Military Press

Hey there, fitness enthusiast! Ready to pump those shoulders and learn about one of the most classic strength exercises? Enter the Military Press. This powerful movement not only helps build strong shoulders but also significantly engages the core. If you’re passionate about getting stronger and adding a new exercise to your routine, you’ve chosen the right one! So, let’s dive into it, get you informed, and motivated to tackle the Military Press!

Understanding the Military Press

Ever wondered which exercise reigns supreme for shoulder development? That would be the Military Press. It’s an overhead pressing movement that primarily targets the deltoids (those rounded shoulders you admire) and also engages the triceps and core. Perfect for both beginners and seasoned gym-goers.

Step-by-step Guide to the Military Press

Equipment Setup

  1. Selecting the Barbell: Start with a standard Olympic barbell, which weighs 45lbs. Ensure it’s in good condition.
  2. Rack Position: Adjust the squat rack’s height so the barbell is around chest level when it’s resting.

The Movement

  1. Grip: Grasp the barbell slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Starting Position: Lift the barbell off the rack and position it in front of your chest, palms facing forward.
  3. Press Up: With a firm core, press the barbell upward, fully extending your arms. Keep your head neutral.
  4. Descending: Slowly lower the barbell back down to the starting position in front of your chest.
  5. Breathing: Inhale as you lower the bar, exhale strongly as you press up.

Safety First

  1. Wrist Position: Ensure your wrists aren’t bent back. They should remain neutral.
  2. Stance: Feet should be shoulder-width apart, providing stability.
  3. Engage the Core: As you press, ensure your abs are tight. This protects your spine.

Tips for a Perfect Military Press

  1. Warm-up: Always warm up your shoulders with light weights or dynamic stretches before going heavy.
  2. Avoid Arching: Maintain a straight back; don’t arch excessively.
  3. Mind the Elbows: Keep them slightly in front of the barbell during the initial press.
  4. Focus: Always concentrate on the movement to avoid injuries.
  5. Progress Slowly: Increase weight gradually. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

The AH7 Perspective on Military Press

Here at AH7, we believe the Military Press is foundational. It’s not just about shoulder strength; it’s about building a functional body. Whether you’re lifting groceries or playing catch, this move has real-world applications. Moreover, it offers a chance to challenge oneself, focus on form, and witness real, tangible growth.

Dumbbell Military Press

Using dumbbells for the Military Press offers a few advantages over the barbell version:

  1. Enhanced Range of Motion: Dumbbells allow for a more natural movement path, accommodating different shoulder anatomies.
  2. Independent Arm Work: Since each arm lifts a dumbbell independently, it can help address and rectify muscle imbalances.
  3. Additional Stabilization: Using dumbbells requires more stabilization, which can engage more of the smaller, supporting muscles around the shoulders and upper back.

How to Do the Dumbbell Military Press

  1. Starting Position: Sit on a bench with back support or stand with a tight core. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level with your palms facing forward.
  2. Press Up: Extend your arms overhead, pressing the dumbbells up and slightly towards each other at the top.
  3. Lowering Phase: Slowly bring the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  4. Breathing: Inhale as you lower the dumbbells and exhale as you press them up.

Remember, the same core principles and safety guidelines apply, whether using a barbell or dumbbells. Always ensure you’re using a weight that’s challenging yet allows you to maintain proper form.


1-What muscles does the Military Press target?
The Military Press primarily targets the deltoids, but also works the triceps and core.

2- Can beginners do the Military Press?
Absolutely! It’s suitable for all levels, but beginners should start with lighter weights.

3- How often should I incorporate Military Press into my routine?

It’s commonly included in upper-body workouts, 1-2 times a week.

4-Is the Military Press the same as a shoulder press?
Essentially, yes. But some variations might have slight differences in technique or equipment.

5-Can I do the Military Press seated?
Yes! A seated version can help those with back issues or looking for a different challenge.

6-How do I avoid shoulder pain during the Military Press?
Always warm up, maintain proper form, and don’t lift too heavy too soon.

7-What’s the difference between a push press and a Military Press?
The push press incorporates a leg drive, while the Military Press is strictly upper body.

8-How much weight should I start with?
Beginners can start with just the barbell (45lbs) or even lighter weights if available.

9-Is the Military Press safe for all ages?
Generally, yes, with proper form and guidance. However, always consult with a fitness professional.

10-Does AH7 recommend any specific variations of the Military Press?
We do! Dumbbell presses, seated variations, and push presses are all excellent choices to mix things up.

Happy pressing, and remember: every rep brings you closer to your goals!

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