The Banded Overhead Press and Squat

The One Move You Should Be Doing Before Every Workout

Deploy this ultra-efficient move to slash your injury risk and boost your lifting potential

Assert your squatter’s rights to a pain-free PB the next time you reach for a barbell with this new, three-move combination. It activates your posterior chain and mobilises your hips and shoulders. That’s everything you need before going big, making this your perfect warm-up move when you’re too short of time to spend 20 minutes flowing through mobility drills. So, that’s every session.

“It’s a great pre-hab exercise. It works on your back and shoulder muscles to combat slouching at work, too,” says MH fitness editor Andrew Tracey. As well as opening you up, using a resistance band adds an isometric element for better activation. The constant tension also forces you to lean back, dropping you further into the squat and working your hips. All of which combine to switch on the power sources of your big lifts, be they squats, deadlifts, or overhead presses.

“Once you’ve got the movement down, take your time and aim for two sets of four reps at about six seconds per rep,” says Tracey. The longer the time under tension, the more muscle fibres you’ll switch on and the more you can recruit as you start lifting in search of all-new strength. Consider this your Band-Aid for big lifts.

The One Move You Need to Prepare for a WorkoutThe One Move You Need to Prepare for a Workout

Face Off

Start with a band fastened in front of you at around head height. With your feet a little wider than your shoulders, grip the band with both hands and pull it towards your face.

Raise The Roof

Without slacking the tension in the band, rotate your shoulders back and press your hands up to extend your arms fully. Brace your core to hold in an overhead press position.

Deep Trouble

Now, drop slowly into a deep squat. Go as deep as you can without moving your feet wider, engaging your whole core (not just your arms) to work against the band’s forward pull.

Rinse and Repeat

Push through your heels and contract your glutes to stand up. Bring your arms down slowly, keeping the tension in your back. Release forward. That’s one rep. Go again – slowly, now.

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