Exercises You Should Be Doing: Kneeling Overhead Press to Standing

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Quick Update:  1. I want to first thank everyone who chimed in on yesterday’s post (as well as sent me personal emails) offering their advice this whole car buying process I’m going through. I’m not one for confrontation, so the whole idea of walking into a car dealership to negotiate a price makes me a bit skittish.

It’s funny:  ask me to deadlift 500+ lbs, I won’t bat an eye. I’ll crush, and then some.  Ask me to sit down with a salesmen and negotiate paint trim, I’ll start hyperventilating into a brown paper bag.

Anyways, to make this short – because I know people don’t visit this site to listen to me talk about buying a car – after several people suggested I do so, I logged onto FightingChance.com and decided to ask for their help during this process.  Outside of actually handing me a Lightsaber, these guys are going to arm me with all tools I’ll need to get the right price for the car I’m looking for.  Thanks again everyone!

2. As many of you know, I’ve been banged up as of late dealing with some lower back issues, and it’s only been within the past few weeks that I’ve been able to train with any ounce of intensity.  My Canadien half-brother, Dean Somerset, has been helping me out with some programming the past few weeks, and I couldn’t be happier with my progress.

A few weeks ago sucking my thumb would make me wince.  Yesterday I was able able to work up to a 315 lb deadlift with an additional 150 lbs of chain weight for sets of five.


While I still have a ways to go, I just want to send a huge debt of gratitude towards Dean and to note to everyone reading that, more often than not, it’s about what you NEED to do and not necessarily what you WANT to do that’s going to get you better.

Which is as good of a time as any to discuss today’s exercise you should be doing:

Kneeling Overhead Press to Standing

Who Did I Steal It From:  Dean.

What Does It Do:  the question should really be:  what DOESN’T it work?

For me this exercise is challenging because I don’t have great active t-spine extension, which wreaks havoc down the kinetic chain – especially as it relates to hip extension and not compensating with HYPERextension.

In this case I’m able to work on my t-spine extension (going overhead) while trying my best to control my lumbo-pelvic-hip area so as to not compensate with any shimmying, shaking, or lateral shifting from side to side.

Digging a little deeper, we can see a other benefits as well:

1. There’s a definite anti-extension/anti-lateral flexion component for the core.

2. Obviously we’re working some overhead pressing into the mix (while I keep me arms extended throughout, you could just as easily “tweak” the exercise to press in the kneeling position on every repetition).

3. Assuming one is “packing” their shoulders appropriately (not shrugging), this is a fantastic exercise to work scapular stability.

4. In addition, there’s a significant hip stability (and mobility for that matter) component compounded with a fairly challenging single leg strengthening component as well.

Key Coaching Cues:  I’m telling you right now this exercise is humbling, so don’t go playing a hero and think you’re going to be crushing this exercise with 50 lb DBs over your head.  If you do, you suck, and really hate you.

Start conservative – say, 10-20 lb DBs – and be sure to “set” your scapulae so that you’re not actively pressing the weight throughout the entire movement.  Too, it’s IMPERATIVE that you DO NOT compensate with any lateral shifting or hyperextending of the hips/pelvis in any way.  Tighten your core – or brace (whatever term works for you) – and try to stay as stiff as possible throughout the duration of the set.

In particular, on the descent, try not to allow your butt to stick out as you go back into the kneeling position.  This is going to be a real challenge for many reading – so again, start conservative with the weight!

I’ve been implementing this exercise into a lot of my own client’s programs, and I prefer to  perform these for sets of 3-5 reps/per side, with a 30s-60s rest in between left and right sides, possibly even pairing this with another exercise in such a way:

– 5 reps on the RIGHT leg.

– 8-10 push-ups (grip is going to be a factor here, so if you’re going to pair this exercise with something, you’re best to use an exercise that won’t require a lot of grip).

– 5 reps on the LEFT leg.

And there you go.  Try it out today, and let me know what you think!

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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.

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