Power up Your Training With the Strict Overhead Press

Strict Overhead Press Vs Push Press: What’s the Difference?

The overhead press is one of the most popular exercises among bodybuilders and powerlifters. It is used to build mass, but it can also be used for many other purposes such as building strength, improving posture or even increasing muscle size.

However, there are two types of overhead presses: the strict overhead press and the push press. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. The following is a brief overview of each type.

Strict Overhead Press Vs Push Press: Pros and Cons


It builds mass. While it may not increase your overall size, it will certainly make you look bigger than someone with less weight. (If you want to get big fast, then the overhead press is probably not for you) You can use heavier weights if you wish.

If you’re going to do heavy pressing movements like bench press or squat, then the overhead press will definitely give results. You can use heavier weights than you normally would because it’s less technical and taxing on your body. It’s great for strength building. The overhead press is a simple lift that can increase your overall strength.


It takes up space. You can’t do it in a normal commercial gym. You need at least five feet of space to do the movement effectively.

Power up Your Training With the Strict Overhead Press - Picture

It’s inefficient if you want size fast. Many people are in a rush to get big. While the overhead press can definitely help with that, it’s not the most efficient way of doing so.

Push Press

The push press is basically an overhead press done with some help from the legs. It uses more muscles than the strict form and allows you to use heavier weights, which in turn helps you build strength faster. While it won’t make you look bigger than a strict overhead press, it will certainly make you stronger.

The best way to do it is to dip down low (like a squat) and use your legs to help throw the weight up. It’s similar to how you would perform a barbell squat, only in this case you won’t actually be going down, just helping the bar up.

It’s normal for your hips to come forward as you push the bar up. This is fine as long as you keep your upper body steady and your core tight. As the bar gets to chest height, push with your legs and throw it right over your head.

Once you catch it, stand up straight again.

Benefits of the Push Press

As mentioned, the push press uses more muscles than the strict overhead press and allows you to use heavier weights, which in turn builds strength faster. It can also be used by strength athletes and bodybuilders since it’s not specific to any particular sport or activity but helps in all of them.

Power up Your Training With the Strict Overhead Press - gym fit workout

Drawbacks of the Push Press

It’s possible to injure yourself if you don’t learn it properly. Don’t try to lift a weight that is too far beyond your skill level. The push press IS an overhead press, so you still run the same risks of neck or back injuries as with any other form of overhead presses.

The Bottom Line on Pressing

The overhead press can be used for multiple reasons. It can be used as a strength builder for other upper body exercises, as a way to increase size, or as a measure of strength in and of itself.

It can be broken down into two main forms: the push press and the strict overhead press. Each has their own sets of pros and cons. Whichever you choose, just make sure that it fits your particular needs.

Sources & references used in this article:

Comparison of velocity-based and traditional percentage-based loading methods on maximal strength and power adaptations by HF Dorrell, MF Smith, TI Gee – The Journal of Strength & …, 2020 – journals.lww.com

Strength gains as a result of brief, infrequent resistance exercise in older adults by J Fisher, J Steele, P McKinnon… – Journal of Sports Medicine, 2014 – hindawi.com

Single versus multiple sets in long-term recreational weightlifters by CJ Hass, L Garzarella… – … and science in …, 2000 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org

Improved cardiorespiratory endurance following 6 months of resistance exercise in elderly men and women by KR Vincent, RW Braith, RA Feldman… – Archives of Internal …, 2002 – jamanetwork.com

Upper extremity injuries associated with strength training by HA Haupt – Clinics in sports medicine, 2001 – Elsevier

Weight training: steps to success by TR Baechle, RW Earle – 2019 – books.google.com

The use of strongman type implements and training to increase sport performance in collegiate athletes by B Zemke, G Wright – Strength & Conditioning Journal, 2011 – cdn.journals.lww.com