Heavy presses can place a tremendous amount of pressure on the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and lower back. To be able to successfully press overhead you need adequate shoulder mobility, as well as a strong core.
One movement that will help you achieve both is the old-timey “skin the cat” exercise. This movement allows for a great shoulder stretch through a full range of motion, decompresses the spine, and serves as a great core strengthener. Try doing this exercise before your next pressing day to prepare your shoulders for heavy lifting.
Note: Using rings or a TRX-style setup allows for more range of motion than using a bar. The rings let your shoulders move more naturally.
How to Do It
Start from a dead hang position with your hands turned out.
Keep your arms and legs straight and engage your lats and core as you flex your hips, bringing your thighs towards your chest.
Continue bringing your feet all the way through past your arms so that you go upside down.
Keep your core engaged as you lower your feet back towards the ground. Optional: Rotate the palms out for a greater stretch at the end of the movement.
Once you’ve come to a dead stop, bring your thighs to your chest and lift your hips back towards the ceiling.
Bring your feet through your arms so that you come back into a dead hang position with your palms turned out.