Military press💪Shoulder exercises with dumbbells, bar - teenflixsports

Military press Shoulder exercises, front press with dumbbells, barbell, machine or multipower

The military press with dumbbells or bar is one of the basic exercises to train shoulders, back and abdominals. For anyone who likes to train muscles in the gym, it is essential to know how to correctly perform the military press technique with a barbell, dumbbells, machine or multipower .

The front press is often associated with shoulder exercises . Beyond just working one muscle, this workout engages many more muscle groups. Many people do not know that the military press has many benefits apart from hypertrophy and aesthetics. Next, we will show you all.

In this article we will explain what the military press or frontal press is , all its variations, alternatives and benefits. In addition, you will be able to know how to do your technique correctly to avoid frequent mistakes.


  • What is the military press
  • How to do the military press technique
  • What muscles are trained with the military press technique
  • Benefits of military press exercises
  • Frequent mistakes when training shoulder muscles
  • Types of military press: barbell, dumbbells, machine

What is the military press

The military press is an exercise to work the shoulder. In addition, as we have already mentioned, it is an exercise that is part of what are known as basic exercises. We can also find references to this exercise as front barbell press or in its English version Military Press.

The military press is a compound exercise in which the whole body participates. Not just the arms and shoulders, which push and lift the weight. Also the legs and the trunk exert pressure in an isometric way.

Therefore, the military press  is one of the best exercises to develop almost all the major muscle groups of the body. It is a multi-joint exercise with which, in addition to the shoulders, you will be able to work the upper part of the chest, the triceps and the trunk. Also the glutes, biceps and lats but to a lesser degree.

How to do the military press technique

To begin the military press exercise, sit down with a bar overhanded. That is, grab the bar with your palms facing back or down when you place your arms perpendicular to your body.

The hands should be on the bar slightly more than the width of the shoulders. Keeping your back straight, bring the bar with your hands up to the upper part of your chest, almost at shoulder height and from there you will begin the exercise.

Inhale and lift the bar up as if you were pushing it with your hands as your arms are extended. Exhale at the end of the movement and begin the descent towards the starting position in a controlled manner.

This exercise can be done standing up, for which you must slightly bend your knees. You must also be very careful in the back so as not to curve the lumbar spine too much. This military press exercise can also be done in multipower in order to have a guide for the route. Later we will explain how to perform this variant.

What muscles are trained with the military press technique

As we have already mentioned, the military press is an exercise to mainly work the shoulders.  As main muscles that are trained with the military press technique we will find:

  • Deltoid. In all its extension, although it emphasizes the work on the middle and posterior fascicles.
  • Triceps brachii.

On the other hand, as secondary and stabilizer muscles that the military press technique works we find:

  • trapezoids
  • Ternes major and minor
  • rhomboids
  • latissimus dorsi
  • spinal erector
  • Pectoralis minor and major
  • External oblique
  • transverse abdominis

Benefits of military press exercises

As you have seen, the military press is an exercise that not only works the shoulders, but it is a very complete basic exercise that allows you to work many muscles simultaneously. But this is not its only benefit, here are some of the many benefits of this exercise of military press or front press with a bar

Shoulder strength and hypertrophy

Whether you train for strength or you train for aesthetics, the military press is the foundation for building strong, hypertrophied shoulders. Also, in either case, the barbell front press should be the foundation of your shoulder or vertical push workout. Any variant of this exercise will have positive effects on muscle recruitment.

Overhead exercise performance

When it comes to executing other more technical exercises such as the jerk or handstand variants, such as handstand push-ups or the handstand walk, strong shoulders are the basis for performing them safely. Following the benefits of the military press, we will be able to strengthen our shoulders and, therefore, perform more complex exercises.

Military press for shoulder health

The "resilience" of our shoulders plays a significant role in avoiding injuries. The military press will help you build stronger shoulders and much more resilient joints.

Benefits of the military press in daily life

Regardless of whether you are a powerlifter or just like to stay in shape, we will all benefit in our daily lives from having a good core musculature. Thanks to the military press we will be able to strengthen the muscles of our torso and benefit from it in daily situations such as carrying shopping bags. In addition, the military press can also be useful if we develop postural problems due to long days of sitting work.

Military press with dumbbells or barbell for abdominals

It is known that when we raise the dumbbells or the bar doing frontal press we require our stabilizing abdominal muscles. In particular our rectus abdominis, external oblique, and erector spinae. This is especially worked on in the standing military press compared to the seated version.

Benefits of performing the bench press

Among the benefits of the military press is also its transfer to the bench press. It can be said that having a strong military press implies a strong bench press , since both lifts recruit similar shoulder , back and abdominal musculature . In fact, there is one study that suggests that you can predict the dumbbell overhead press reasonably well from the bench press 6RM measurement .

Frequent mistakes when training shoulder muscles

As is usual in any bodybuilding exercise, making certain mistakes will mean that the work done in the barbell military press is not entirely satisfactory. Even not executing the technique correctly could lead to an injury. Therefore, the most important thing to see the benefits and results is to avoid these frequent mistakes and execute the technique well.

These are the most common mistakes in the barbell military press:

Position the bar of the military press in front of the body

The appropriate thing is that the bar is in the same plane as the head. Poor barbell military press execution technique involves placing the bar slightly in front of the body, trying to avoid colliding with the head.

This overtaking shifts the center of gravity of the weight to be moved with respect to ours, creating instability and the risk of loss of balance.

Do lumbar arching exercises

When lifting the weight in the barbell military press , a slight lumbar hyperlordosis should be performed. The problem appears when this hyperlordosis is carried out in excess, since by supporting the weight an injury can occur.

On many occasions this excessive arching occurs involuntarily. To avoid this, you must:

  • Strengthen the core, including the abdominals and lower back (next to the pelvic floor). A weak core will not be able to bring the pelvis into a neutral position during the exercise.
  • Strengthen the hip: This area includes the hip flexor muscles, which must be strengthened and also stretched to avoid shortening.
  • Work the mobility of the shoulders: the shoulder joint is the main one involved in the movement. When this movement cannot be given in its full extension, the back must come into play, causing a fairly large arch.

Impulse with leg muscles

Being one of those considered basic exercises, the barbell military press is ideal for working a large number of muscles in the body and obtaining an overall improvement in your physique.

However, when performing its standing version, you may be tempted to perform a leg drive in a way that helps lift the weight. By doing this you will not be focusing the effort on the shoulders and, therefore, you will not be doing effective work on the exercise.

Although it seems something basic, this is common. Above all, it is something that is seen in people who want to lift more weight than their shoulders can move.

Limit range of motion with barbell or dumbbells

The movement of the military press with a bar or dumbbells must be complete. By this we mean that the bar or dumbbells must travel the entire distance from the beginning to the end.

Although it sounds like something obvious, sometimes you will be able to observe some people who when losing the weight do not come to the starting point. That is, leaving the bar or dumbbells at mouth level instead of lowering the weight until the equipment is located on the upper part of your chest. With this incomplete route, the only thing that is achieved is less involvement of the shoulder muscles, leaving the triceps more involved.

On the other hand, a greater range of travel implies a greater time in which the muscle remains under tension. This means that, in addition to assuming greater muscle work, it also entails greater caloric expenditure. In this way you can influence your energy balance.

Types of military press: barbell, dumbbells, machine

This exercise can be done in different ways and has different variants, among which we find:

Barbell military press exercises

When doing the military press with a bar , it will be very convenient to have a rack or support to place the bar and be able to hold it comfortably. Here we explain step by step how to do it correctly:

Stand in front of the bar with your feet slightly apart, roughly hip-width apart. This will gain stability when lifting the weight. Once in position to perform the barbell military press , bend your knees slightly to avoid overloading these joints.

Grab the bar with your hands pronated. That is, with the palms facing forward, and place them at a width slightly greater than that of your shoulders. For this front press exercise , tuck your elbows into your trunk and point them slightly forward, staying in front of the bar. Maintaining this position and expanding your rib cage, remove the bar from the rack and place it high on your chest muscles , at the level of your collarbones.

The back, at the starting point, must perform a hyperlordosis, taking the upper part of it backwards. It should more or less reach a distance that allows it to match its situation with that of your heels. Start the movement as you exhale, raising the bar vertically with your arms overhead.

At the end point, avoid locking your elbows to avoid injuring this joint. When the bar is up, it should be slightly behind your head. In this way, your arms, back and legs should be aligned. Also, the scapulae should be retracted to stabilize the barbell overhead press position . Hold this position for a second and lower the bar performing the reverse vertical run.

Seated Barbell Front Press Workout

To do seated military press with a bar  it will be very convenient to have a rack or support support for the bar. In this way, both the beginning of the exercise and the end are greatly facilitated .

For the front barbell press you must use a bench. Place the back of the bench completely straight, that is, at 90 degrees. Next, grab the bar with your hands pronated, palms facing forward. The hands should be placed at a width slightly greater than that of your shoulders.

Remove the bar from its support and place it on the upper part of your chest, at the height of your collarbones. This will be the starting position for the seated barbell military press . Keep your back straight and well supported on the back of the bench. Inhale and, expelling the air, vertically raise the bar above your head. Try not to lock your elbows at the end of the stroke and stop a bit before this happens.

For this front press exercise , stay 1 second with your arms straight supporting the weight with your muscles and lower the bar in the reverse vertical movement until it reaches below the chin. Always do the movement in a controlled manner. Once you have reached the bottom point, take another breath and perform the seated barbell military press again .

Dumbbell Military Press Technique

Below we indicate the correct technique to perform a good military press with dumbbells . To begin with, use a bench with a straight backrest to carry out this muscle-building exercise.

Your back should remain straight, resting on the back of the bench so that it does not withstand the stress of the exercise. It is very important not to arch your back so as not to overload the lower back, with the risk of hurting yourself. If you see that your back is arching, it may be due to excess weight on the dumbbells. To correctly perform the military press with dumbbells , it is essential that you are able to concentrate all the tension in the area of ​​the shoulder muscles .

Starting from this position, grab a dumbbell in each hand and place them at shoulder height. The palms of your hands should be facing forward so that you can lift the load naturally. Starting at shoulder height, raise the load overhead in a triangular motion.

This movement is simple: you must imagine a triangle and follow its path. That is, you will start from the shoulders and raise the two dumbbells up to the top together, with the arms fully stretched over the head. Movements should never be sudden. If you tend to jerk and push, you will divert stress to other parts of your back such as your lower back.

Avoiding jerks will also help you control movement and achieve better results in muscle development . When performing dumbbell overhead presses , it's essential to focus the movement and keep your back straight. Arching your back can only cause unnecessary injuries and overloads that will not help you evolve with the exercise.

shoulder exercises with machine

In the case of the front press or machine military press  , it is the  easiest exercise of all the variations. When we have a machine, the posture and the route are already delimited by the machine itself that we are going to use. You only have to worry about choosing an appropriate weight to do the exercise correctly. Once you have placed the appropriate load, follow the steps below:

Sit on a bench with a back, positioned just below the bar  of a Smith machine, for example. Grab the bar with a double overhand grip just above your shoulders and spread your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart.

Then make sure to grip the bar as tightly as possible and push up until your arm muscles are fully stretched. Pause at the peak, then lower back to the starting position for the machine front press , using a controlled movement throughout.

Military press training with multipower

To begin performing the multipower military press, position yourself on a flat bench under a Smith machine. Position the bar at a height so that when you are sitting on the flat bench, your arms are almost fully extended to reach the bar.

Once you have the correct height, sit slightly behind the bar so that there is an imaginary straight line from the tip of your nose to the bar. For this front press exercise , your feet should be planted firmly on the ground.

Grasp the bar with your palms facing forward, unlock it, and raise it until your arms are fully extended. This is the starting position for performing the multipower military press .

Slowly begin to lower the bar until it is level with your chin as you inhale. Then, raise the bar back to the starting position using your shoulders as you slowly exhale.