Standing Barbell Shoulder Press
Tricep, Shoulder, and Core Exercise

The standing barbell shoulder press/ military press is an advanced shoulder exercise that can help to build your shoulder strength and core strength at the same time.

The standing military press is an advanced exercise because it requires good balance, good core strength, good shoulder flexibility, and good shoulder stability.

If you lack shoulder flexibility and shoulder stability, you should use caution when performing this exercise. Also, if you have a history of lower back pain, you should also use caution and build up slowly if you include this exercise in your workout routine.

Every exercise has benefits and risks, and some people can really benefit from this exercise.

Pictures of the standing barbell military press are below.

Shoulder Exercises: Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

Starting Position: Grasp a barbell or body bar with an overhand grip. Your hands should be wider than shoulder width.

Raise the barbell so that it is just below your chin, and keep your knees slightly bent.

Form: While keeping your core muscles engaged, exhale and press your arms over your head. Hold for a brief second at the top and then slowly lower back to the starting position.

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Personal Trainer Tips: As with all exercises, posture is very important. Make sure that your back does not arch excessively when you press over head.

2 Different Leg Positions

You can perform this exercise with your feet parallel or with your feet staggered. When your feet are parallel there is more challenge on balance and there is also more challenge on your lower back.

If you want to take some pressure off your lower back use a staggered stance.


Pressing over head is a great way to strengthen the shoulder muscles, but use caution if you have a history of shoulder or neck pain.

Rotator cuff strengthening is also very important for people who routinely perform overhead exercises, so remember to include rotator cuff exercises in your workouts.

If you want to focus on your shoulders without challenging the core as much, use a Smith machine or perform the barbell press while seated on a bench.

Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT

Return to the Main Shoulder Exercises Page from the Barbell Shoulder Press

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