Barbell Standing Military Press

Barbell Standing Military Press

The Barbell Standing Military Press is a highly effective compound exercise that targets the muscles of the shoulders, specifically the deltoids, as well as the triceps and upper back. This exercise is commonly performed using a barbell, where you stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and maintain a firm grip on the bar at shoulder level. One of the primary benefits of the Barbell Standing Military Press is shoulder strength and development. By pressing the barbell overhead, you engage the deltoid muscles in your shoulders, which not only helps to build strength but also contributes to improved posture and stability in daily activities. The triceps brachii, located on the back of the upper arm, also play a secondary role in this exercise, helping to extend the elbows during the pressing movement. Moreover, the Standing Military Press is a compound exercise, meaning it involves multiple muscle groups working together simultaneously. This makes it an efficient exercise for targeting the upper body, as it engages the shoulders, triceps, and upper back all at once. Additionally, because it requires maintaining a standing position, there is also an element of core stability involved, which can help improve overall balance. To maximize the benefits of this exercise, it is important to maintain proper form throughout. This includes keeping the core engaged and avoiding excessive leaning or arching of the back. It is also vital to use an appropriate weight that allows for controlled and safe movement, without compromising form. As with any exercise, it is always recommended to start with a warm-up to prepare the muscles, joints, and connective tissues for the movement. Incorporating the Barbell Standing Military Press into your workout routine can contribute to overall upper body strength and development. However, it is crucial to remember that individual fitness goals and capabilities may vary, so it is always beneficial to consult with a fitness professional to determine the best way to incorporate this exercise into your personal fitness program.


  • Start by placing a barbell on a squat rack at shoulder height.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the barbell with your palms facing forward.
  • Lift the barbell off the rack and bring it to shoulder level, resting it on your collarbone in front of your shoulders.
  • Take a deep breath and brace your core.
  • Press the barbell upwards by extending your arms, keeping your core engaged and your back straight.
  • As you press the barbell, ensure that your elbows stay slightly in front of the bar and your head remains neutral.
  • Continue pressing until your arms are fully extended overhead and the barbell is directly above your head.
  • Pause briefly at the top and then slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure to engage your core and maintain proper posture throughout the exercise to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your lower back.
  • Start with a weight that you can comfortably lift and gradually increase the load as you get stronger and more accustomed to the movement.
  • Focus on keeping your wrists straight and aligned with your forearms, as bending them can lead to discomfort or injury.
  • Control the movement and avoid using momentum to lift the barbell. This will ensure that you are effectively targeting your shoulder muscles.
  • Include variations of the standing military press, such as seated or Arnold presses, to target different areas of your shoulders and prevent plateauing.
  • Pay attention to your breathing. Exhale as you press the barbell overhead and inhale as you lower it back down.
  • If you experience any pain or discomfort in your shoulders or neck during the exercise, consider lowering the weight or seeking guidance from a qualified fitness professional.
  • Don't neglect the warm-up. Prioritize shoulder and upper body mobility exercises to prepare your muscles for the demands of the standing military press.
  • Incorporate exercises that strengthen your rotator cuff muscles to enhance the stability and support of your shoulders, reducing the risk of injury.
  • Ensure you have a solid grip on the barbell, using an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart to provide optimal control and stability.


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