Shoulder press is one of the most important basic exercises and forms the optical basis for a broad appearance. A broad cross and strong, round shoulder heads make a body look agile and impressive.
Since the shoulder joint is a relatively complicated construct consisting of a so-called rotator cuff and three heads of the delta muscle, there are several exercises to bring this area of the body up to date.
However, most of the exercises should be included rather supportive in the training program to compensate for muscular imbalances, to serve the health of the joint or to tickle out the final visual touch. But shoulder press is a must-have for a well-balanced development of the deltoid muscle.
Here, heavy, heavy loads are carried not only by the front head of the delta, but also by the lateral part of the shoulders and by some synergists such as the triceps.
At this point, however, we want to clean up with a rumor that is extremely persistent: no form of shoulder pushing trained the back of the shoulder; the one categorically excludes the other.
Today we look at the following variations of shoulder press and will go through the technique step by step:
- Shoulder press in front of the head (front press)
- Shoulder Pressing Standing (Military Press)
- Shoulder press behind the head (neck press)
- Shoulder Pressing with the Dumbbell
Shoulder press in front of the head – front press
Shoulder presses before the head (also called front press) is the safest and most uncomplicated variant of this exercise. Here only the barbell or the bar is left in front of the face and not behind the head down.
In this position, the shoulder joint is much more stable, and a little more weight can be moved overall. For safety reasons, if you are in doubt, pressing the front of the machine is preferable to other types of shoulder pushing.
Of course, exchanging the exercises from time to time is not wrong, but priority should always be given to front press.
- The exercise is done sitting down! It can be done either in the multipress or in the power rack. The backrest is not set up fully vertically, but slightly tilted backwards. The lower the inclination, the more heavily the chest muscles are loaded.
- The feet are about shoulder width apart stable on the ground.
- In the multi-press the bar is locked in the starting position. The bar is held in a slightly wider than shoulder-wide handle and unlocked by a short rotation of the wrists and then lowered by a controlled movement down.
- Once the bar is at chin level, the negative phase is stopped and the weight is pushed up again.
- In the Power rack you start with the positive phase, i.e. the rod is in the starting position at chin height. First press the bar vertically upwards and adjust it slightly backwards while pushing, so that the bar is directly above your head in the full arm extension.
- A hollow cross is to be avoided! From 60-70 kg training weight will thank you for your whirling! Use a weight-lifting belt or support your feet on a low training bench.
- The pole moves as close to your face as possible! The further the pole is away from your face, the higher the risk of injury to the shoulder!
Standing shoulder press – Military Press
The standing shoulder press (also called military press) is an exercise that is almost identical to the front press to the last detail: The exercise is done standing, not sitting down.
This result in some challenges for the trainees: Multipress cannot be used! Free weights or a commercial barbell are the means of choice. The fact that the back is supported by no Multibank, the risk of injury to the back is greater.
If you have stability problems in the back muscles, you better avoid this exercise! Even for beginners shoulder presses while standing unsuitable because the coordinative conditions are not yet given.
- The technique is identical to the front press, but the shoulder press is done while standing.
- The barbell is either transposed (i.e. the dumbbell is transported from the ground with a combination of deadlift and vertical rowing with a slight jerk up to shoulder height) or with the help of a power racks to the appropriate height!
- The stand is more like a slight lunge (feet still shoulder width apart) to provide the necessary balance.
Shoulder press behind the head – neck press
Pushing the shoulder behind the head (also called nape pressing) is a very old version of the push of the shoulder, which already has its most popular times long behind. The procedure is very similar to that of the front pushing, but here the rod is lowered not in front of the face, but behind the head.
The problem: When pressing the shoulder behind the head, the shoulder joint is at the lowest point in a very unnatural and weak position. The risk of injury is much higher!
Effectively, this version of the shoulder pushing differs only marginally from the front press, only the lateral delta head gets a little more of the load.
- The technique is identical to the front press, but the shoulder press is behind the head.
- The backrest is adjusted vertically.
- The feet are placed on a low bench or stepper for safety, to provide the necessary stability.
- The barbell bar is lowered behind the head approximately at the level of the nose. The lower, the higher the risk of injury to the shoulder!
Shoulder press with the dumbbell
Shoulder press with the dumbbell is probably the most gentle way of shoulder pushing and at the same time very effective to stimulate both the front and the side delta head.
The only drawback to the exercise is the implementation of dumbbells. If these are not dumbbells with ball bearings, i.e. if the handles are rigid and cannot be turned, this may strain the wrists.
Furthermore, it is almost impossible with appropriate weight, the dumbbells to move on their own in the starting position. Help is provided by the training partner, who gives you at least one dumbbell.
- The starting position for shoulder pressing with dumbbells is identical to pressing on the front while seated.
- Both dumbbells rest on the thighs in a vertical position.
- With a jerk, one of the two dumbbells is now carried up to the level of the ears, with the other dumbbell is moved in the same way
- Both dumbbells are now pressed vertically upwards and touch lightly at the top point with the insides
- Then the dumbbells are lowered again at the level of the ears
- Immediately after the last repetition, when the state of fatigue is greatest, the dumbbells on the left and right of the body are lowered to the floor (whose studio leader is tolerant enough, the dumbbells can also drop)
- The dumbbells are not (!) Lowered again on the thighs – heavy bruises, bruising, internal bleeding with threatening amputation sequence (no joke) is not uncommon!
No matter which form of shoulder pushing you decide on, always remember to progressively increase weights, train safely and neatly, and always consume enough calories and protein. The reward after a few years of hard training is broad shoulders and a great V-shape!
Mistakes to avoid
- Do not lift the projectile along a “diagonal” path. The bar must be directed vertically upwards, only in this case the target muscles receive a sufficient amount of workload.
- Do not neglect the heating. The military press is classified as highly dangerous movements, since the press has to do with the joints of the elbow and the shoulder. Performing a series of “warming” movements will help prepare the locomotor apparatus for loading and achieve the necessary mobility of the joint joints.
- Do not pull at the time of applying a military press bench effort. In the logic of technical recommendations, all movements must be carried out smoothly and under control.
- Do not move the box backwards; this is associated with a risk of injury to the lumbar spine. The reason for the “fracture” in the back is the use of weights that do not correspond to the level of physical fitness: pick up a military press load seated with a suitable bar that allows the movement to be carried out in an absolutely technical manner.
- Do not put one foot in front of the other – which unbalances the load on the spine.
- It is recommended to beginners to perform an exercise in a safety frame and the use of a power belt that will reduce the pressure on the abdominal walls and lower back.
- For the primary formation of a dynamic stereotype, that is, a technically correct movement skill, it is recommended that an aspiring athlete perform an exercise with minimum loads, with an empty neck.
- Since exercise is considered complex, do not exaggerate with its use: let the working muscles recover fully and balance the presses with alternative development movements for the shoulders.
- Strive to find the optimum width of the grip: too narrow military press – it attracts triceps to work, wide – reduces the amplitude of the movement.
- The military press can be classified according to the “position” position of the case: the classical standing variant and the sitting version are distinguished. Although for some athletes, the “sit” position is more convenient due to its stability and safety, which makes the movement of traffic from the standing position not effectively effective.
- The traditional version of the bench is more effective military press sitting with bar both in terms of the increase in shoulder volume, and the development of its power capacity. While doing press press it acquires an “isolating” character and forces it to “yield” on the balance.
- An alternative to classic exercise can also serve as a biomechanical bench press in Smith’s automobile. This option is more preferable for the beginner, since the simulator strictly specifies the trajectory of movement and limits the possibilities of technically committing “wrong maneuvers”.
How to increase the effectiveness of the exercise
Optimal kickback effect gives the army’s performance total amplitude benching, that is, the movement of the “swing” comes from the chest at the lowest point of the full hand extension with the projectile at the top.
How to adjust the focus of the load
A bar foot with a chest can be made in two technical variations: from the chest or from behind the head. The difference in kinesiology allows you to load the muscle that works from different angles. In particular, the load in the vertical press focuses on the front and middle beams of deltas, with emphasis on the first.
Performing press from behind the head reduces the range of movement and allows greater use of the rear head. It is worth noting that the position of the forearms military press in this case is less physiological, which significantly limits the work with the weight.
However, by combining these two types of movements, you can achieve a harmonious deltoid proportionality.
Nuances of compliance
- Raising the bar upwards does not allow the use of critical weights. The priority must be the exact observance of the nuances of the subject that is not possible when it comes to significant weights – in this case, the athlete unknowingly, cheating, reducing the load in the target area and transferring it to the upper part of the pectoral muscles.
- The width of the grip is a military individual parameter that will equal the athlete in relation to the “comfort” anthropometric. However, the optimal position is the initial position, in which the forearms are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor.
- When lowering the bar towards the chest, gently flatten the “projectile reception” with the feet, bending them in the knee joint.
Shoulder press exercise
In the first variant, the athlete is in the starting position with slightly bent legs in a small step position and keeps the dumbbells at shoulder level.
The lowest position is also the starting position of the movement; the dumbbell touches the shoulders or almost approaches. The use of a backrest in the second variant is a matter of taste, as well as the exact setting when using this.
- From the starting position in the lowest position, the dumbbells are now led upwards. Almost automatically this movement ends in that the two dumbbells come closer with increasing height.
- A clash, especially a deliberate, is completely unnecessary and on the contrary rather unfavorable for the joints and also for the material that is just then over the head of the athlete.
- The turning point can therefore be introduced with a clear conscience even before the clashes of dumbbells.
- As well as the upward phase, of course, the downward phase is controlled until the dumbbells are again at shoulder level, from where the next repetition is initiated.
Muscles involved in this training
- Trapezius pars descendens muscle (upper part of the trapezius muscle)
- Levator scapulae (scapula)
- Musculature anterior (anterior sawing muscle)
- Deltoid muscle pars clavicularis (anterior part of the deltoid muscle)
- Muscle triceps brachii (three-headed arm stretcher)
Shoulder presses can be executed in a variety of variations.
- Sitting and standing, the barbell can be used for shoulder presses.
- Likewise, shoulder presses in the machine or as a similarly guided movement in the multipress can be completed.
- With the barbell you have the choice to do the exercise in front of or behind the head, but a difference in the muscle load does not make it.
Useful combination exercises
- Lateral Raises
- Upright rowing
- Front Raise
Shoulder press with barbell or dumbbell?
Many strength athletes also ask themselves the question, which makes more sense. Shoulder press with barbell or shoulder press with dumbbell.
The advantages of shoulder pressing with barbell are, for example:
- You can hang up more weight
- The exercise with barbell is more stable
The advantages of shoulder pressing with dumbbell include:
- Greater range of movement
- More natural movement (straight up)
- Different variants like Arnold Press possible
So much for the basic exercise of shoulder pressing. In the next article on basic practice we discuss the last of the 5 basic exercises, the pull-up.
Have fun and success in training!