Overhead barbell press (military press)


The standing barbell press (or military press) is one of the best exercises for developing the shoulders and triceps and the overall explosive strength of the body.

Benefit exercises

The overhead barbell press is considered a basic exercise in bodybuilding and fitness for the development of the muscles of the shoulder girdle and triceps. The main load in the exercise falls on the anterior and middle bundles of deltoids and triceps, the muscles of the chest and trapezium are also involved, and the lower back, abs and legs work as stabilizers. Due to such a powerful effect on the body, the military press is classified as an exercise that speeds up the metabolism, which has a beneficial effect on gaining total body weight.

Performing this exercise will allow you to expand your shoulders, give them a complete voluminous shape. It will also promote progress in weightlifting, shot put, javelin throwing, gymnastics, tennis, volleyball, handball and many other sports.

Standing Barbell Press Technique

1. Approach the barbell on the racks and grab the bar with an overhand grip slightly wider than your shoulders. Sit down a little, bring your chest under the bar, then tighten the muscles of the whole body and, straightening up, lift the bar from the racks so that the bar touches the upper part of the chest. Take a step back, spread your legs shoulder-width apart, feet parallel to each other, bend your back slightly at the waist, straighten your shoulders, and look straight ahead. This is the starting position.

2. Inhale and, holding your breath, gently raise the bar until your arms are fully extended at the elbows.

3. Hold for a fraction of a second at the top and as you exhale, slowly lower the bar without touching your chest or relaxing your muscles at the bottom.

4. Do the planned number of repetitions and only after that lower the barbell to the chest, and return it back to the racks.

It is important:

The standing barbell press puts a lot of pressure on your lower back and knees, so if you have any problems with these areas, do not do it.

To master the exercise, press with the lightest weights (say, with an empty bar) and even after mastering the technique, thoroughly warm up with lighter weights and do not force the weights.

While doing the bench press, do not relax the muscles of the back and the press, and do not tilt the body back, otherwise this is fraught with injury.

By lifting the weight with your back and legs, you reduce the load on the target muscles and also risk injury.

Options exercises

Overhead press sitting. This option is recommended in case of problems with the lumbar spine, as it allows you to reduce the load on the lower back.

Muscles worked while bench press

  • deltoid muscles (mainly anterior and middle bundles)
  • triceps
  • upper pectoral muscles
  • trapezium

Alternative exercises

  • Press from behind the head
  • Dumbbell press
  • Arnold press

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