Seated Barbell Shoulder Press

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press

Exercise Summary
Primary Muscle(s) Shoulders
Secondary Muscle(s) Triceps
Equipment Barbell
Emphasis Compound
Type Push

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press Instructions

  • Set a vertical bench in the rack or squat stand.
  • Set a bar up in a squat rack that is slightly above your head when are seated.
  • Sit against a bench in the squat rack. Make sure you are in a strong lifting position
    • Core is braced with a neutral spine.
    • Eyes are fixated straight ahead with a neutral neck position.
    • Chest is up and shoulders back.
    • Feet are rooted into the floor.
  • Grip the barbell slightly outside of shoulder-width. 
    • Your wrist should be stacked on top of your elbow. Do not let your wrist "roll back".
  • As you grip the barbell, create torque off the bar by externally rotating your shoulder blades back into their sockets. 
    • You are creating a strong, safe shoulder position to press from.
  • Keep the bar-path as straight as possible as you press.
    • Think about bringing your armpit forward as you press.
  • At the top, your arms are fully extended and the bar is in a stable position overhead.
    • Don't shrug your shoulders at the top.
  • Lower the bar on the same path.
  • Lower to roughly eye-level then press back up.
    • The bottom position is relative to each person and his/her mobility restrictions. 


    • Don't let your low back arch excessively. Maintain the tight core position you created at the start. 
    • There should be no excessive elbow flaring.
      • Internally or externally.
    • Don't let your upper back come off the bench.
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