Shoulder press, or shoulder press as it is commonly known, is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening your shoulders and upper back. The gym enthusiasts especially add shoulder press in their workouts to condition their upper body.
If you too wish to have a sculpted upper body just like the bodybuilders, do give shoulder press a try. The shoulder press exercise can be done both at home or the gym since you only need dumbbells or barbells to perform this workout. However, since it is a comparatively difficult workout and requires proper technique, people often do it at the gym.
To help you kickstart your workout with shoulder press, we have gathered every important detail you need to know for acing it. In addition, learn about the different types of shoulder press and their variations along with their benefits.
Basic Facts of Shoulder Press
Before you learn the instructions, let’s learn a few facts about the shoulder press workout:
Other Names: It is also known as shoulder press. Based on the weights you use, this workout is also called dumbbell shoulder press and shoulder barbell press.
Equipment Needed: barbell or dumbbells and weight plates
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Body Parts Targeted: Shoulders, mid-back, upper back, and core muscles
How To Perform Shoulder Press Exercise?
Below is a step-by-step guide you can refer to for performing shoulder barbell press. If you wish to perform dumbbell shoulder press, follow the same instructions. Just replace the weights.
- Stand straight with your feet at least shoulder-width apart. Your body should be straight, and tight.
- Now, grab the barbell just above your upper chest. Your grip should also be around shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale deeply as you push the weight towards the ceiling. During this movement, make sure your wrists and elbows follow the straight path up and while coming down. Also, do not forget to engage your glutes and core muscles while pushing the weights up and down during a shoulder barbell press.
- To avoid any injury, slightly tilt your head back as the weights go up.
- Extend your elbows shoulder unless they are locked at the top.
- Pause for a second and then slowly bring the barbell down as you exhale.
- Repeat the steps for more reps and then carefully place the barbell on the power rack.
In case you are performing neutral shoulder press while seated, use a bench to sit straight. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and fixed on the floor. Now hold the barbell or dumbbells and then follow the same directions for up and down movement as mentioned above. The neutral shoulder press is great for targeting the anterior (Front) head of the deltoids.
Tips To Ace Shoulder Press At Gym
Whether you are doing a home workout or training at the gym, you should perform shoulder press using the correct technique to prevent excessive strain or any injury in the muscles. We have jotted down some tips and techniques from experts to help you with this. Read and follow:
- Your Grip Position: Make sure that you hold the bar at a distance no more than shoulder-wide. If your grip is either closer or too far away, you will feel weak and will not be able to lift the weights with stability.
- The Head Position: Your head should be straight but as you push the barbell upwards, you need to slightly tilt it backwards. This will prevent any injury to the chin or nose.
- The Chest Position: Your chest should be strong and straight. Avoid shrugging or loosening it. This is essential for a smooth and functional shoulder press.
- Wrists’ Mobility: Whether you are doing barbell or shoulder dumbbell press, it is essential to have mobile wrists. This will help in initiating the strong press and also avoid injury.
To learn more about the form and the technique of shoulder press workout, seek guidance from your gym instructor. They can also suggest you the best weights to use as per your body and requirements.
Variations of Shoulder Press
Shoulder press is the foundational version of various other upper chest workouts. You can bring a new twist and try different types of shoulder press by changing weights or changing your body’s position. Some of the advanced and even more challenging variations are as follows:
- Military Shoulder Press: Military shoulder press is quite similar to the shoulder press. It is, however, a bit difficult as you have to keep your feet together when pushing the weights up and down.
- Push Press: For this variation, you just need to do a quarter squat as you push the weights back up. The squatting momentum increases the thrust and requires more effort. It also targets your glutes and core muscles.
- Arnold Shoulder Press: Created by the famous bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, this workout focuses on the three muscle heads in shoulders: the posterior, lateral, and anterior deltoids. The main difference between the basic shoulder press and Arnold Shoulder Press is that you have to twist your wrists to rotate the weight 108-degrees in such a way that your palms will be facing away from the body as they go up.
- Thruster: Take the push press another level up by trying a thruster. In this variation, you need to do a full squat before pushing the weights overhead. You can include it in your whole body workout.
Some other variations include:
- Single-arm dumbbell shoulder press
- Seater shoulder press
- Landmine press
- Kettlebell press
Shoulder Press Benefits
Some of the most effective and popular shoulder press benefits are:
- It engages the core muscles and boosts core strength.
- As an upper body workout, shoulder press also tones and increases your shoulder muscles by impacting your deltoids.
- By developing your upper body strength, shoulder press also increases your natural power capacity. This further helps in improving your performance in workouts such as shoulder squats, Olympic lifts, and shoulder carriers.
- It also boosts your performance in sports activities like swimming, tennis, baseball, hockey, etc.
- You can also lift heavier objects with ease and also reduce your chances of injuries.