Today in the crash course series I want to show you a pressing variation that few have probably ever seen: the Z Press.
Overhead pressing seems to have gotten a bad rap over the past few years. I see coaches saying that only a handful of genetically superior lifters should overhead press and I’m calling bullshit. Overhead work is vital to anyone’s training if strength and more muscle are among your goals (hint: they should be). So long as you don’t have any specific contraindications to overhead pressing I say find a way to do it.
Anyway with that tangent aside here’s the deal with the Z Press. This movement is named for (in)famous strongman Zydrunas Savickas and it is as brutally effective as it is simple. Take a seat within your power or squat rack, yes on the floor, with your legs out in front of you. Have a barbell set on the safety pins about shoulder level and press from an unsupported seated position.
The thing that makes this exercise so great is the positioning. Since you are sitting down and your back isn’t supported you have to keep yourself upright and not cheat by leaning back too far. This means that you have to use raw pressing strength in the shoulders and triceps to move the bar. Ever seen someone do a seated dumbbell military press on one of those 90 degree benches? It ends up turning into an incline bench press, which would be a great movement if that’s what you were actually trying to do.
I like to do Z Presses with a barbell in the power rack, as traditional, or with dumbbells either on the floor or seated on a bench with no back support. As long as you aren’t placing anything behind your back to keep you upright, you’ll get the job done.
Now go put something overhead.