Master Class – Shoulder Press

Master Class – Shoulder Press

barbell-shoulder-press-muscle-31032011 Seated-Barbell-Shoulder-Press-Muscle-&-Performance Seated-military-press

Lesson Learned: Use leverage for mass building effects.

Doing presses seated (rather then standing, as in a standing barbell shoulder press) allows you to lift significantly more weight, because you can use the back of the seat or bench for more leverage. Don’t ditch standing presses by any means – just make sure you take a seat on a regular basis, too, for bigger delts.

Muscles Emphasized: Deltoids (anterior, middle and posterior heads) primarily; triceps and upper traps secondarily.

Mechanics: Sit on an upright seat with a rack and grasp the bar just outside shoulder width. With your feet flat on the floor and lower back in contact with the seat, un-rack the bar and begin with it directly over your shoulders with your elbows extended but not locked out.

Bend your elbows to slowly lower the bar down in front of your face. When it reaches just below chin level, forcefully press the weight back up to the start position without locking out your elbows. At the top of the movement, the bar should be directly in front of your face, not behind your head.

Do: Keep your elbows slightly in front of your shoulders (as opposed to directly alongside them) as your press the bar up. This will help increase your power.

Don’t: Go it alone. A spotter is highly recommended, if not mandated. When using dumbbells, you can drop the weights if you need to; with a bar, you can’t.

Next Level: Take yourself t the limit by doing forced reps of seated barbell presses. Pick a weight that you can lift for sex to eight reps on your own. After reaching failure, have a spotter help you get two or three more reps by providing light assistance; in other words, you do most of the work, not the spotter. Limit forced to reps to your last one or two sets of presses at most.

Options: Mix things up by alternating barbell and dumbbell seated presses – the same basic movements, just with slightly different paths of motion. Use a Smith Machine as well by sliding a seat or bench underneath the bar.

Training Tenets: Perform seated barbell shoulder presses early in a workout , while your muscles are still fresh. Seldom should any other exercise come before this one, unless you are an advanced lifter pre-exhausting the delts with lateral raises.


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