Barbell Shoulder Press - Seated

Barbell Shoulder Press - Seated

In this lesson you will learn how to barbell shoulder press in a sitting position. The barbell shoulder press (also called military press) is one the heaviest shoulder exercises and should be done at the beginning of your workout. This exercise it essential for shoulder strength and size. The barbell shoulder press can also be done in a standing position. Find more shoulder exercises at weight training main.


  • Sit down at the end of a bench or a shoulder press rack with your feet one shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and don't relax your abdominals. If your bench has a back lean, adjust it almost vertically. If you have a shoulder press rack, ask a training partner support you from behind. Lift the barbell from the rack and exhale at the same time. Extend your arms before the first repetition.
  • Then move your barbell towards your chest and inhale. When you lower the bar, move your elbows forward a little. Don't open up sideways and stop at ear level. The down-motion should be slower than the up-motion.
  • Now push your barbell back up and exhale. Make sure you don't hollow your back as you push the weight up. Also, don't lift your shoulders. Only extend your arms.
  • Your training partner should help you put the weight back into the rack after the last repetition. Most shoulder injuries happen when you put the barbell back into the rack -> Because of the angle.


  • Always warm up your shoulder muscles before you do heavy barbell exercises.
  • If you don't have a training partner, do the standing barbell shoulder press in front of a mirror and don't use too much weight.
  • Use a weightlifting belt to support your lower back.
  • Superset recommendation: Barbell Shoulder Press + Dumbbell Side Laterals