Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Traps, Triceps
Target Muscle Group


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Standing Bradford Press (Rocky Press) Overview

The Bradford press is a variation of the overhead press and an exercise used to build shoulder strength and muscle.

The exercise is a combination exercise that combines a traditional shoulder press with a behind the neck press. It also uses a partial range of motion to keep constant tension on the shoulders throughout the set.

Behind the neck press variations are often seen as a dated practice since they can put the shoulder in a compromised position, increasing the risk of injury.

If you do not have a fair amount of shoulder mobility, it is not recommended to perform this variation. And even if you do, depending on your reasoning behind the use of this exercise, there may be better variations available for you to use.

Standing Bradford Press (Rocky Press) Instructions

  1. Adjust the barbell to just below shoulder height then load the desired weight onto the bar.
  2. Assume a shoulder width stance and place your hands at (or just outside of) shoulder width with a pronated grip on the bar.
  3. Step underneath the bar and unrack it while keeping the spine in a neutral position.
  4. Take two steps back, inhale, brace, tuck the chin, and press the bar three quarters of the way to lockout.
  5. Allow the bar to come back down behind the neck, then press three quarters of the way to lockout.
  6. Repeat this cyclical process for the desired number of repetitions.

Standing Bradford Press (Rocky Press) Tips

  1. Reach tall at the top and don’t worry about keeping the shoulders packed down and back.
  2. Fight to control the bar from rolling your wrists into extension and think about “rolling your knuckles toward the ceiling.”
  3. Keep momentum out of the movement and don’t add any additional leg drive by flexing and extending the knees.
  4. Squeeze your glutes and brace your abs as you press. You shouldn’t be leaning back excessively as you press.
  5. Imagine you’re trying to look out a window at the top, your ears should be in line with your biceps.
  6. If your shoulders are bothering you during the movement, consider experimenting with a wider grip or utilizing some of the vertical pressing progressions listed on the site.
  7. You can use a staggered stance to prevent the lower back from arching excessively but if you still can’t control the anterior core then consider using a half kneeling regression shown on the site.