Smith Standing Behind Head Military Press

Smith Standing Behind Head Military Press

The Smith Standing Behind Head Military Press is a compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the shoulders, specifically the deltoids. This exercise is performed using a Smith machine, which consists of a barbell fixed within vertical steel rails. Unlike other variations of the military press, this exercise involves lifting the barbell from behind the head, adding an extra challenge to the movement. By standing in an upright position with a slight bend in the knees, you engage your core muscles for stability throughout the exercise. The Smith machine provides added support, allowing you to focus on proper form and controlled movements. As you lift the weight, your shoulder muscles, specifically the anterior and medial deltoids, engage to push the barbell overhead. Performing the Smith Standing Behind Head Military Press can help to increase overall shoulder strength and stability. Additionally, this exercise can contribute to improved posture and enhance upper body aesthetics. As with any exercise, it is essential to start with a weight that is manageable and gradually increase the load as your strength improves. Remember to always warm up before attempting this or any other exercise to prevent injury. Incorporate stretching exercises for the shoulders and neck to loosen up those muscle groups. When performing the Smith Standing Behind Head Military Press, maintain proper form, avoid excessive arching of the lower back, and breathe steadily throughout the movement. Lastly, listen to your body, and if you experience any pain or discomfort, stop the exercise and consult with a fitness professional.


  • Begin by standing behind a Smith machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Bring the barbell to rest on your upper traps, with your elbows pointing forward.
  • Take a step forward and position your feet slightly in front of the barbell.
  • Keep your core engaged, chest lifted, and shoulders pulled back.
  • Press the barbell upward by extending your arms and fully straightening your elbows.
  • Continue lifting until your arms are fully extended overhead, but avoid locking out your elbows.
  • Pause briefly at the top, and then lower the barbell back down to the starting position with control.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips & Tricks

  • Start with a weight that challenges you but still allows you to maintain proper form throughout the exercise.
  • Engage your core and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement to ensure stability and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Breathe out as you press the weight overhead and inhale as you lower it back down to your starting position.
  • Focus on maintaining a controlled and steady pace throughout the exercise. Avoid using momentum to lift the weight.
  • If you experience any pain or discomfort while performing the exercise, stop immediately and consult a fitness professional.
  • Ensure that your grip is comfortable and secure on the barbell or dumbbells to avoid any accidents or slippage.
  • Perform the exercise in front of a mirror if possible, as it can help you maintain proper form and technique.
  • Incorporate appropriate warm-up exercises before performing the Smith Standing Behind Head Military Press to prepare your muscles for the movement.
  • Consider gradually increasing the weight over time to continually challenge your muscles and promote strength gains.
  • Listen to your body and give yourself rest and recovery days in between workouts to allow your muscles to repair and grow.


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