Shoulder/Overhead Pressing Progressions:

By Brent Brookbush, DPT, PT, COMT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS


For a comprehensive review of unstable load and surface training:

Relative Flexibility Progression:

Relative flexibility progressions are general guidelines for exercise selection that can be used while correcting postural dysfunction/movement impairment. Individuals exhibiting signs of Upper Body Dysfunction (UBD) may reduce the chance of compensation by integrating shoulder/overhead pressing patterns in the following order:

  1. Shoulder Scaption
  2. PNF Carry Away
  3. Sagittal Plane Overhead Press
  4. Scapular plane Overhead Press
  5. Frontal Plane Overhead Press

Subsystems Recruited:

Subsystem Recruitment:

Pressing overhead requires significant trunk stabilization and coordinated recruitment of core subsystems. The intrinsic stabilization subsystem maintains segmental alignment of our lumbar spine, while balanced recruitment of the anterior oblique subsystem (AOS) and posterior oblique subsystems (POS) prevent excessive flexion, extension, lateral flexion or rotation.


Shoulder Flexion (Sagittal Plane Variations)