One of the areas that have always bothered me has been my shoulder and upper back area.
I hate it when I have fat poking out from underneath my sports bra!
But I’ve found that this exercise has helped harden and tone my shoulders and upper back region to where I have a nice shape and form.
The exercise that we are going to look at today is the overhead or military press.
This exercise is a power movement where a barbell (some prefer dumbbells) is pushed overhead from the shoulders and then back at the starting position.
I’ve found that the best way to do this exercise is to do it standing up so that the whole body can stabilize the lift.
In doing it this way, your whole body gets a bit of a workout too as the stabilizing muscles of your body have to work too in order to keep everything straight.
Other Names for The Military or Overhead Press
The overhead press has many names. It is sometimes called a press or shoulder press. It can also be called a barbell or dumbbell press. Some people even call it a military press.
It doesn’t matter what you call this exercise. It’s a great way to strengthen and tone the deltoids or shoulders.
Should women do overhead presses?
I say “Yes!”
You won’t get big, bulky shoulders by doing this exercise. That only comes when you use extremely heavy weights.
So let’s get going and look at how to do this exercise!
The Barbell Overhead Press
If you are just starting out, and find it really difficult to do the standing press, you can always do the seated barbell military press.
Then, when you are strong enough to do the workout standing up, go for it!
It won’t take you very long to get used to the exercise. I think it only took me a week or two to get used to doing the exercise in a standing position. But for now, the seated workout will do.
- Sit on a bench, feet flat on the floor, chin up and back straight. Pick up the barbell (use really light weight at the start, until you are comfortable with the movement) and put it on top of your chest/shoulders. Your grip must be wider than your shoulders and must form a 90 degree angle.
- As you push the barbell up, you have to exhale through your mouth. Do the movement with a jerk while maintaining the initial body requirements. Do not lock your elbows though – just extend your arms up. As you go down and back to starting position, you have to inhale. Remember to do it slowly so that you feel the contraction. This is how the shoulder muscles will get toned.
- Do 8 to 12 repetitions at 2 to 3 sets. Slightly increase weight of the barbell at the beginning of every set. Make sure that you use really light weights to start out. After you are used to the movement, you can always increase the weight.
The dumbbell press is more difficult than the barbell press, as the elbows always seem to want to come in closer in to the body, which reduces how much the shoulders actually get worked.
I would suggest using the barbell version of this lift to get started, and then you can always add a dumbbell version to your workout later.
So make sure that you add some shoulder presses to your workout and it won’t be long until you start seeing a gorgeous shape appear in the mirror!