Move of the Week: Tall-kneeling Overhead Pin Press

It’s time for the last Move of the Week in November. Here it is!

THE MOVE: Tall-kneeling Overhead Pin Press

MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Vertical push: shoulders, triceps, core.

WHY DO IT: I feel like it’s been forever since we featured an overhead pressing exercise here on Move of the Week, so today’s move is long overdue. There are two things about today’s move that differentiate it from other overhead pressing exercises: the tall kneeling position and the use of spotting pins.

Let’s start with the tall-kneeling position first. One of the biggest issues we see with shoulder/overhead presses, especially in standing, is the use of lumbar extension to finish off the lift. More experienced lifters can get away with this, and while a little extension is okay, hyperextension is not. Save for a sore back, we won’t have much to show for overhead pressing this way.

The tall-kneeling position forces you to get your torso into the proper alignment to overhead press safely and effectively. In this position, your ribs are down and your hips fully extended. This position allows you to brace your abs. It’s hard to press without this proper position, and trying to do so is akin to constructing a Jenga tower on an inclined surface.

The second differentiating factor here is the use of the spotting pins. In today’s move, every rep should start and stop at the pins, with a pause between each rep. This eliminates the stretch reflex and “bouncing” out of each rep, making the exercise harder, but also better for building starting strength. We can put the pins at any height to work in a specific range of motion. For this move though, we still have the pins low enough to work the full range of motion.

HOW TO DO IT: Set up the spotting pins in a rack so that the barbell is in line with your collarbone. This will mimic the bottom of an overhead press. Get underneath the bar into a tall-kneeling position, with your hips forward and ribs down.

Pull the barbell close to you, brace your abs, and press the weight overhead, locking out fully at the top. Think about pushing away from the floor and up in a straight line. Be sure to keep your hips forward and ribs down throughout–this is the optimal position to press from.

Slowly bring the bar back down to the pins. Be sure to pause to eliminate momentum, and repeat for reps.

For this exercise, you probably won’t be able to press as much as you would in a standing position. This is due to the nature of the exercise itself. I like to use this in the beginning of a workout, and would recommend doing 4 sets of 6-8 reps. If your overhead press needs some work, give this a shot and let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !

by Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau Halevy Life Staff CoachJeremy Lau is a Staff Coach at Halevy Life.

Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and is currently pursuing his M.Ed. in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.

As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.