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Barbell Shoulder Press

Standing with the feet of the width of the pelvis, the vertical bust, and the back straight or slightly arched, the bar placed on the upper chest in pronation, hands spaced wider than the shoulders, this is to develop the bar above the head.

The inspiration is on the descent or bar on the upper chest during the first repetition and the expiration on the ascent.

Do not turn the exercise into an inclined pseudo-development by arching your back too much: you risk getting hurt and you work less the external deltoid. One of the reasons for the removal of the Barbell Shoulder Press in 1972 weightlifting movements is the “technique” of abusive archery used by athletes. The movement became dangerous and difficult to arbitrate.

The use of a belt of strength is recommended to minimize the risk of back injury even if it is possible to do without it by increasing the loads progressively from session to session. The role of the belt is prophylactic (preventive): it should not be an incentive to use heavy loads with excessive camber.

How To Make Barbell Shoulder Press.

1. Starting position

  • Adjust the backrest with a slightly lower angle at a right angle and the seat horizontally.
  • Sit down and take the bar carefully or with the help of a partner. Spread hands more than shoulder-width and use an overhand grip (palms forward).
  • The back should be pressed against the back, shoulders back, chest out, and feet flat so as to be stable during exercise.
  • Bend your elbows to bring the bar over the top of the chest, on the clavicle. Look straight ahead in front of you.

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2. Execution of the movement

  • Slowly lift the bar over the head, in line with the shoulders, until the arms are taut and locked.
  • Try to get as close to the face as possible, so that your shoulders work well.
  • If you feel pain in the elbow when you lock your arms, stop just before keeping a slight bend. The exercise will be a little more difficult because the contraction of the shoulders will be continuous.
  • Then lower the bar very slowly to the starting position, respecting the same path as for the climb.

Targeted Muscles

At the level of the shoulder joint, the main muscles used are the anterior and middle bundles of the devoid, the upper part of the pectoralis majors, and the coracobrachialis. The main muscles involved in the scapular belt are the large serrated trapezium and supraspinatus The A single motor muscle acts at the level of the elbow joints: the triceps brachii.

Coach Tips

To help maintains balance, look straight ahead and keep your head up. If you look at the top, you may tilt back; if you lean back, you put your spine in hyperextension and the movement is more like a slanted boom. When using maximum loads, this extreme position of the column can cause back problems.

Safety Instructions

The most common mistake in Barbell Shoulder Press is to a much arching of the back to counterbalance the weight of the bar. Unfortunately, by increasing the load, this arch is hardly avoidable especially during the last rehearsals. When raising the would bar, the head is obliged to move back to avoid hitting the latter, which leads anatomically a camber of the back. By performing the standing barbell Shoulder Press, a perfect execution technique can be difficult. The lumbar spine and spine can be put to the test in the medium/long-term.

The second mistake is to load the bar excessively. The force deployed on Barbell Shoulder Press can be important, but as seen previously, be careful not to compensate with the back. Avoid working in force (series of 1 to 6 repetitions) on this type of exercise of bodybuilding of the shoulders.

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Barbell Shoulder Press is normally standing. The raised head position, convex chest, recalls the military attitude. Military service is no longer on the agenda, no one will blame you if you use the seated variant. This position offers the advantage of partially disengaging the impact on the spine.

Mostly requiring the former devoid muscle, this shoulder weight training can be replaced by dumbbell or Arnold development. The Barbell Shoulders Press at the helm can also be a nice option as welling as rowing chin to break your workout routine. Some practitioners vary with the development of the neck, but in view of the stress generated on the would shoulder joint and the rotator cuffs, this variant is not one of the first to consider, especially if your morphology and flexibility do not lend themselves to it.

Although poly-articular, the Barbell Shoulders Press does not require the posterior devoid, so consider correcting this (frequent) imbalance between the front and back of the shoulder by integrating, for example, the bird in your training plan.


Take the descent and exhale on the ascent. The BarbellShoulders Press allows you to handle large loads, which will influence your breathing. With heavy loads, block your breathing, develop the load, and then exhaled at the top of the movement. Inhale on the descent.


This version of the Barbell Shoulder Press at the helm can be a little restrictive for your shoulders and/or wrists. If this is the case, you can replace this exercise with the dumbbell version.

There is another variant of the Barbell Shoulder Press, the “developed neck”, which is to pass the bar behind the head: I do not advise you, because usually traumatic for the shoulders since you are forced to pull elbows excessively towards the ‘back.

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