Shoulder Press

 

The Shoulder Press is a vertical upper body pushing movement that compliments horizontal pushing exercises like chest presses and push ups. Is strengthens shoulder and arm muscles, and the core muscles provide support when it’s done standing or kneeling.

Shoulder presses build shoulder strength very effectively, but can cause problems in painful or tight shoulders. If you have shoulder pain, avoid pressing overhead until you’re cleared by your doctor or physical therapist. If your shoulders, neck and upper back are tight but pain free, work on improving your mobility so you can perform this move safely. Talk to one of our trainers if you need advice.

Setup

Stand with feet shoulder width or slightly wider and knees bent slightly. Start with the dumbbells (or kettlebells) above your shoulders with your forearms roughly perpendicular to the floor.

Execution

Push the weights straight up overhead, keeping your abdomen firm to avoid leaning backwards and arching your low back. Lower the weights until your elbows are at about a 90 degree angle.

How Much and How Often

For general strength and muscle development, start with one set of 8-12 repetitions with a challenging weight, building to two and three sets in subsequent workouts. If your goal is maximum strength, use heavy weights for multiple sets (4-6) of lower repetitions (3-6).

Like all strength training exercises, you can include Shoulder Presses in your program 2 to 3 days per week on non-consecutive days.

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Michael Bento is an Advanced Trainer at the Clubs at Charles River Park. He holds a Masters degree in Human Movement and is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist.

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