Updated: Jul 22, 2021
The standing military press is a great overall shoulder exercise, it activates most of the shoulder muscle fibres.
The standing military press is a fairly easy exercise, however, it is a multi-joint compound exercise and can replace other shoulder exercises.
The only equipment you require is a barbell and if you wish to use heavier weight with this exercise a squat rack is required.
You can do this exercise in a seated position, we have an exercise guide specifically for the seated barbell shoulder press here.
You can also use dumbbells (link for our recommended dumbbells below) and for advanced trainees who have greater flexibility, you can do the behind-the-neck variation, however we don't recommend this variation of the shoulder press as it is detrimental to shoulder health.
To see more shoulder exercises click here.
(Standing Barbell) Military Press Exercise Instructions:
Target Muscle: Shoulders
Exercise Type: Strength
These instructions below are specifically designed for the standing barbell military press exercise, however a similar method applies with the dumbbell or other variations of this exercise. These instructions require a barbell and for those using heavier weight, a squat rack is recommended.
To begin, grab a barbell from the floor (or a pre-loaded barbell from a squat rack that is about chest high) with a pronated grip.
Be sure to hold the bar with a wider than shoulder width apart grip.
Get into your desired area, bend slightly at your knees and position the barbell on your collar bone area.
Position your feet around shoulder width apart from each other.
Slightly lift the barbell up so it is inline with your chin, this is your starting position.
Lift the bar up and over your head by locking your arms, once at the top of the rep, contract your shoulders and pause for 1-2 seconds.
Slowly lower the bar back down to your starting position (over 1-3 seconds).
Repeat this for desired amount of repetitions.
Once completed, carefully lower the barbell down to the floor, or if you are using a squat rack carefully place the barbell back onto the rack.
Additional Variations: You can do this exercise with dumbbells, cables, resistance bands, using a machine and also in a seated position, this exercise is known as both the shoulder press and military press.
Caution: If you use the behind-the-neck variation of this exercise, do not use much weight as this could lead to shoulder injury, we do not recommend the behind-the-neck variation of this exercise.
You can see more exercise tutorials here.