How to Perform a Barbell Shoulder Press

Such a great movement for upper body strength! In the video above I go through the following tips:

1. Brace yourself! 
Feet should be shoulder width apart and your spine should be straight (or neutral). To do this, squeeze your glutes and pull ribcage down towards your pelvis to keep your abs tight. This will help keep that spine neutral so you aren’t overextended as you press up. What does it mean to be overextended?? Overextended is when your chest comes forward and you have a big round bend in your lower back. This is not a healthy lower back position, so we want to brace to avoid this!

2. Bar path is straight up. 
We want to press the weight straight up. We don’t want to move the weight up and around our head, so we must move our head slightly out of the way so we can keep the bar path in a straight line. The rest of your body remains braced as stated in step #1. This is a strict press, so we don’t want to bend our knees or use our legs!

3. Pause at the top, not the bottom.
We may start with the bar below our chin, but we don’t want to hang out there. Take any pause you need at the top of the movement once you’ve fully pressed the bar up. Breathe and then slowly lower the bar back down. As soon as the bar goes below the chin, immediately press back up. This is similar to lowering down into a squat. Control the bar down and then press up as soon as you get to the bottom position. 

4. Always return the bar to the starting position before re-racking the weight.
Great, you did it! You finished your set and are glad to be done. But don’t try and re-rack the bar while it is still overhead. Slowly lower the bar back down near your shoulders and then walk the bar into the rack. This will keep those shoulders safe and avoid any unwanted joint movement. 

I hope some of these tips will help you the next time you press in the gym! Tune in to our other movement tip videos to stay safe and strong. Want additional help on another exercise that you haven’t seen yet in our movement tip series?? Let us know! Comment below or contact us and we will add it to the list ASAP. 

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