What is the front press?

A front press is a callisthenic exercise that targets your shoulders. It is traditionally performed using a barbell and is referred to as the barbell shoulder press, barbell front press or the BB front press. In place of a barbell, you can also use a pair of dumbbells or a weight machine for resistance. 

The barbell front press targets your middle and anterior deltoids that are located on the front and top of your shoulders. The BB front press exercise can be done standing or while sitting.

How is the front press done?

Just like any weighted exercise, the barbell press front also needs precision and proper form to avoid injuries and muscle strain.

Here is a detailed step-by-step explanation of the shoulder barbell front press exercise:

  1. To begin the shoulder barbell front press, place the barbell on the rack in your front. 
  1. Now, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and fully extend your knees and hips. Ensure that your knees are not locked.
  1. Grab the barbell with your elbows pointing forward. Your hands must be shoulder-width apart.
  1. Engage and tighten your core and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Exhale deeply and press the barbell over your head.
  1. Continue raising the barbell till your arms are locked out straight. 
  1. Pause for a couple of seconds at the top of the movement.
  1. Engage your back muscles and return the barbell to the starting position.
  1. This is one repetition of the standing barbell front press.

Sets and reps of standing barbell front press: You can start with 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps. Gradually build on these as you gain practice.

What are the different variations of the front press?

The barbell front shoulder press exercise has several variations that add stimulus and variety to your workout. 

Here are some of the most-effective variations to try:

  1. Front dumbbell press: As the name suggests, the front dumbbell press, also known as DB front press, is done using a pair of dumbbells instead of a bar with the rest of the movements remaining the same as in the standard front press exercise. This is a great way to work both sides of the body equally and to balance any postural imperfections. DB front press is beneficial for people who suffer from weak joints. 
  1. Seated barbell front press: As the name suggests, the seated barbell front press is done while sitting on a flat bench. The seated front press is an effective exercise for building your shoulder strength and muscles. To do this exercise, you need to adjust the bar to just below the height of your shoulders. The remaining steps of the seated front press remain the same as in the traditional exercise.
  1. Front military press: In this variation, you need to bring your feet closer to each other to resemble a soldier standing in attention. The front military press is an effective exercise to work your glutes and core, much more than the standard exercise. 

What are the benefits of the front press?

The front barbell shoulder press exercise has immense benefits for your overall health and fitness. Here are some good reasons to include this exercise in your workout routine:

  1. The front shoulder press exercise is a great way to recruit and strengthen a variety of muscles. These muscles include your trapezius, deltoids, triceps, biceps, core, and back. 
  1. This is an excellent exercise to build overall body strength and stability.
  1. This is the preferred exercise for people who want aesthetically bigger and well-defined shoulders. 
  1. One of the most important benefits of barbell press front is that since it involves overhead movements, it improves your sports performance. These include football, basketball, tennis, etc. 
  1. The barbell front press enhances your flexibility and agility. This makes doing daily activities easier and enhances your quality of life.
  1. This is one of the best barbell exercises to strengthen your core. This leads to improved coordination and prevention of injuries. 
  1. Since your core gets worked in this exercise, it prevents postural problems. This is also a great exercise to cure lower back and neck pain, stiffness, and tension.
  1. Front shoulder press is an effective exercise to improve your circulation. An improved circulation keeps you healthier and enhances your immunity to prevent diseases and infections. 
  1. Better circulation keeps your brain healthy and improves your focus, memory, and concentration. This also prevents the risk of age-related neurodegenerative disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  1. This exercise can be done with a minimal setup of just a barbell and some space. This makes it a great addition to your home workouts.

How to do the front press safely?

Since it is a weighted exercise, you need to do the front press exercise with the correct form and technique.

Here are some safety tips to prevent injuries while doing this exercise:

  1. Make sure that your grip is no more than shoulder-width apart. The farther your grip, the lesser weight you will be able to lift.
  1. Keep your wrists and elbows mobile and not rigid. This helps in better mobility during the movements.
  1. Keep your shoulders engaged throughout the movement, especially at the start of each rep.
  1. To maintain a stable and neutral back during the movements, keep your chest up. 
  1. If you suffer from any pre-existing medical conditions, never do this exercise without talking to your doctor.
  1. Don’t start with heavier weights at the outset. Start with light weights and build your practice. 
  1. Don’t make sudden movements. Keep your movements as stable and smooth as you can.
  1. If you feel pain or dizziness anytime while doing the front barbell shoulder press, stop exercising immediately.


When done correctly and consistently, the front press is an amazing exercise to build overall body strength. Remember to modify this exercise according to your age, health, and flexibility levels. To gain the benefits of the front press, always include a warm-up session and stay hydrated while working out. 

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May 17, 2022

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