How to Military Press / Shoulder Press With Proper Technique And Build Upper Body Strength

Donahoe military press

The military press builds the upper body muscles more fully than the bench press.  Why is that?  It's because the military press and shoulder press, unlike the bench press, uses the entire body.  This lift can be done as either a barbell exercise or a dumbbell exercise.

The military press is an often ignored lift in workout routines.  Few people realize how much the military press, whether done as a barbell exercise or dumbbell exercise, would benefit from this lift.


The Muscles The Military Press Works


There are huge muscle building benefits for lifters who correctly work the military press into his workout programs.  The military press and shoulder press, different names for the same lift...

Primary Muscles: Shoulders, Upper Chest
Secondary Muscles: legs, trunk, shoulder, upper chest, and arms.

When a shoulder press or military press is correctly used in your workout as a barbell exercise or a dumbbell exercise, the upper body muscle gains are enormous.


How to Perform the Military Press Correctly


The military press takes a bit of practice to do correctly.  Remember that a shoulder press and military press should be done as a barbell exercise instead of a dumbbell exercise whenever possible.  Dumbbells are okay to use when a barbell isn't available, though.

Here are the steps to a flawless shoulder press and military press...

Step 1: Raise the barbell to your chest with your hand shoulder width apart.  This can be done by lifting the barbell straight from the floor or by lifting it off of a power rack.

Step 2: Lock your legs and hips underneath you.  Feet should be together

Step 3: Without using your lower body, lift the weight overhead.

Step 4: Bring the weight back down to your chest in a controlled manner

If you have to use your lower body to lift the weight, you are either too fatigued to do anymore sets correctly or are lifting too much weight. To help your form take a look at our:


For Better Form Watch This Military Press Video


Variation of the Military Press



A lifter can make muscle building strength gains with this variation.  It can be incorporated into your workout programs when injury or fatigue prevents you from doing the regular military press.

The Seated Military Press

This variation is very similar to the regular military press.  But in this one, you are sitting upright on a bench.  A lifter will lift the barbell overhead from chest level just like you do in the regular press.  However, this variation does not work the trunk and legs as much.

Remember, the military press works the body more than the bench press.  But the bench press works muscles the military press does not, so make room for both.

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