Exercise Index – High-Incline Dumbbell Overhead Press For Pain-Free Pressing

Years ago I read a list of exercises recommended by @dante_trudel, and one of them was a high incline press on a smith machine. I’d never heard of pressing this way. My understanding of the overhead press was pressing straight overhead, not at an angle.

A few years later, I heard John Meadows recommend the same thing. Both men had similar reasoning: it felt better on the shoulder joint and seemed less stressful than the traditional overhead press.

Eventually I tried this out myself, and I discovered they were correct. Whereas the standing barbell press or seated DB press always led to eventual shoulder pain, the high incline version did not.

Credit to @liftrunbang1, he was the first coach I know who was able to explain the improved biomechanics of pressing in the scapular plane and how this is the superior position to press from.

That said, there are people who like to press the traditional way, it works for them, it doesn’t hurt, they’ve been doing it for a long time, and as I like to say.

If something is working for you in your training, keep on doing it. Don’t change just because.

But do be willing to experiment. There’s the way we’ve always done it, and sometimes there is a better way.


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