Football Bar Press: Gym Shorts (How To)

New to the football bar press or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

Football Bar Press Correct Form

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises.

Follow these steps

  • Set Up
    • Pick grip that approximates normal press grip
    • Thumbs around bar with hands centered on handles
    • Elbows slightly in front of wrists
    • Wrists straight
    • Head back
    • Hips forward
  • Movement
    • Big shrug to finish at the top
    • Bar moves as close to face as possible
    • Bar ends directly over shoulders & midfoot
    • Breathe & pause at the top

What Is the Football Bar Press & Why Do It?

The football bar press or football bar overhead press or overhead press with any multi-grip or swiss bar is an overhead press that uses a football bar. The football bar allows the wrists to be in a neutral or more neutral position than a normal barbell. It does this over a range of potential grip widths.

This exercise serves as a press supplemental lift for most lifters, providing greater variety for intermediate and advanced lifters.

Other lifters may need this exercise to be their main press variation because of wrist issues or wrist pain. The neutral grip allows for some to press without pain, whereas a pronated grip press comes with pain for those lifters.

This exercise trains the muscles of the arms, forearms, shoulders, and chest (to a lesser degree than the bench press, though). The muscles trained include the triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, pectoralis major, and trapezius (the shrug at the top).

The press also requires greater stability and balance than the bench press, as the entirety of the lifters body beneath the shoulder must be working to maintain stability and balance, so this movement works the muscles of the abdominals.

Programming the Football Bar Overhead Press

For lifters with wrist pain, this exercise serves as their main overhead press movement. Because of this, it is programmed just like the normal barbell press, and may be performed twice a week. The seated or standing dumbbell overhead press (where wrists can be neutral) may also serve these lifters well for greater variety.

For intermediate and advanced lifters seeking greater variety and are using this lift as a press supplemental lift, it may be performed for higher rep hypertrophy work, dynamic power work, or more traditional strength work.

Generally, perform this exercise for 2-5 sets of 3-15 reps. These are general guidelines, however, and this could certainly be performed for singles, especially if you’re using this as your main press variant.

If you’re experiencing wrist pain during the overhead press or looking for a press supplemental exercise, try the football bar press.

Click HERE to read about the muscles worked in the overhead press and watch this video HERE to watch our in-depth instruction video on the press.

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