How To Barbell Shoulder Press

The barbell shoulder press is probably the most effective exercise you can perform for your shoulders. The barbell shoulder press also goes by the names of overhead press, military press, the press or simply shoulder press. In this article that i found on the muscle building website, I will refer to it as the barbell shoulder press simply because that's what I like to call it when referring to the lift. Let me explain to you how to barbell shoulder press with the correct form:

Setting Up. To set up for the barbell shoulder press you firstly need to take the bar off the safety pins of the power rack and position it on the front of your shoulders / upper chest. If you don't have a power rack to position the bar on you will need to power-clean it up.

Grip and Width. Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder width apart. When you are in the starting position (shown above) your hands should not be touching or interfering with your shoulders. Grip the bar as you would when bench pressing. The bar needs to be in the base of your palms.

Feet. For a traditional barbell shoulder press feet can be positioned shoulder width apart or with one foot in-front of the other. If you are performing a military press then you would need to adopt a narrow stance with feet close together. In this article however we will be looking at a normal barbell shoulder press so position feet shoulder width apart or with one in-front of the other.

Big Chest. Push your chest out. This makes the lift more comfortable and will shorten the distance the bar needs to travel (ever so slightly).

Look Forward. Any other way will feel uncomfortable and you risk straining your neck. Look forward!

Elbows Point Forward. This is tricky at first but you will get the hang of it. Elbows should be pointing forward at the beginning of the lift. They also need to be pointing forward for at the start of every rep. Elbows should not be flared outwards or to the side.

Performing the barbell shoulder press. Once you are set up in the starting position of the barbell shoulder press you will need to push the weight up and overhead until your arms are fully extended at the top with elbows locked. Things to remember:

Elbows Forward. Elbows are pushed forward to initiate the lift. Not outwards, forwards!

Straight Line. Ideally we want the bar to travel in a straight line. This is the shortest distance it can travel. This brings me to my next point. In order to keep the bar in a straightish line you will need to:

Tilt Your Head Back Slightly. For the bar to travel up from the front of your shoulders and upper chest region you will need to tilt you head back slightly as you raise the bar. This prevents the bar from knocking your chin or nose.

Get Under The Bar. Once you push the bar up to around forehead level get your body under the bar and finish extending your arms.

Lock Out. Finish the barbell shoulder press by locking everything out.

Chin Down. As you finish the movement your chin should be pointing down towards your chest.

The bar then needs to be lowered back down to the starting position by the front of your shoulders / upper chest area. Try your best to control the weight on the way down. You don't have to bring the bar down slowly but ensure you are in control of the bar. To begin the next rep remember elbows should be facing forwards and not out to the side. Re-adjust yourself if needed between each rep until you grasp the technique.

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