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Overhead Press Test

Testing and measurement are the means of collecting information upon which subsequent performance evaluations and decisions are made but, in the analysis, we need to bear in mind the factors that may influence the results.


The objective of this test is to monitor the strength of the athlete's upper body strength.

Required Resources

To undertake this test, you will require:

  • Universal overhead press station
  • Weighing Scales
  • A supportive lumbar lifting belt
  • Assistant

How to conduct the test

  • The assistant weighs and records the athlete's weight
  • The athlete warms up for 10 minutes
  • The assistant sets the initial resistance to 30% of male body mass and 20% of female body mass
  • The athlete fits a supportive lumbar lifting belt
  • The athlete stands and leans into the overhead press equipment with the back leg straight, the front knee bent at about 150 degrees and the hand grip shoulder width apart
  • The athlete lifts the weight ensuring that the body moves slightly forward so that on completion of the lift the extended arms, trunk and rear leg form a straight line
  • If the athlete successfully presses the weight, the assistant adds 5kg to the resistance; the athlete rests for one minute and then attempts to overhead press the new weight. Follow this process until the athlete is unable to press the weight.
  • The assistance records the weight and uses this value to assess the athlete's performance


I have been unable to locate any normative data for this test


Analysis of the test result is by comparing it with the athlete's previous results for this test. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete's upper body strength.

Target Group

This test is suitable for active athletes but not for individuals where the test would be contraindicated.


Test reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual's level of motivation to perform the test. The following link provides a variety of factors that may influence the results and therefore the test reliability.


Test validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made on the basis of test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete's physical development.


  • Minimal equipment required
  • Simple to set up and conduct


  • Specialist equipment required
  • Specific facilities required
  • Assistant required to administer the test

Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • TAYLOR, J. D. and FLETCHER, J. P. (2012) Reliability of the 8-repetition maximum test in men and women. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport15 (1), p. 69-73
  • VINCENT, K. R. et al. (2002) Resistance exercise and physical performance in adults aged 60 to 83. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society50 (6), p. 1100-1107
  • WILLARDSON, J. M. and BURKETT, L. N. (2006) The effect of rest interval length on bench press performance with heavy vs. light loads. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research20 (2), p. 396-399

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2005) Overhead Press Test [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: