Seated Barbell Military Press

The Military Press is arguably one of the best shoulder exercises available to budding weight lifters. Whilst it’s relatively simple to perform, it’s very effective and also targets the triceps as well as shoulders. Views are divided on whether it’s best to perform the exercise seated or standing but both methods are just as effective.


Also known as: Shoulder press, military press
Primary muscles: Shoulders
Secondary muscles Triceps
Equipment needed: Barbell (3/4 length is best)
Level: Beginner / Intermediate

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1 – Starting position

seated barbell military pressLoad up a ¾ length barbell with weights you can handle and place it on the ground at the end of a flat bench. As you’re likely to be using heavy weights for this, to avoid any injuries, pick up the barbell using the same technique as a deadlift but continue the movement up to chest height by quickly flicking the wrists as the barbell reaches your waist. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder width. Walk slowly back to the bench and carefully sit down on the edge.

Step 2 – upward movement

From the starting position, exhale and push the bar in a straight line over your head in one explosive movement. Inhale and slowly lower the bar following the same path back to the starting position.

Step 3 – returning the barbell to the floor

Once you have finished your set, keep the bar at collarbone height, slowly stand up and let the bar drop to the waist, controlling it through the movement, flicking the wrists back until the barbell is back at waist height, arms fully extended. Lower using the same movement as the deadlift, i.e. by pushing your hips back, lowering the bar in a straight line, keeping your back straight, until the weights gently touch the ground.

image credits: fitness illustrated

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