Barbell Press Sit Up (Overhead Sit Up)

Exercise Summary
Primary Muscle(s) Abdominals
Secondary Muscle(s) ChestShoulders
Equipment Barbell
Emphasis Compound
Type Push

Barbell Press Sit Up Instructions

  • You can slightly bend your knees or have your legs extended fully.
    • Anchoring your feet/legs will create more tension in your quads and hip flexors.
  • Have a barbell above your chest with your arms extended (elbows slightly bent).
    • Take your normal bench press grip.
  • Take a breath out and imagine your abdominals curling your torso into the top position. 
  • You don't want a rigid torso position. Your back should not be arched during the execution of the exercise.
    • Your core is not "braced" like for a squat or deadlift.
    • Don't hold your breath on the concentric or eccentric portion of the movement. 
  • From an anatomy and biomechanics perspective, the rectus abdominus flexes the spine.
    • You cannot put a muscle through a full range-of-motion properly if it is too tense.
  • As you curl up, continue to press the barbell overhead.
  • The top position has the barbell overhead.
  • At the top position, you are "uncurling" your abs back to the floor. 
    • Don't flop your upper back on the ground.


  • Do not use momentum to generate yourself to the top position. This happens usually with one swaying the barbell forward slightly.  
  • This is an advanced abdmonial movement.
    • If you cannot perform it with a barbell, scale down to a medicine ball or dumbbells. 
  • Maintain a neutral neck position throughout the movement. 
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