Exercises You Should Be Doing: Standing Half Press

Share This:

I know, I know.  Normally I scoff at any exercise that suggests using a limited ROM (leg press, anyone?), and I typically have to resist the urge to throw my face into a brick wall.  But today, since I’m in a little bit of a rush (and because there’s currently a HUGE fire in the apartment building across the street from mine, and I can’t turn away from watching it.*), I’m throwing everyone a bit of a curve ball.

Today’s exercise you should be doing, is one that I’ve used numerous times myself as well as with my athletes and clients, so it’s not like it’s a complete oddity as far as programming is concerned.

And what’s more, it appeals to the meat-head that resides in all of us – yes, myself included.  As a quick reference, look at the picture to the left.  <—–  No, your other left

Now, THAT’S a meat head.

What is it:  Standing Half Press

What Does It Do: this is an excellent exercise that I like to use every now and then to hammer both the shoulders and triceps. Although, to be fair, using the half press places a bit more of an emphasis on the triceps.  I remember the first time I did these…..my triceps hated me for like a week!

Additionally, since you’re standing while doing this, it’s an excellent FULL body exercise, as you have to fire your glutes and anterior core like crazy to prevent hyper-extension of the lumbar spine.

And lastly, using the pins to come to a FULL stop provides a bit more of a “starting strength” component otherwise deficient in a regular, full-ROM press.

Key Coaching Cues:  place the pins of your rack at eye level so that the bar rests right in line with your forehead as you set up. Bracing your abs and squeezing your glutes HARD (again, to prevent excessive lumbar extension), press the bar over your head until your arms are fully extended.

Slowly lower the bar back down to the pins to a complete stop.  No bouncing!  Gather yourself if you have to, re-brace, and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

High fives and fist pumps afterwards are optional.

Ideally, this would be used as an accessory movement to the bench press for 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions. Try it out today, and let me know what you think.

*  =  This is a picture of the fire, taken from the homepage of Boston.com.

Click HERE to see video.

Note to self:   Call Liberty Mutual today and look into getting renter’s insurance.  I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without it.

If this isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is.

UPDATE:  Done.  Our apartment is now insured against fires, burglars, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. Maybe even asteroids.  You know, just in case.


Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

Share This Post:


Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

Comments for This Entry

  • Dwight Schrute

    Hey Tony, (I like the things you dooooo)Have you ever thought about doing a , What I Learned in 2011? They are always an enjoyment to read and help us reflect on our year also.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      That's a great idea, although I know Eric Cressey started that trend, and I don't want to step on his toes.

      January 17, 2012 at 8:36 am | Reply to this comment

      • Lauren L

        Hey Tony great blog. Thank your guy Eric for pointing me in your direction. Regarding the "what I learned in 2011" post idea. I know you don't want to step on Eric's toes, but he's not the only one who learned stuff in 2011. I've read plenty of blog posts that are basically just that (and who knows who's "copying" who) and I loved every one of them. Learning from your previous year and documenting it is a concept as old as time and I don't think you should let someone who is close to you discourage you from allowing us readers to benefit from your insight. Keep the knowledge bombs coming my friend.

        January 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Zach

    Tony, you think you could start categorizing these 'Exercises You Should Be Doing' posts together? Just make it easier, for lazy ppl like me, to find all the previous ones. Just a suggestion.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Smitty

    Is your apartment insured against knowledge bombs? Because you drop them on the regular. BOOM.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Nicholas St John Rheault

    TG, Nice article (as always).... I like how you are blunt.... A shoulder exercise that is actually involves the total body. I don't know why individuals always think/assume that spot training and training like a bodybuilder is the way to go.... What are your thoughts on doing Pin Presses for Activation Clusters prior to Weighted Pull-Ups?

    January 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      I think pin presses are an excellent way to add variety to one's training. Albeit, they do tend to bang up the shoulders when done too much. I'd be more inclined to use them as part of a rotation where I perform pin presses for a week or two, and then switch to something else like board presses or close grip presses.

      January 17, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply to this comment

  • Ben Bruno

    I like it! I've done this exercise seated several years back, but never standing. It's funny, full range overhead pressing has bothered my shoulders, but doing partial range pin presses never gave me any trouble. I'll have to try these out.

    January 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Gciterony

    Tony, why have the rack? Why not avoid the rack to realty necessitate the strict form and bracing the abs in a strict up and down motion?

    January 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Reply to this comment

  • James

    Why not just strict or push-press through a full range of motion? Y'know, like a man? ;-) Seriously though, what does this offer a lifter with non-injured shoulders that they could get more effectively with some type of full-range press? Presumably, you'd have to pass Mike Robertson's tests for overhead pressing to do this as well (thoracic extension ROM, glute activation, etc), so why not just get the full ROM on overhead pressing too? Side note: full ROM pressing makes you at least 58.2% manlier. Can't argue with that, that's just science.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ben Coker

    These are awesome. I wrote an article titled 'tricky triceps and louzy lockouts' and these were on the remedy list. I add these in my training when I hit plateaus in my bench numbers. The extra weight you can eventually handle from the partial position combined with the explosiveness needed from the dead stop help me rock through my sticking points. In my opinion they are a great example of how, when used intelligently, partial range of motion exercises can aid performance.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Scapular Stretch for Shoulder Mobility | theRotater.com

    [...] Exercises You Should Be Doing: Standing Half Press – Tony Gentilcore [...]

    January 21, 2012 at 4:07 am | Reply to this comment

  • 24 Random (Birthday) Thoughts « Harold Gibbons

    [...] any videos, but you can read about the standing half press in Tony Gentilcore’s blog post HERE, and you’ll see the video [...]

    February 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Reply to this comment

Leave a Comment