How to do a Z-crunch to strengthen your upper body and core
Gone are the days of spending hours huffing and puffing in the weight room. With the constant grind of life today, efficient and effective workouts are essential, and that means prioritizing exercises that hit multiple muscle groups and pack full-body benefits.
One way you can make the most of your time in the gym? Do a few sets of the Z press, a cross-functional exercise that challenges your upper body, core, and movement, And Flexibility. Ahead, the fitness pro demonstrates all the advantages of adding a Z press to it Strength training routine It details how to properly perform a strength training exercise every time.
How to do the push of a button
Z Press was created by Strongman Zydrunas Savickas Shoulder press Performs sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, he says Edith Party, CPT, CES, PPSC, a NASM-certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist. “It … it Upper body strengthening movementBut because you’re sitting on the floor and there’s no support for your back, you have to use your core to stabilize yourself in this position,” she adds.
Struggling to visualize the move? Watch Partida demonstrate how to do the standard Z press below and follow the instructions for a better understanding of what the exercise entails.
a. Sit on the floor with legs extended, feet as far apart as is comfortable, a dumbbell in each hand resting on the thighs, and your core engaged. Keeping the arms bent at 90 degrees, raise the elbows to chest height in front of the body. Palms face towards each other. This is the starting point.
B. Keeping core engaged and back flat, press dumbbells in right hand just above head so wrists stacked directly over shoulders and biceps next to ear. Avoid bending backward while pressing the weights up to the ceiling.
c. Slowly bend the right elbow and lower the dumbbell to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.
Benefits of the Z key press
As Bartida alluded to, doing a Z press can reward your shoulders And Basic some good. Here’s what you need to know about these key benefits, among others.
Improves daily performance
By building strength in your shoulders, the Z press can shape your daily movement patterns Many Bartida says. Reminder: The root of the Z press is an overhead press move, which is a move style you’re likely to do every day. Your arms would reach to the ceiling to place a box of holiday decorations on a high closet shelf, for example. And you’ll do the same when you gently toss your laughing baby into the air. through practice This functional exercise And by continuing to gain weight, you’ll be able to lift heavy boxes — and kids — with ease and safety.
Fundamental stability challenges
Press Z is not Just It’s a shoulder exercise, Bartida says, and it’s equally good for your core, because it tests and builds stability in the muscle group. ICYDK, your heart It is a bundle of muscles located throughout your torso (including the rectus abdominis, obliques, transversus abdominis, and erectors) whose main job is to protect your spine and keep you upright. To do this, your core muscles must be strong and able to contract sufficiently to create stabilitylike appearance Previously mentioned. Without enough core stability, you may be dealing with… lower back pain And Tightness in the hips. “Your trunk holds everything together and in place,” Partida adds. “if [your core] Not strong enough when you put your body into different kinds of motions, that is [weakness] It can lead to injuries and back pain.”
That’s why Z pistons can be so valuable. In order to perform the exercise well (read: stay slouch-free), you’ll need to keep your core muscles activated, which can be a challenge as you push up and lower the weights, Partida says. This core bracing will also keep your spine protected throughout the movement and, as you increase the weight or reps, improve your stability.
Hamstring and chest movement tests
Pressing Z is a useful measure of how much Flexibility and mobility You have the hamstrings and thoracic spine (the part of the spine that runs from the base of the neck to just below the ribs), respectively, Partida says. If you’re unfamiliar, flexibility refers to the ability of connective tissues to temporarily elongate, and if you’re deficient in hamstring flexibility, you’ll have a hard time keeping your legs straight on the floor while pressing the Z, Partida says.
Mobility, on the other hand, is the ability to effectively control and reach full range of motion within a joint. the The thoracic spine should be especially mobile So you can move well and maintain good posture. But if you sit at a desk all day, there’s a good chance you’ll be on the rigid side, which can affect your Z-press performance.” You won’t be able to sit on the floor and press your arms fully above your head because [your thoracic spine] Bartida says.
Essentially, pressing Z can alert you to any restrictions you may have. Fortunately, there are modifications you can use to continue getting the benefits of exercise if you lack flexibility and mobility. Then, over time and with help extends And Mobility movesYou’ll be able to slowly progress to the traditional Z press, Partida says.
The Z-press muscles are working
While the Z press calls out all of your deltoids (the muscles that cover the top of your shoulder), the movement primarily targets the anterior deltoids (also known as the front), says Parteda. The exercise also builds strength in the trapezius (also known as the trapezius) muscles, which start at the base of the neck and run through your shoulders and down the middle of your back, she adds. As with the traditional shoulder press, the Z press works your triceps muscles, which are called upon to slow the weight down as it lowers back to your shoulders, and your core, which keeps your torso straight and stable.
Z press variations
Z core compression may not mesh with your body or your goals—and that’s totally fine. To decrease or increase the level of exercise for your needs, try these diversification ideas.
Edit: Landmine Z Press
Dealing with tight hamstrings? Try pressing a Z with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Or, sit on a small box or stack of weight plates (ie: 2 to 12 inches long) with your legs straight in front of you, Bartida suggests. Both of these adjustments will relieve tension in your hamstrings, and as your flexibility improves, slowly lower the box or planks until you’re sitting flat on the floor, she suggests. If you have The core is not strong enough To keep your torso upright, try doing a Z press with your back against a wall, Partida advises.
You can also perform Landmine’s Z press, which doesn’t require a great deal of balance, core stability, and Movement of the thoracic spine like a traditional Z press. This is because one end of the heavy bar will be resting on the floor and on the wall in front of your body, taking some of the load off your shoulders and core. And since you’ll be leaning slightly forward throughout the movement, the adjustment may feel a bit easier on your lower back than in the standard Z press.
Progress: Z barbell press
To make the Z-press even more challenging, replace the dumbbells with a barbell, which requires more movement in the thoracic spine and stability of the core, as you’ll need both of your arms to lift overhead simultaneously, Partida says.
Common Z Compression Errors
As you press the weights toward the ceiling and lower them back to your shoulders, avoid leaning too far back, which can cause discomfort in your lower back. Instead, focus on maintaining good posture with a flat back and keeping your body bent at about a 90-degree angle, Partida says. Most importantly, remember that Keep your heart engaged On every rep of the Z press, because this is the key to protecting your spine And Build stability.
How to add the Z Press to your routine
Before you press your shoulder to the floor and give the Z press a shot, you’ll first want to chat with your doctor if you’re currently suffering from or have sustained a shoulder injury, because this move puts extra stress on the joint, Partida says.
Once you get the go-ahead, try performing a Z press near the beginning of your workout, as the movement involves multiple muscle groups and is very taxing on the body, Partida says. In general, aim to do two to three sets of eight to 10 reps to build strength or 10 to 12 if you’re looking to improve. muscular enduranceshe suggests. Above all, don’t be shy about modifying the movement so it works best for your body, experience level, and needs. Flexibility, mobility, and core strength will all develop over time, and you will definitely feel strong and powerful no matter which variation you choose.