4 Exercises Better Than the Overhead Press
Think traditional seated overhead barbell presses are your golden ticket to shoulder mass? Here are 4 variations that’ll do a better job of adding mass to your delts.
4. The Partial Overhead Press
Probably one of the most underused versions of the overhead press is the partial press. Many bodybuilders shy away from anything less than a full range of motion (ROM), and while we believe in a full ROM, the “purist” could gain a lot from working his way to the power rack. There are literally too many positive aspects of the partial press to define in this space, but let us note just a few.
First and most obvious, the bar isn’t going to crash down upon your head nor will you have to struggle to rack the weight after failure (and we’ve all been there). With the partial press, you set the safeties at a certain point along the ROM and limit the move to that safe and shortened mark. When the set is over (failure), you simply rest the bar atop the safeties. Such mental confidence will go a long way when you’re trying to pack on more delt mass.
In fact, that added confidence factor actually brings us to the next main point, which is simply the amount of stress or weight you can place upon your shoulders in a partial environment. You may be working within a shorter range of motion, but your delts have the capacity to lift more weight partially than they can through a full ROM, and it’s time you put that truth to good use. More weight + increased fiber damage = greater gains.
Finally, is the idea of progression. You can adjust the safeties from week to week as you gain strength at each level. That increase in partial strength will eventually help your overall, full-range strength and size. And as you get stronger and more adept at using the partial mentality, you’ll eventually employ techniques such as reverse movements (in which you momentarily settle the bar on the bars to eliminate the stretch reflex, or elastic energy) and rest-pause tactics with greater efficiency. Those attributes allow the partial press to be instrumental in helping you achieve your objective of getting boulder, sleeve-busting shoulders.
Power Pointer: By shortening the range of motion, you can use much more weight than you normally would.