How To Do Seated Barbell Shoulder Press Properly

If you are aiming for chiselled, toned arms, your shoulders are a critical muscle group to pay attention to. One excellent way to do this is performing seated barbell shoulder press exercise.

This routine will help to train your upper body and is a great variation of the standard overhead press. Make use of it to spice up your shoulder training programme.

So long as you have access to the right equipment, this exercise can be one of the most effective shoulder exercises for your shoulders.

Inasmuch as it resembles the shoulder press, its key is in how you will position and move your arms and elbows.

In this article, we will unpack this exercise and look at the right form to do it, the benefits it comes with, its alternative exercises and common mistakes to watch out for, for maximum benefits.

HOW TO DO SEATED BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS PROPERLY

Below is a detailed step-by-step guide from set up to performing this exercise.

SET UP

Begin the set-up phase with your feet on the ground at shoulder-width apart. Point both your knees and toes outwards.

Drive your heels on the ground and maintain a firm upper back and butt pressed against the back of the bench.

With your hands at approximately shoulder-width apart, and your wrists directly above your elbows, grip the bar with your hands.

Be sure that your wrists are at the bottom and not your fingers as you grasp the bar.

PRESSING DOWN

Take a deep breath and contract both your abs and glutes while pushing your chest out. In a straight line, bring the bar down to your chest.

Remember to keep the bar close to your chest and your elbows directly tucked underneath your hands close to your sides.

In order to succeed at moving the bar down to your chest in a straight line, you will need to tilt your head backwards, out of the way. Additionally, keep your face looking forward and not up towards the ceiling.

Naturally, you will find your back bending or arching during this movement. If you notice this and feel any pain, consider reducing the number of weights you are using.

PRESSING UP

Slightly tilt your head back in order to allow the bar to pass your chin and push it (the bar) straight up.

For power and stability, consider driving your feet into the floor. Additionally, contract your shoulders, back and core through-out the routine.

Continue raising the bar above your head until your elbows lock.

This is one rep. continue for the desired number of reps.

COMMON SEATED BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID

Steer clear of the following common mistakes in order to avoid injury and increase effectiveness of the seated barbell shoulder press exercise.

CHEAT REPS

Avoid not using the full range of motion during the lifting movement as this is considered a cheat rep.

Most lifters tend to lift the weight through a 90-degree arm reach, which is barely past the top of the head. This is however very dangerous because it will only engage half of the muscles that are targeted by the routine.

FLARING OUT YOUR ELBOWS

Avoid flaring your elbows at any point of this routine as this will cause shoulder and wrist pains.

Always have the elbows under the bar throughout the lifts and slightly in front of the bar throughout the bottom reps.

FACING UP

Try as much as you can to resist the temptation of watching as the bar move up as this can lead to serious neck injuries.

Instead, if you feel you really need to see it going up, consider performing the exercise in front of a mirror.

SEATED BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS MUSCLES WORKED

The seated barbell shoulder press is one of the big compound lifts which hit numerous muscles such as shoulders, trap and delts at the same time.

Let us have a look at the muscles that get worked by this routine.

ANTERIOR DELTOID

This is the biggest of the deltoid muscles that is located at the front of the shoulder.

Muscle activation of this part is greatest during the raising of the bar movement.

LATERAL DELTOID

Commonly known as the side deltoid, this muscle is the second most activated muscle in this exercise.

It serves to lift the arms out to the side, and also helping to press the barbell above the head.

POSTERIOR DELTOID

Also known as the rear deltoid, this muscle is located at the back of the shoulder and is often overlooked during training routines.

It is important to work it with exercises such as this in order to avoid muscle imbalance.

TRAPEZIUS

Commonly known as traps, this muscle is among the largest muscle groups in the body. It helps in most pulling exercise but in the case of the seated barbell shoulder press, it helps to keep your shoulders stable while you finish the exercise.

PECTORALIS MAJOR

You will be required to fully engage your pecs while lifting the barbell in this routine. Continuous performance of this exercise will help develop a more defined chest.

CORE

You will equally be required to engage your core in order to keep your body in a stable upright position while seated on the bench.

TRICEPS

In order to lift the barbell up while doing this exercise, you will need to activate your triceps. While doing this, all the three heads of this muscles will get worked.

BENEFITS OF SEATED BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS

This routine will give you stronger shoulder muscles and strength as you lift the barbell.

It is a compound exercise that gets to work other parts of the body other than the targeted ones. Such supporting parts that also get a work include legs.

The seated position involved in this routine enforces strict form. Doing this constantly will eventually lead to improved sitting form.

In this routine, there is less risk to tweaking and injuring the back compared to the standing presses.

ALTERNATIVES TO SEATED BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS

TURKISH-GET UP

The Turkish- get up is one popular exercise that can act as an alternative to this exercise since it works the same group of muscles. However, it uses dumbbells or kettlebell.

PUSH-UPS

Regular push-ups are other alternatives to the seated barbell shoulder press. They also work the same group of muscles. The only difference is that it uses bodyweight as its resistance.

TAKE AWAY

Building stronger shoulders sure needs a lot of work and patience. Follow the highlights in this article to ensure you not only improve your shoulders, but also do it in the right way.