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How to Strenthen Your Shoulders with a Military Press

June 4, 2019 by

While doing a military press may look pretty easy, there is actually a very specific form you need to follow in order for it to be effective. This is the move where you are pressing weights starting at your shoulders and lifting them above your head.

This is a great exercise to do if you want to tone your muscles, however, if you do it incorrectly, you can put yourself at risk for an injury. But if you do this move correctly, you can get the strong, sexy shoulders that you desire.

So what is the best way to maneuver this exercise?

You can start either sitting or standing, as long as your neck is long and straight and your arms are out to your sides, open, and your elbows are at a 90 degree angle and pointed toward floor. Engage your core and lift your hands straight up above your head, until your arms are fully straightened and extended and your palms are facing forward. Then, lower your back to your starting position, making sure that your hands remain higher than your shoulders and you are squeezing your shoulder blades together and downward during every rep.

You should try to complete three sets of 8 to 12 reps of this exercise for best results. If your last 3 reps are not difficult, increase your weights or your reps, but don’t exceed 20 reps.

If you need to add weight, hold your dumbbells or get a barbell and hold it in the same position, as long as your weights are remaining in front of your body so you avoid the risk of damaging your neck or rotator cuff. Make sure that the weight at the height of your movement and your elbows as they are descending never end up leaning behind your head.

The military press is beneficial to your strength because they’re mainly a shoulder exercise, but they also work your other arm muscles like your triceps. If you want to incorporate some balancing activities into this move, you can do military presses while standing on uneven surfaces. If you want to add in some cardio, you can do the military press as part of a circuit. However, this strength exercise is typically just for gaining strength in your shoulders.

While there are a lot of shoulder exercises that you could do, the military press requires you to do the major functional movement of pressing at your shoulders, which allows you to lift a higher amount of weight than other shoulder strengthening exercises like simple raises.

However, just because this is a very basic move, it can easily be done wrong, which can largely increase your risk for becoming injured. Also, doing military presses too often may lead to shoulder issues, such as tearing or damaging your rotator cuff. If you have any kind of shoulder issues or pain in your shoulders, this is not an exercise that you should do, as it will only further your injury.

However, doing military presses shouldn’t be your first option when it comes to shoulder moves. You need to build up your strength in your major muscles so that you can safely hold your weight above your head without possibly damaging your rotator cuff. If you are doing a full body workout, go ahead and skip this exercise because you will benefit more from working on the larger muscle groups such as your chest and back.

However, this move does benefit you when you add it to your regular upper-body workout routine. This is an ideal exercise to add to a superset or HIIT routine, along with chest exercises such as flies or presses, back exercises, and bicep curls.

If you’re a beginner, start without weights. Once your biomechanics are perfected, do the move with some dumbbells, a barbell, or even a resistance band. Start by doing this move while you’re sitting in order to keep yourself stable before doing the exercise standing up.

This exercise will help strengthen and tone your shoulders, as long as you are careful to do it correctly. You don’t want to do this exercise without the proper form because you will be putting yourself at risk for injury.

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