Most novice lifters I met on my way have been convinced that for some reason it’s always better to isolate every single muscle group as it will apparently lead to more muscle and strength gains. While it is true that it will allow you to execute exercises in a more precise manner, it is not necessarily true that it will result in better strength gains. After all, there is a reason why Olympic weightlifters are so strong for their weight and they definitely do not isolate their muscles as much as some might think they do.
One of the benefits of push pressing is the triple extension. It’s the simultaneous extension of the ankle, hip and knee joints. It transfers very well to sprinting, jumping and any other explosive movements that require coordination. In this case, however, you are also adding shoulder flexion and triceps extension to the equation which requires significantly more coordination. This movement will help you to coordinate your limbs and develop extreme power and strength. Not only that, but it will also help you if you are an athlete as it will transfer to the sports movement which, in turn, will increase your athletic performance. You will simply run faster, jump higher, strike harder and be more explosive. It’s very useful for a wide range of sports, such as rugby, basketball, netball, martial arts or pole vaulting.
The thing about push pressing is that it also develops power and power is responsible for generating maximum force in the shortest time possible. In simple words, it will teach you how to produce maximum force quicker which will help with pushing through the sticking point in the bench press, squat or other exercises as the Push Press is NOT an upper-body only movement. If you look at it closer, it forces you to use the leg drive which means that you have to rely on your leg power to drive the bar up.
Shoulder and triceps overload
Another benefit is overloading the muscles and CNS with the weight you wouldn’t be able to lift without the help of your lower body. Triceps is being stimulated a lot here. As you are using the leg drive to develop the initial momentum and get the weight up, it means that such a weight wouldn’t be lifted by you at your current strength levels by using just your upper body. My point is that it serves as a great overload tool, similarly to the reverse band method where you get the bands to help you gain initial momentum in the bottom position. Another benefit is that you can also gain a lot of size if you deliberately try to slow down the weight during the eccentric phase as your muscles will be then forced to oppose a supramaximal weight. It will help you prepare your CNS to fight against such loads and shock your muscle fibres which will result in more hypertrophy.
Just pressing the weight overhead will help you stabilise your shoulder due to the lever arm but using a heavier weight than you would without the leg drive is going to increase demands plus, you will be required to coordinate all your joint functions into a single movement which makes it even harder. To sum up, it will help you both strengthen and stabilise your shoulder girdle, therefore, it is a great exercise for people lacking shoulder stability and mobility. “Why mobility?” – you are probably going to ask – it’s because mobility comes with stability and vice versa. It simply means that increasing your shoulder stability will help you become more mobile.
Push Press with dumbbells
Another idea to utilise Push Press in your training is to do it with dumbbells. Dumbbells force your brain to double the calculations necessary to conduct the movement as using two separate resistance-tools increase the stability and coordination demands. Push pressing with dumbbells can help you build a strong base so you can safely use heavier weights in the future, improve your intermuscular and intramuscular coordination and teach you correct form. If you are new to push pressing, you can try learning the movement with dumbbells first and move on to the barbell when you feel ready.
Push Press is a great movement and serves much more function than the simple Military Press due to its complicated nature, actively using twice the amount of joints, forcing you to stabilise the movement on the way up, isometrically overhead and on the way down. It can help you develop strong and healthy shoulders and increase power development along with increasing your size and strength levels.