How To Do Shoulder Press

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 The shoulder press is an excellent workout for increasing shoulder muscle and strength, as well as enhancing upper-body form in general. Having a pair of shoulders that are powerful and muscular might help you build an outstanding body.

We'll look at what muscles are involved, how to execute different variants, sets and reps, alternate workouts, and an innovative approach to improve performance in this post.

Shoulder Press Muscles Worked And How To Do A Shoulder Press

Have you used your shoulder press muscles?

In general, you will use primarily the deltoids to complete the shoulder press variants; however, the variation you pick will determine the degree to which certain muscles are engaged, as well as the total stimulus exerted on the body.

The primary muscles utilized to accomplish the exercise are listed below.

Delts are a type of delicacy (Deltoids)

The Deltoid muscles are a set of little triangular-shaped muscles that lay above the glenohumeral joint (shoulder) and give it its rounded form. The three muscles (anterior, lateral, and posterior) operate in a number of ways to move the arms.

The anterior (front) deltoid rotates the shoulder, resulting in forward flexion, commonly known as the ability to move the arm forward. This muscle serves to push your arms up above during a shoulder press.

The lateral (medial) deltoid, commonly known as shoulder abduction, moves the shoulder joint outward (sideways), moving the arm away from the body. Because the shoulder is exposed to the side rather than in front of the body during a dumbbell shoulder press, it is more active.

The posterior (rear) deltoid, sometimes known as the "rear delt," is in charge of shoulder extension and arm movement rearward and outwards. Because the arm and shoulder are pulled behind the body during pulling actions, the rear delt is more active.


The triceps is a big muscle on the back of the arm with three heads (medial, lateral, and long) that will all be employed during the shoulder push.

When continuous force production is necessary, this muscle functions to stretch the elbow joint while simultaneously stabilizing the shoulder joint.

Upper Chest Area (Pectoralis major)

'Pectus' is a Latin word that means 'breast.' The pecs, particularly the pec major, a fan-shaped muscle on the front of the chest, make up the majority of the chest's weight. The pec minor, which is located beneath the major and is considerably smaller, is also present.

The Pec major provides both adduction (bringing the arm closer to the body) and flexion (bringing the arm away from the body) of the arm via the clavicular head, which occurs during shoulder pushing actions. The pec minor helps to stabilize the shoulder against the ribs as well as rotate it internally.

The triceps is a big muscle on the back of the arm with three heads (medial, lateral, and long) that will all be employed during the shoulder push.

When continuous force production is necessary, this muscle functions to stretch the elbow joint while simultaneously stabilizing the shoulder joint.

snares (Trapezius)

The Trapezius muscle goes from the top of the neck to the mid-back and is a large, wide, superficial muscle.

The traps are engaged during functional pulling and pushing movements, but they also help to maintain posture. They act to stabilize/counterbalance body alignment and can be extremely prominent in shoulder mobility exercises.

To grow muscle and avoid injury, whether you use a barbell, dumbbells, or perform the exercise sitting or standing, it's critical to understand the action and the proper technique. During any overhead pressing movement, these are the three motions that occur.

Flexion of the shoulders

The anterior deltoids control this action, which is aided by the clavicular head of the pectoralis major, which lifts your upper arms overhead.

Extension of the elbow

Then comes elbow flexion, which involves using all three triceps heads to stretch the arm straight when pushing overhead.

Upward rotation of the scapula

Finally, the upper traps will be included into the rotation of the scapula (shoulder blade) to provide a base of support for holding the bar aloft.

These three actions are performed at the same time to lift the weight above, and they will primarily engage the shoulder muscles.

The three key shoulder pressing exercises to integrate into your training for maximum shoulder growth are listed below.

How to do the Barbell Overhead Press

The Overhead Press (OHP), sometimes known as the "Military Press," is our final and most sophisticated version. The OHP works the deltoids in the same way as the other shoulder pressing exercises, except it focuses more on the anterior delt.

This is because your elbows are more forward in front of your torso rather than out to the side like they are when doing dumbbell variations.

During the OHP, you must pay greater attention to the smaller aspects, such as your hand and elbow locations, as well as your spinal alignment.

Choose your weight and bar height.

In general, you should load the bar with heavy to moderate weight, with reps ranging from 5 to 10. Setting up the bar: the rack should be placed at armpit height.

How to do

  • In the rack, I'm standing near to the bar.
  • Your grasp should be somewhat broader than shoulder width.
  • Swing your elbows beneath the bar while bending your knees and hips slightly.
  • Take three steps back after standing up straight and unracking the bar.
  • Plant your feet shoulder width apart and slightly outside your shoulders with your elbows.

How to go about it

  • Set your elbows at a 45-degree angle, which is halfway between sticking them out to the side (cactus) and straight in front of you.
  • Flex and engage your glutes when the bar rests near your collarbone, ensuring that your spin remains neutral.
  • DO NOT UP AND FORWARD OR UP AND BACK while pressing the bar.
  • You'll need to gently lean your head back as you start the press to maintain the bar route straight.
  • Push your head forward into a neutral stance as you clean your face.
  • Squeeze your glutes while bracing your core.

Tucking your hips activates your glutes, reducing stress on your spine and letting you to lift the weight with more control and consistency throughout the session. It's critical to keep your pelvic "tucked" during the workout to keep the glues active.

Do you get shoulder ache when you lift?

Men's Health has an excellent article that delves into the topic.

Other dumbbell shoulder press variations, such as the "standing" or "sitting" dumbbell shoulder press, are suitable options, since integrating dumbbells will assist minimize muscular imbalances and test the muscle more, resulting in increased shoulder growth and strength.

What is the "Standing Shoulder Press" and how do you do it?

The standing shoulder press, like the OHP, demands you to activate your glutes in order to keep your spine neutral. Due to the lack of a barbell, the weights may be held further out to the side, putting extra strain on the lateral deltoids.

In fact, providing instability to the shoulder press by standing and using dumbbells appears to increase deltoid activation, according to one study.

The lateral deltoids become more active when you practice this shoulder press exercise upright, and you build greater strength and total shoulder growth as a result.

There's also no risk of the bar striking your face during the rep, which is a nice bonus.

Choose a weight.

Because you won't be able to lift as much as you can with the "sitting shoulder press," I recommend lowering the weight by 10% to 15%.

Stability of the core and lower body

All standing pressing actions require the core to be braced and the glutes to be engaged, and this one is no exception. Throughout this exercise, make sure your glutes are tight. If your lower back hurts, it's almost certainly because your glutes aren't engaged.

What is the "Seated Shoulder Press" and how do you do it?

Because you rely less on your smaller stabilising muscles while employing a back support like a bench to stabilize you, the seated form will allow you to lift bigger loads.

Choose a weight.

Choose a weight that will allow you to complete your program's repetitions and sets. If the weight is chosen correctly, it should feel comfortable at initially but quickly become difficult by halfway through the set.

Setup of the bench

To begin, ensure that the bench you select is adjustable so that you may sit practically vertically upright. Hold the dumbbells slightly over your shoulders, palms facing ahead, elbows out to the side, and bent at 90 degrees.

Maintain a back-and-down posture with your shoulder blades.

Extend through your elbows to push the dumbbells overhead while keeping the shoulder blades back and down and without leaning back or bending the spine, then control the weights back down to the start position.

Tension in the feet, spine, and core

Finally, attempt to press forward slightly with your feet to assist brace your pelvis into the bench and get greater stability. Maintain a small arch in your spine and keep your core tight throughout the workout.

You haven't been able to do an OHP yet?

Begin with the "sitting shoulder press," and if you're comfortable with it, go to the "standing shoulder press," focusing on activating the glutes and stabilizing the shoulder.

Begin with the weight of the bar alone. Because most Olympic bars are 20kg, you may only be able to complete 5 repetitions with that weight at first; this is OK. Rome was built over a lengthy period of time.

Reps and sets of shoulder press

This exercise should be loaded in the low to moderate rep range. That is, you want to lift a weight that feels heavy but isn't difficult to raise.

3-4 sets of 8-12 reps (90 percent effort) with a 60-90 second break for hypertrophy — if you can do 10+ reps for 4 sets, increase the load to make the activity more difficult.

For sturdiness

3 sets of 6-8 reps or 5 sets of 5 reps (90 percent effort) with 2–3 minutes rest between sets – 55 is a wonderful method to increase strength quickly with the OHP, and you'll find you can continuously add weight with this loading pattern.

Shoulder Press Muscles Worked And How To Do With 

Shoulder Press with Cables

You may begin with a cable shoulder press machine, which is a terrific alternative if you have difficulty pushing above.

This machine does away with the stabilization component and focuses solely on the anterior and lateral deltoid.

Push-ups for pike

Try the pike push-up if you truly want to improve your shoulder strength and are ready for a challenge. This exercise is excellent for strengthening and resiliency in the shoulders.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a challenging workout that puts a lot of strain on the shoulder. This exercise does need that you have adequate shoulder strength and control.

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