Seated Barbell Military Press for Shoulder Workout

Do you want to build some muscle on your shoulders? Seated barbell military press is the way.

It is similar to the dumbbell shoulder press in the movement, but as far as results I think this one is even better to build that good looking rounded shape on your shoulders.

It's a little bit more complicated to execute for some "mechanic" reasons because handling a barbell usually creates some more problems than using dumbbells.

First of all imagine how to get in the start position if you don't have someone to help you. I suggest you to do the exercise at a bench with a rack so you can grasp the bar and put it down by yourself.

I do it at the multi power machine, the same that you would use to do free squats. It's equipped with hooks at different heights which is very helpful.

Seated Barbell Military Press Details



EQUIPMENT: Seated Bench with Rack, Barbell

TYPE: Compound


Seated barbell military press works your whole shoulders, plus triceps (like every time you push, remember?) and also traps.

I would include also yours abs as you really have to keep your core tight to avoid arching your back under the weight of the barbell.

Seated Barbell Military Press


INITIAL POSITION: Sit on a bench with your feet flat on the ground. Keep your back straight (chest out, belly in, lower back absolutely not curved). Grasp a barbell loaded with the desired weights, grip wider than your shoulders (to make a 90 degree angle between arms and forearms). The initial position of the barbell is low, almost touching your upper chest, basically shoulder height.

MOVEMENT: Push up the weight with an explosive movement, over your head till you almost extend your arms, but don't lock your elbows. Feel the contraction of your shoulder muscles, and then lower the bar slowly, to the initial position.

BREATHING: Exhale when you press the bar up, inhale while you lower it again.

TIPS and ERRORS: Ok, the preparation for the exercise sounds easy if you do it with an unloaded bar, but when you start adding weight you'll find it quite hard, and dangerous. You need someone to help you, sometimes you need two people, one on each side, just to pass you the bar. What I use is the multi power machine, and I just bring a bench over there. I position the barbell at the right height and then I load it. It's safe and you don't need to disturb two guys just for that. You can also use a bench with back support, but it should be lower than your head. You need to be able to move your head a little bit if you don't want to hit your nose with the bar!


Seated barbell bench press can be executed in a few different ways, for example:

  • Behind the head seated barbell military press
  • Standing barbell military press

For the first one, the start position is with the bar behind your head and it'll work more the rear deltoids, while the standing military press is just an alternative.

Some people like to do it seated, others like to do it standing. We're not all the same!


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