You’ve likely heard the stereotypical trainer say, “really everything should be core work if done correctly.”
Though true, there is rarely any follow up on how exactly to “engage” your core when doing movements like presses. I find that most athletes when trying to tighten their core while lifting end up simply sucking in their stomach. This is the opposite of what we want…
Two of the cues I use the most when an athlete is performing an upper body press variation are “chest down” and “point your belt buckle to the sky”. These two tips in conjunction with each other pull the athlete into proper posture. If you fight to keep this position while pressing you will inherently use your core to maintain it.
The other way to combat the temptation to suck in as you lift or to let your back arch is to focus on breathing into your belly before each press. This will help stabilize and create pressure through your midline. When sucking in this tension is lost and you can easily injure your lower back.
Lastly, try out these exercises that inherently don’t allow you to lose core tension while pressing.