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The Benefits of Barbell Shoulder Press & Standing Military Press


The Benefits of Barbell Shoulder Press & Standing Military Press

Barbell Shoulder Press / Standing Military Press are probably the most favourable for growing your shoulders – anybody that loves a delt day will tell you that where their favourites lie.

When you start to look at it, there’s a strong reason for it too, let’s change a habit if you are reluctant to pick up the barbell – it is essential you start soon!

Like squats on a leg day, or bench press on chest day – a shoulder press is just as important for any shoulder day.

Firstly, before weighing up the benefits, let’s start with “how to”.


How to perform the Barbell Shoulder Press/Standing Military Press

  1. Start in a standing position with the barbell rested comfortably above your chest in front of your body with your arms just wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Press the barbell up in a straight position, until your arms are straight – keep your back straight and avoid moving it during the entire motion.
  3. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position after a split-second pause.


What’s the difference in the two?

Traditionally, your foot position was the only thing that changed between the two exercises but in more modern bodybuilding times, there’s little if any difference. Fundamentally, if you’re after big and well-defined shoulders – you’ll need this exercise.


Remember to check your form

Like most compound exercises, the barbell shoulder press or military press can be very easy to sacrifice form due to the power you’ll be using whilst performing the exercise – don’t fall into the trap of losing good form. If necessary, you should try using a seated military press until you’re used to the full range of motion – don’t be scared to start with lower weights!

The barbell should go straight up, not in front of you, nor behind. Your back should be kept straight at all times in order to wreak the benefits from this exercise.

Let’s look at the benefits.


They help your shoulder shape

The good thing about the shoulder press is the overall build of mass that they’ll grow within your whole deltoid muscle.


Anatomy of the deltoid muscle: Red is the anterior, green the lateral and blue is the posterior part of your muscle.

Performing the exercise correctly will help boost the anterior, lateral and posterior part of the delt. It’s certainly a difficult exercise to perform but it does not isolate to one part of your delt.


They help your entire growth

That said, they also help to bolster other areas of your body, such as your chest, arms, and even abs. Along with the barbell bench press, barbell shoulder/ military presses are one of the most powerful movements for increasing that overall strength.


They make you stronger

Hitting multiple areas of your delts and performing multi-joints. A compound exercise by name means that every time you’re wanting to try and improve your shoulder strength, you need these in your workout.

The size of the exercise and the multi-joint targets will increase your overall body strength, and probably quite rapidly if you’ve never used them before.


They make you look better

Growing your shoulders work in a similar way to your lats – if you’re relatively new to the world of bodybuilding by growing areas of your body, such as your shoulders, you can give the perception that you’ve got some serious shape and will support building true definition over time too.


What should you do

Start with a low weight but every time you train, you need to make sure you’re increasing your overall strength. Start with higher reps to feel a burn and keep your shoulders working hard. Gradually try and increase to heavier weight and lower reps to help your muscles grow and also keep your body constantly changing. Mix it up often, but remember that this exercise is the king of shoulder exercises!


Chris has a forceful passion to drive and motivate fitness enthusiasts. An IT geek by trade, Chris’ devotion to health, fitness and bodybuilding drove him to become a key architect and benefactor for Bodybulk, aiming to instigate and inspire change to the fitness industry.

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