Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

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Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

Target Body Part:
Arms, Shoulders

Equipment Needed:

Step 1

Starting Position: Step under the bar in a split-stance position (one foot in front of the barbell and one foot behind your body). Grasp the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width, palms facing forward. Your elbows should be bent and pointing down. Your elbows may be either against the side of your body or a few inches in front of your body.


Step 2

Position the bar in line with the top of your chest, collarbone, and front of your shoulders. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Do not allow the spine to arch. Brace your torso by contracting your abdominal/core muscles. Maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.


Step 3

Keep your chest lifted and chin tilted slightly up. Dip down to unrack the bar and straighten your hips and knees to lift the bar.


Step 4

Take a step backwards and position your feet in a split-stance position with your weight evenly distributed into both heels.


Step 5

Upward Phase: Exhale and slowly press the barbell overhead, straightening both elbows at the same time. Maintain your body and head alignment. Do not allow your wrists to bend or the low back to arch.


Step 6

Downward Phase: Inhale. In a slow and controlled manner, bend your elbows and lower the bar. Mindfully contract the muscles of your back and arms to bring the bar down to the start position. This will help stabilize the front of your shoulder joint. Maintain your body, head and wrist alignment. Do not allow your wrists to bend or the low back to arch.

Step 7

At the end of the set, step forward into a split-stance position, dip down and re-rack the bar.

Technique is very important in this lift. The tendency is to arch the low back during the upward phase, increasing the loading upon your spine. Use a mirror for feedback, press overhead and not behind your head, and squeeze your abdominal muscles and glutes to help prevent excessive arching.