Starting Position: Sit with your back against a backrest so that your head, shoulders and butt make contact with the pad and your feet are firmly on the floor. The bar should be positioned close to your body and level with the upper part of your chest or collarbone. Grasp the bar with the palms facing forward, thumbs wrapped around the bar. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder-width or at a width where your forearms are vertical to the floor. Brace your torso by contracting your core and abdominal muscles. If working with a spotter, signal for assistance.
Upward Phase: Pull your shoulder blades down and back and hold this position throughout the exercise. If working with a spotter, have them assist you by unracking the bar from the supports. Exhale and press the bar overhead until your elbows are straight. Do not allow your low back to arch. Keep the wrists in neutral position. Do not allow bending at the wrists.
Downward Phase: Inhale. In a slow and controlled manner, bend your elbows and lower the bar. Keep your torso rigid, wrists neutral, back in contact with the bench and feet firmly planted on the floor. Mindfully contract the muscles of your back and arms to bring the bar down. Resist yielding to gravity. Be conscious of your head position. Do not allow the bar to come in contact with your face. At the end of your set, signal your spotter for assistance in racking the bar.
Spotting is important to ensure safety in this exercise. The spotter should stand behind you in a split-stance position, positioning themselves with an elevated advantage to assist. The spotter should use an alternating grip with their hands positioned inside of yours near the bar at all times throughout the exercise.