There was a time when the military press was one of the most popular workouts you would find in gyms. Nowadays, it is becoming quite rare. While the reasons behind it can vary, one that we believe has a big role to play is that it is quite a difficult task to do a military press exercise perfectly. 

The workout requires a lot of effort, strength, and practice that is seen only in professional athletes or bodybuilders. But if you can ace a military press workout, you can develop almost every major muscle group in your body. From your shoulders and upper chest to triceps and core muscles, a military press workout covers it all. In fact, it also develops your glutes and lats. 

If you have been planning to perfect military press but don’t know where to begin, this article can be your quick guide. We have gathered essential information on not just how to perform military press exercise but also some tips on perfecting them. The article also contains some FAQs to clear any other doubt that you might have regarding the military press. So, make sure you read it till the end: 

How To Perform Military Press

Let’s begin with learning the instructions to perform military press. Now, the exercise may be hard but you can perform it even at home since you only need a barbell to perform it. If you don’t want to perform barbell military press, you can change the weights and try dumbbell military press. 

For now, we are discussing how to perform the barbell military press. Here is a step-by-step guide. 

  1. First, set up the barbell in the squat rack at about shoulder height. If you are doing a home workout, then place the barbell on the ground and bend to hold it up. 
  2. Grab the bar with both hands with palms down. The distance between both hands should be shoulder-wide. 
  3. As for the feet, they should also be close just like a soldier. You can also draw a straight line to ensure your feet are in the right position. The line should go through the middle of your foot. 
  4. Slowly, bring the bar to the chest so that it touches the base of your throat and rests on your shoulder. Engage your core and glutes and take a deep breath as you push the bar upwards. Shift your head back slightly to allow the bar to go up straight. 
  5. Force your torso under the bar once it clears the top of your head and continues to push it upwards. 
  6. Reverse the motion to return the barbell back to the chest. 
  7. This is one rep. Repeat.

Tips To Perfect A Military Press

The guide looks quite simple but the real trouble lies in perfecting the form of military press. When you are doing standing military press, if your form and technique are not right, you may end up injuring yourself. So, here are some tips, straight from experts, that will help you in performing military press the right way: 

  • Tighten your glutes and abs: When you are performing¬†dumbbell military press, make sure you tighten your glutes and abs as this reduces the chances of lower back and neck injuries.¬†
  • Keep your head straight: This sounds simple but keeping both your head and neck straight also prevents you from injury.¬†
  • Proper Breathing: Exhale when you push the barbell or dumbbells upwards and inhale when you pull it towards your body. Proper breathing improves blood circulation and also enhances your overall performance.¬†
  • Lift light weights if your back is rounding. If you are having trouble keeping your back or torse straight due to the heavy weight, you are advised to reduce it. Too much stress can also lead to injury and bad form.¬†
  • The grip tip:¬†If you are performing¬†barbell military press, place your grip just more than shoulder-width apart so that you can lock your arms out comfortably. If you grab them wider than that, you‚Äôll lose drive.
  • The elbow position:¬†Make sure that your elbow stays vertically in line with your ears and don‚Äôt move forward or backward.¬†

Try these tips and we are sure you will be able to perform military press perfectly. We would also suggest you learn it from a professional to leave no stone unturned during the practice. Nowadays, you can also learn military press online and perform it at home. They can also teach you different variations such as front military press, or suitcase press. 


  1. What are some variations of the military press?

Apart from changing the weights, you can also change the style of standing military press exercise. Here are some variations you would love to try: 

  • Front military press
  • Seated military press
  • Suitcase press

      2. What is the difference between military press and overhead press?

The main difference between the military press and the overhead press is the distance between the feet. In military press, you have to bring your feet closer like a soldier standing at attention. In the case of the overhead press, your feet should be shoulder-width apart. This gives a much more stable platform for the exercise. This is also why the overhead press is easier than the military press. 

Another difference is that overhead press is done standing while you can do both standing and seated military press. 

       3.What are some benefits of the military press?

Military press is difficult to perform but the effect it has on your body makes it worth the pain. Here are some of the best benefits of military press you should know: 

  • Military press¬†increases the strength and size of shoulder, back, and neck muscles.¬†
  • It also engages your core, glutes, and lats.¬†
  • You can also improve your body posture and body coordination by regularly performing military press.¬†
  • Military press¬†is also recommended to people or athletes to build a strong and stable core.¬†
  • Strong muscles developed due to military press also provide the foundation to other movements such as front squatting, Olympic lifting variations, and bench pressing that are helpful for sportspersons and athletics.¬†

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December 21, 2021

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