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Move of the Week: The Bradford Press

Move of the Week: The Bradford Press

Known as an effective old-school movement the Bradford Press is like a Military Press with a twist

Invented by Olympic weightlifting champion Jim Bradford and regarded as the cornerstone of strength and fundamental to building upper body size, the exercise started to disappear from bodybuilding routines because of all the injuries it caused due to poor technique.

  • Step one: Unrack a barbell like you would during a normal Military Press. Hold the barbell on your shoulders. Now press the barbell overhead while looking up slightly.
  • Step two: Press the barbell just enough so it clears your head.
  • Step three: Instead of lowering the barbell to the front, lower it behind your head until you reach the height of your ears.
  • Step four: Now press the barbell back up until it clears your head again and lower it to the original starting position. That constitutes one rep. Proceed in alternating the barbell until you have completed the reps you need to do on the exercise.

Muscles worked: Deltoids, triceps, trapezius

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Key points:

  • Don’t lock out because it will relieve tension on the shoulders and defeat the purpose of the exercise.
  • Don’t perform the Bradford Press if you lack rotator cuff flexibility or have a history of shoulder problems.
  • Don’t rest the barbell on your neck when you return to the starting position. Lift the barbell to chin height and keep constant tension on your shoulders.
  • Use a medium grip. A wide grip reduces strength and increases the risk of wrist pain.
  • Don’t go heavy on the movement. Shoot for higher repetitions (between 10 and 15) with a lighter weight.
  • By alternating the barbell to the front and to the back of the head you keep constant tension on the shoulders.
  • You can either sit or stand when you perform the movement. When you stand make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart for increased stability.
  • Use the Bradford Press as a warm-up exercise or as your final move when you train shoulders.

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  1. ticktock shabane

    I’m living in durban and I honestly cannot find the latest copy of muscle evolution at any of my usual spots. Please help!!!

    • Hi Ticktock,

      Which issue are you looking for, and which stores have you tried?
      The May/June issue will be on shelves next week, so you may find that some stores are already out of stock of the March/April issue.

      Team M.E.

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