Military Press

  • Alternative Names: Standing military press, barbell military press, military shoulder press, bb military press, front military press
  • Type: Strength
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Equipment: Barbell
  • Muscles Targeted: Shoulders, traps, abs, triceps
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Average Number of Sets: 3-4 with 5-10 reps each
  • Variations: Dumbbell, seated barbell, machine, Smith machine, behind the neck, kettlebell, and Arnold military presses
  • Alternative: Barbell shoulder press, machine shoulder press, dumbbell shoulder press

The military press also called standing barbell military press, is a shoulder-training exercise used for targeting all the three heads (anterior, lateral, and posterior) of the deltoids while increasing strength of your abs and triceps. Because you need to press the weight overhead in a standing position, it requires you to have a lot of abdominal strength for stabilizing your spine and is thus harder to perform than the ordinary bench press.

Military Press Exercise Information

  • Alternative Names: Standing military press, barbell military press, military shoulder press, bb military press, front military press
  • Type: Strength
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Equipment: Barbell
  • Muscles Targeted: Shoulders, traps, abs, triceps
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Average Number of Sets: 3-4 with 5-10 reps each
  • Variations: Dumbbell, seated barbell, machine, Smith machine, behind the neck, kettlebell, and Arnold military presses
  • Alternative: Barbell shoulder press, machine shoulder press, dumbbell shoulder press

Benefits

  • Can be performed using lighter and heavier weights
  • As a versatile exercise, it can be done either standing or sitting
  • Your stance, grip, the width of the arms, momentum, sets, and reps can all be adjusted
  • Strengthens your shoulder girdle and prevents injuries from other pressing exercises

Military Press Vs Push Press

Military Press Push Press
Muscles Worked Shoulders, traps, abs, triceps Shoulder, chest, triceps, hips, quadriceps
Used for Overhead strength development and increasing stability of the spine Overall strength development by utilizing hip drive
Range of Motion Large Shorter than military press

 

Difference between Military Press and Overhead Press

Although the terms military and overhead are now used interchangeably, the former is performed by bringing your feet together and the latter by standing with a shoulder-width stance.

How to do a Military Press

Start the exercise by putting a barbell (weighing about 70-110 lbs) in a squat rack at your chest level. Hold the barbell with a wider-than-shoulder-width, pronated grip and bend your knees so that the bar touches your collar bone. Lift the weight while keeping it above your chest and step backward to position your feet close to each other. Press the weight up over the head until your arms are locked out and keep it in front of your head. Bring the bar down so that it lies above your chest.

Tips

  • Rotate your elbows so that they point outward at the top but keep them tucked at the bottom of the movement.
  • Do not use momentum or any additional leg drive to press the weight up.
  • Make sure to squeeze your glutes and avoid leaning back while pressing the barbell over the head.
  • Use a wider grip if you feel your shoulders are stressed.
  • Keep your back from arching excessively by using a staggered stance.

Variations

  1. Dumbbell Military Press: Performed by holding a pair of dumbbells while sitting on a military press bench.
  2. Seated Barbell Military Press: Is similar to the basic version except that you lift the barbell while sitting on a military press bench.
  3. Military Press with Machine: Involves sitting down on a shoulder press machine and lifting the handles until your arms are fully extended.
  4. Smith Machine Military Press: Done by sitting on a bench placed beneath a Smith machine and extending your arms to reach the barbell placed over your head.
  5. Military Press Behind the Neck: Performed by keeping the bar at the back of your shoulders and then pressing the weight over your head.
  6. Kettlebell Military Press: Involves pressing one or two kettlebells over your head either in a standing or seated position.
  7. Arnold Military Press: Is performed by rotating your wrists so that your grip changes from supinated at the bottom to pronated at the top of the movement.

Alternative Exercises

  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Machine Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press

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