Perfect the shoulder press


Add size and strength to your shoulders with this must-do exercise.

Shoulder press
3 Mar 2015
  • Stand with your body upright and core muscles braced, looking straight ahead.
  • Hold the bar on your upper chest, gripping it with hands just wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Press the bar directly overhead.
  • Don't tilt your hips forward during the move.

3 essential shoulder press tips 

1. Don't arch your back too much 

When bench pressing it's good to have a slight arch in your back, but a notable back arch when performing a standing shoulder press isn't advisable. The full force of the weight is coming down on your spine as you lower the barbell, so an overarched spine can cause bad back pain. Try to keep your core solid and your back straight thougout the move to avoid injury. 

2. Use the full range of motion 

Make sure that you employ the full range of motion when performing the shoulder press. Bring the bar all the way down to your torso on each of the reps so that you really hit your deltoids. Lower the bar to around eye level, then return to the finishing position to make the move a bit easier while loading your tricpes a bit more than your shoulders. This added range of motion will help to increase the time you spend under tension as each rep will take around twice as long, adding to the release of more hormones that are important for burning fat and building muscle. 

3. Don't press in front of your body 

The press is a vertical push loaded over the spine. A slight shift in position that moves the bar away from alignment directly over the spine creates unwanted shearing forces on the back and shoulders. When you press, finish with the bar directly above your neck, looking through "the window” that you’ve created with your arms up.

This content is from the experts at Men's Fitness magazine.

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