This week's exercise bares much resemblance to the previous week's one-arm dumbbell two-point bent-over row. We are keeping the unilateral component with this week's exercise but we are switching from a posteriorly focused exercise to an anteriorly focused upper-body movement. The overhead press is a standard movement that has been the staple of many programs for as long as people have been picking up heavy objects and putting them above their heads. All we are going to do is take this very traditional exercise and add a little bit of a spin to it to incorporate a bit more core stability and functionality. To finally get to it this week's exercise is going to be a standing one-arm dumbbell overhead press. I love this movement because of the many benefits it offers in spite of being an easily coached and learned movement. I primarily use this motion to teach individuals how to move into full shoulder flexion without any extension at the thoracic spine. As an added plus this motion also creates large amounts of abdominal activation because the individual must resist both extension and flexion in two different planes of motion.
To perform the said movement all you need is a kettlebell or dumbbell and yourself. You are going to pick the dumbbell or kettlebell up in the chosen working arm. Proceed by curling the weight up to shoulder height. From here you have a decision to make you can proceed into the pressing motion with either a pronated grip (palm facing forward) or a neutral grip (palm facing in). Now for my purposes I don't get to picky about grips because the focus of this exercise is not what musculature is being activated and stressed, but rather what is the quality of the motion, but I will say that traditionally one can handle a bit more weight with a hybrid grip between neutral and pronated it seems to be a little bit more shoulder friendly. Either way you make the call. Once grip has been decided this next step is the actual movement being trained which is a vertical press that will involve flexion of the shoulder and adduction of the arm as well as extension at the elbow. When you initiate the movement the dumbbell should be just at shoulder height. Thing about keeping your elbows and wrist in-line with one another as you drive the weighted implement in your hand toward the ceiling. During the press you want to remember to keep the shoulder blade pulled down and back. When you reach the top of the motion you should have your arm fully extended and your shoulder, elbow, and wrist should create a straight line. Do not allow the shoulder to squeeze up next to the ear rather keep the shoulder down and away from the ear. You then will lower the weight back down to shoulder level. During all this motion you want to make sure that the shoulders remain level, that the rib cage does not flare upward, and that your hips do not extend forward during the upward movement of the pressing motion. This is where a ton of abdominal activity comes into play.
Below is a video demonstrating the exercise correctly and safely from both a front and side angle. I hope you all take this week's exercise and try it at least once in your future programming. It doesn't have to be a staple exercise, but it is a nice change of pace.