Find out how to Do the Barbell Shoulder Press


Additionally Recognized As: Overhead press, navy press, strict press

Targets: Shoulders (deltoids, traps), higher again, mid-back, core

Tools Wanted: Barbell and plates

Stage: Newbie

Generally, primary is finest. You don’t want an extreme quantity of selection to achieve energy: Whereas single-joint actions utilizing machines or resistance bands will be enjoyable and useful, the essential compound weightlifting actions can (and will, for probably the most half) spearhead your strength-gaining journey. 

The barbell shoulder press is one such primary, compound motion that improves energy, mobility, stability and extra—and it targets rather more than your shoulders, opposite to what most would possibly assume. You may incorporate this train into strength-training exercises, bodybuilding exercises, and even high-intensity interval coaching (HIIT) exercises.

To get began, find out about the advantages of the barbell shoulder press, the best way to carry out it, and customary errors to keep away from, in addition to variations of this do-it-all train. 


The barbell shoulder press is a kind of nice workouts that provides extra advantages than meet the attention: Most individuals instantly consider the barbell shoulder press when contemplating the best way to construct energy within the shoulders, however there’s rather more to this transfer than shoulder energy. Right here’s what you’ll reap whenever you add the barbell shoulder press to your health routine. 

Shoulder Power

Let’s get the apparent out of the best way first: Barbell shoulder presses will improve your shoulder energy. This transfer requires you to interact your deltoids and trapezius muscle mass, together with the entire smaller, deeper muscle mass that make up your shoulders. Past your shoulders, you’ll additionally interact your again, bicep and tricep muscle mass for total higher physique energy.

Core Stability

One very ignored advantage of the barbell shoulder press is its capacity to drive core energy upon you. After we say “drive,” we imply it; you’ll be able to’t accurately press a barbell overhead with out participating your core.

You’ll end up squeezing your abs, particularly as soon as the burden will get heavy, and also you’ll learn to hold your core tight and tucked in—in order that it protects your backbone—even beneath stress and rigidity.

Improved Posture

As a result of the barbell shoulder press strengthens your higher physique and core, the advantages switch to on a regular basis life. Stronger muscle mass can enhance your posture.

Once you begin performing barbell shoulder presses often, you might end up sitting up straighter at your desk, together with your shoulders pulled again and backbone tall. Improved posture can even translate to decreased aches and pains, particularly within the again and neck.

Thoughts-Muscle Connection

Like talked about earlier than, shoulder energy is the very first thing to come back to thoughts when fascinated by the barbell shoulder press. Nonetheless, this train additionally makes use of your again, arms, glutes, and core.

The barbell shoulder press can educate you the best way to interact secondary muscle mass throughout a elevate, which is able to assist together with your method and ultimately aid you elevate extra weight. This mind-muscle connection ability additionally interprets to different workouts, so don’t be stunned subsequent time you’re doing bicep curls and end up fascinated by your glutes.

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Place the barbell in a barbell rack at an acceptable peak. Once you stroll as much as the barbell, it must be in entrance of your shoulders—you need to have the ability to take it off of the rack with out standing in your tip-toes or bending down too low. 
  2. Begin by standing together with your ft about shoulder-width aside. Your hips must be absolutely prolonged, as ought to your knees, however watch out to not lock your knees. Maintain the barbell in a front-rack place (resting on the entrance of your shoulders), together with your elbows pointing ahead. 
  3. Breathe, tighten your core, and press the barbell overhead. Press till your arms are absolutely locked out. Press your head by the “window” made by your arms. 
  4. Have interaction your again muscle mass and with management, decrease the barbell again to the entrance rack place. 
  5. Repeat for eight to 10 reps. If you want to make an adjustment, place the barbell again on the rack. 

Widespread Errors

Seemingly easy, the barbell shoulder press is definitely vulnerable to a number of errors. Hold these frequent errors in thoughts whereas doing barbell shoulder presses, and ask a coach or coach for assist if you happen to assume you’re making a mistake.

Incomplete Lock-Out

An incomplete lock-out is a standard mistake on all overhead workouts—because of this you don’t absolutely lengthen your elbows within the overhead place, as a substitute returning to the beginning place earlier than the elevate is full. Until you’ve got an harm that forestalls you from reaching the total vary of movement, you’ll solely get the total advantage of barbell shoulder presses if you happen to absolutely lock out your arms. 

Lack of Core Engagement

Lack of core engagement could be very obvious within the barbell shoulder press. The best solution to inform if somebody isn’t participating their core? Take a look at their decrease again. In case your decrease again is arching extensively throughout barbell shoulder presses, you aren’t participating your core. This will result in ache and harm, so remember to tighten your core muscle mass. Consider making your complete stomach one sturdy, secure cylinder that protects your backbone and prevents it from transferring an excessive amount of in a single path.

Urgent Outward

Your barbell ought to journey overhead in a straight line. Many exercisers make the error of pushing the barbell out in entrance of their physique, making a kind of arc to the overhead place. Not solely does this put your physique ready vulnerable to harm, but it surely additionally makes the elevate harder, which might have an effect on the quantity of weight you elevate.

Push-Urgent As an alternative of Strict Urgent

In the event you’re utilizing your legs to drive the barbell upward, you’re doing a push press as a substitute of a strict press. Utilizing your legs may help you press extra weight overhead, however that’s not the objective of the strict, or conventional—barbell shoulder press.

Modifications and Variations

The shoulder press is a kind of workouts with countless variations. With some tweaking, you may make the barbell shoulder press a lot simpler or a lot more durable, relying in your health stage and any limitations you might have. 

Want a Modification?

No worries if you happen to can’t do the barbell shoulder press, whether or not you’re not prepared for it or as a result of you’ve got limitations from an harm. Strive considered one of these modifications, however remember to discuss to a coach or private coach if you happen to’re not sure of what you need to do. 

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Utilizing dumbbells instead of a barbell is a good coaching choice for many who can’t but elevate the burden of the barbell (normally 45 kilos in most gyms) or who really feel ache of their shoulders when urgent upward with the barbell.

Find out how to Do a Dumbbell Overhead Press: Methods, Advantages, Variations

Single-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press

If two dumbbells nonetheless aren’t working for you—which would be the case for folks with restricted backbone mobility or a neck harm—attempt utilizing one dumbbell as a substitute. Observe the identical steps as you’ll with two dumbbells, besides solely press with one arm at a time. You should definitely discuss to your physician or bodily therapist if any variation of the shoulder press is hurting you. 

Landmine Press

The landmine press is a implausible modification for individuals who can’t press immediately upward as a result of harm. This model of the barbell shoulder press positions your physique differently, taking a lot of the stress away from delicate shoulder buildings. Right here’s the best way to do it: 

  1. Arrange your barbell in order that it’s at an angle and safe—most gyms have a tube to slip the barbell in particularly designed for landmine urgent. In the event you don’t have that tube, merely wedge one finish of the barbell in a nook the place two partitions meet. 
  2. Stand in entrance of the opposite finish of the barbell together with your ft about shoulder-width aside. Maintain the barbell with two fingers in order that it hovers in entrance of your chest. Your palms ought to face upward. 
  3. Press the barbell up and out—you need to be urgent at an angle, indirectly overhead. 
  4. Decrease the barbell again to chest peak and repeat. You too can do that transfer in a kneeling place.

Up for a Problem?

In the event you’ve mastered the barbell shoulder press and are on the hunt for some new shoulder-focused strikes so as to add to your health routine, check out considered one of these shoulder press variations to problem your stability, velocity, agility, and energy, in addition to your capacity to breathe beneath rigidity.

Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press

This shoulder press variation will significantly take a look at your core stability and backbone mobility. Strive it out and see if you happen to can hold your core tucked in and tight:

  1. Sit on a ground mat together with your legs prolonged in entrance of you, ft collectively. The dumbbells must be on the ground subsequent to you the place you’ll be able to simply seize them.
  2. Decide up the dumbbells with a full grip. Maintain them within the front-rack place. 
  3. Take a breath, interact your core, and press as much as full extension overhead—don’t arch your again or go gentle within the stomach. Your legs and ft ought to stay firmly in touch with the bottom.
  4. With management, decrease the dumbbells again to the front-rack place. Full eight to 10 reps, then relaxation.

Push Press

In the event you’re severe about lifting extra weight overhead, you’ll need to make the most of your decrease physique. Utilizing your hips to create momentum will help you drive rather more weight overhead.

Good Push Press Approach and Ideas

Push Jerk or Break up Jerk

The push jerk and break up jerk are two variations of the shoulder press much more highly effective than the push press. Generally seen in CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting packages, the push jerk and break up jerk contain a giant hip extension similar to the push press, but in addition embrace a secondary “dip” during which you obtain the barbell. Generally known as “dropping beneath the bar,” this maneuver permits you to catch heavy weight in a secure place and stand as much as full extension to finish the elevate.

Clear and Press

Couple the barbell shoulder press with an influence clear to essentially amp up your energy coaching. This transfer improves your energy, velocity, coordination, and energy all on the similar time.

Add Energy to Your Exercise With the Clear and Press

Kettlebell Press

In the event you’re all for bettering your stability, merely swap your barbell for a pair of kettlebells. Begin gentle, and slowly improve the burden as you get the hold of this motion.

  1. Begin with two kettlebells within the entrance rack place. Make certain the kettlebell is resting on each your higher arm and forearm, and your elbows level ahead (not out to the edges).
  2. Take a breath, interact your core and press each kettlebells overhead. Make certain to maintain your arms near your head as in case you are brushing your ear together with your bicep.

Security and Precautions

Adequately Heat Up Your Shoulders

Earlier than any train, you need to take the time to heat up. Warming up helps to organize your physique for train by rising blood move to your muscle mass, lubricating and loosening your joints, rising your core temperature and coronary heart charge, and dilating your blood vessels. To heat up your shoulders, do some dynamic shoulder stretches and apply urgent with gentle to reasonable weights. 

Follow Core Engagement

Along with your shoulder warm-up, apply participating your core earlier than getting beneath the barbell. To apply, attempt doing 5 to 10 repetitions of this train: 

  1. Lie in your again on the ground. Fill your stomach with a giant breath. 
  2. Tighten your belly muscle mass like you’re “zipping up” your abs, pulling them upward and towards your backbone. Your decrease again must be urgent into the bottom. 
  3. Proceed to breathe, permitting solely your rib cage to maneuver. Your stomach ought to stay full and tight with that preliminary huge breath. Take three to 5 breaths on this place. 
  4. Exhale. That’s one rep. 

Have a Spotter

In the event you’re lifting heavy, have a spotter or two accessible to assist simply in case you’ll be able to’t full a elevate. In the event you don’t have a spotter accessible, be sure to know the best way to safely return the barbell:

  1. Don’t throw or drop the barbell. Decrease it from overhead to the entrance rack place.
  2. Because the barbell is reducing, soften your knees and dip (however don’t lean ahead) to alleviate a few of the impression of catching the barbell.
  3. Arise absolutely and return the barbell to the rack.

Strive It Out

Prepared to begin shoulder urgent? Incorporate this transfer and related ones into considered one of these standard exercises.

  • Shoulder Workouts for Power and Flexibility
  • Again and Shoulder Workouts for Power Conditioning
  • Higher Physique Exercise for Chest, Again, Shoulders, and Arms
  • Superior Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps Exercise
  • Enjoyable and Artistic Chest, Shoulders, and Arms Exercise
  • Higher Physique Workouts for Runners

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