a crossfitter, who was doing it as part of one of their crazy routines.  I found because it covers such a wide range of muscles that it was a great way of giving me an all-round exercise that gave me endurance required for conquering whatever was thrown at me in an obstacle race.

The push press can be anaerobic and aerobic (not sure what the difference between these two are?  See Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise – what is the difference).  Aerobic as it creates a great fitness in a weight routine and anaerobic as you feel your legs and arms crying out from the lactic burning.

Although I have mostly used the push press as a way of boosting my endurance or as being the final exercise to complete a gym session, it is also good for using heavier weights than the regular shoulder press because the explosive movement of pushing up with your legs, enables the lifter to push through with heavier weight.

The benefits of doing the push press for heavy lifts are a good idea if you are an aspiring Powerlifter or strong man.  If you look at the image below, see how the Olympic weight lifter uses a push press type move to do the clean and jerk.

olympiclift

 

It’s an enjoyable but punishing exercise, I was working through a light weight session with the push press only the other day and it nearly broke me mentally as I felt my lungs burning to cope with powering out the final push.

It’s also good as it meets a wide range of body parts is, it will satisfy a lot of people – as a bicep/tricep fiend it’s good to have another excuse to work that area.

Variations:

The image shown illustrates it with dumb bells – you can do it so that the dumb bells are vertical over your shoulders or swap it for a bar.

Result:

Give those legs an extra explosion, see your shoulders and biceps continue to take shape and also complement any of your cardio – using the push press at an end of a workout will pay dividends giving you an absolutely devastating sprint finish on any distance race!

Beginners advice:

  • Treat the push-press with respect – do it the same as any workout routine, don’t half-ass it at the end.
  • I would say to leave this off leg day  – that is just a personal preference.  I am just thinking you might need to strength for squats.

What is your favourite weight exercise?  Why?  Drop a comment below and let me know – I might even end up quoting you.

References: 

I have been doing these exercises for so long that it isn’t always easy for me to explain.  Thanks to the following sites who helped me write this:

Bodybuilding.com – Push Press

Healthy Living – What are the benefits of the barbell pushpress

Jmax Fitness – Secret weapon for muscle and power: the push press

T Nation – The Push Press

Bodybuilding.com – Side Lateral Raises

Disclaimer: I am not a qualified personal trainer, I am just giving my opinion on what I think are the best things to do at the gym.  Note I do not advise how many repetitions to do – that is up to you and what you want to achieve.

You should always take into consideration your limitations and medical history.  Before starting a workout routine always seek advice from an expert.


The Top Ten:

10: Bent-over row

9: Side Raises

8: Push Press

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6 thoughts on “The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Push Press

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