Exercises For Confidence: Half Kneeling Overhead Press

Exercises For Confidence: Half Kneeling Overhead Press

So what’s new with me besides being vegan, single, and still nursing a hangover from New Year’s Eve?

Well, for one, I’m happy to announce I’ll be continuing my work with Johns Hopkins University strength and conditioning. Two, I’m finally learning how to do more complex formulas on Excel without getting a seizure. And lastly, I’m force feeding myself new information on the functional anatomy of the shoulder joint.

Shoulders? They exist?

Being a soccer girl, this is a foreign scope for me. As a specialist in the beautiful game, I have to know all the nitty gritty about the lumbopelvic hip region and below. If someone gave me a penny every time I named the hip muscles and their attachments on-call, I’d be one rich woman.

Now anything else above the hips is a slippery slope. The shoulder joint is arguably one of the more complex regions of the human body, and learning the functions, compensations, and force-couple relationships within muscle groups is like asking me to repair the brake system on my car. Or apply a condom with only my mouth.


However, the big girl in me knows I have to stay up-to-date on all things anatomy and upper body. Just like a male bodybuilder has to NOT SKIP LEG DAY. In my case, I can’t skip shoulder day.

Without further ado, here is this week’s Exercise for Confidence:

Why I Like It:

– It’s a great regression from any overhead pressing exercise, especially if the client has forward head posture, poor thoracic mobility, and lacks lumbar spine stability. Because let’s face it, most people suck at pressing heavy things overhead. Strength coach Tony Gentilcore always repeats, “You must earn the right to press overhead.” Just like you have to earn the right to be an American, pay your damn taxes, and put down a mortgage. Same goes for lifting weight above your head.

– It promotes hip stability. The front leg hip flexors are activated to prevent lateral shifting of the pelvic region (see front view in video below) and the rear leg adductors and abductors work together to maintain stability. To add more bang for the buck, the rear leg hip flexors are moderately stretched, as long as you SQUEEZE THE REAR GLUTE!!!!

– Translates well to real pressing. Yes, pressing in real life aka military presses, push presses, and landmine presses. The half kneeling position takes the lumbar spine out of the equation, which encourages total control of the core via anti-flexion and anti-extension. Want a stronger military press? Do half kneeling first.

– Promotes “shoulder packing” for scapular stability. But we all knew that. ;-0

– It’s great for soccer players. The exercise can be done in a contralateral or ipsilateral fashion, training stability of the hips and the integration of the entire kinetic chain for efficient movement patterns. If you have the weight in the opposing hand, this is great work on the posterior oblique subsystem, which calls for activation of the lat and opposite gluteus max.


This is an exercise I use on my younger soccer players as they’re learning core stability and how to leave their egos behind. With that said, half kneeling overhead pressing is not meant for being a superhero. Don’t be an idiot and start with more than you can handle. I promise you’ll feel the benefits even when you start off small.

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