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Seated Barbell Shoulder Press Exercise (Step-by-Step)

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

The barbell shoulder press is a staple exercise in a lot of peoples shoulder workout, for many reasons explained below.

One of the reasons is because it is a great overall shoulder exercise due to the fact it is a multi-joint, compound movement, meaning most of the shoulder muscle fibres are activated significantly.

Not only this, but it is a pretty simple exercise and can be done in lots of different ways and only requires a barbell.

You can also use a smith machine instead of a barbell if that suits you better, and can also be done standing or in a seated position.

seated barbell shoulder press

(Seated Barbell) Shoulder Press Exercise Instructions:

Target Muscle: Shoulders

Exercise Type: Strength

These instructions below are specifically designed for the seated barbell shoulder press, however a similar exercise process applies with the smith machine press and the standing variation.

  1. To begin, sit on a bench (with an extendable back support) in a squat rack or in a smith machine if you are using one.

  2. Then grab a barbell and position it in line with the top of your head or just above.

  3. Grip the barbell with a pronated grip, meaning your palms are facing forward.

  4. Once you have the barbell with the correct grip and width, lift the bar up and above your head, carefully lock your arms out as you reach the top of the repetition, this is your rep starting position.

  5. Lower the bar back down to your shoulders slowly while keeping tension on the shoulder muscles.

  6. Lift the bar back up to the starting position.

  7. Repeat this for your desired amount of repetitions.

Additional Variations: You can do this same exercise using a smith machine and you can do this exercise in a standing and seated position.

Caution: Do not use too much weight with this exercise as this can lead to bad exercise form and therefore a possibility of injury.


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