The hammer strength shoulder press isn’t one of the most talked about shoulder movements but it is certainly one of the best.
This exercise works your shoulders and arms by isolating and strengthening the deltoid muscles and the triceps brachii.
It is done on a hammer strength shoulder press machine which provides progressive and variable resistance, meaning you can adjust the weight to suit your fitness goals, whether you are looking to achieve muscular strength, tone or endurance.
Required equipment: A hammer strength shoulder press machine.
- Set an appropriate weight and seat height on the machine.
- Sit on the seat, with your back flat and pressed to the back pad and your shoulders directly under the handle bars.
- Hold a handle in each hand.
- Use a hammer grip to grab the handles (i.e. your palms should face each other the whole time, even at the top position)
- Inhale and then tighten your core. Your body should be upright, with your back slightly arched.
- Exhaling, press the weight over your head as you extend your arms. Make sure your shoulders do not lock as you press the weight.
- Pause at the top of the movement before slowly lowering the handles back down. This is a complete rep.
- Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps each.
Since this machine allows for progressive overload, feel free to increase or reduce the number of sets and reps as you so see fit.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE HAMMER STRENGTH SHOULDER PRESS WORK?
This exercise focuses on the lateral and anterior heads of your deltoid muscles, which essentially are the sides and fronts of your shoulders.
The triceps brachii muscle at the back of your upper arms also contracts to extend your arms and straighten your elbows as you press the weight overhead.
Additionally, you engage your core when you are pressing so that your body is stabilized and your back is protected from unnecessary strain.
HAMMER STRENGTH SHOULDER PRESS BENEFITS
BLASTS YOUR DELTOIDS
This movement effectively targets your deltoids by isolating and strengthening them as you press the handles overhead and raise the weight.
This it does by making your shoulder muscles contract to support the weight.
PROTECTS YOUR BACK
The hammer strength shoulder press is a great way to work your upper body without hurting your back.
The seat on the machine has a back pad that is angled to protect your back from excessive tension.
EASY TO LEARN
The only technical knowledge you need to execute this exercise is how to operate the hammer strength shoulder press machine.
Once you learn how to use it, every other step is pretty straightforward.
This movement doesn’t just focus on your shoulders; it also works your triceps brachii which helps in elbow joint flexion as you press overhead and the core which stabilizes your body.
PREVENTS MUSCLE ASSYMETRY
The hammer strength shoulder press machine allows for the independent training of each arm since each handle moves independently of the other.
So if you’re keen on working each arm independently, this exercise can help you achieve that.
PROTECTS SHOULDER JOINT
Compared to other shoulder press machines, the hammer strength shoulder press machine does not overly restrict movement in your shoulder joint, which helps prevent injury in that area as you work out.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE HAMMER STRENGTH SHOULDER PRESS
SEATED BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS
The seated barbell shoulder press is an overhead press variation that builds shoulder muscle and strength.
How to do it:
- Adjust the barbell to bring it just below shoulder height.
- Load your desired weight onto the bar.
- Place an adjustable bench in an upright position below the bar.
- Sit on the bench and remove the bar from the rack using a pronated grip (with your palms facing away from your body and your knuckles on top of the bar).
- Inhale, brace your core, tuck your chin and then lower the bar to chest level.
- Exhale and press the bar to lockout.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
BARBELL UPRIGHT ROW
The barbell upright row is considered one of the best exercises for building muscle in the shoulders and the upper back.
It focuses on the front and medial deltoid heads, and the rhombus and trapezius muscles on your back.
How to do it:
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Grasp the barbell and let it hang in front of your body at the length of your arms.
- Make your palms face your body and position your hands to be in line with your thighs.
- Breathe in and brace your core.
- Keep your chest up and your back straight.
- Your eyes should be focused forward and your neck in a neutral position.
- Lift the barbell toward your chin as you breathe out.
- Keep the bar close to your body. Your arms should be parallel with your shoulders and not higher.
- Pause at the top of the movement.
- Lower the bar as you breathe in once again.
- Repeat as many times as you desire.
HAMMER STRENGTH SHOULDER PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID
LOCKING OUT AT THE TOP
Your shoulders should be tensed constantly as you raise and lower the weight.
If you lock out and rest at the top position, you will be releasing tension from your shoulders hence compromising the effectiveness of this exercise.
Keep your head looking forward the entire time. If you look down, you risk hurting your neck muscles and ruining your form.
NOT BRACING YOUR CORE
This movement requires a lot of stability to pull off.
So if you want to get the most out of it, be sure to keep your core nice and tight from start to finish.
THE FINAL WORD
As much as the hammer strength shoulder press is a powerful movement for strengthening your shoulders, it is wise to perform a variety of shoulder movements to prevent injuries that you may suffer as a result of overusing your muscles.
Changing up the exercises in your routine will also keep you from getting bored with your workouts.
Don’t forget to inform your doctor before getting started on this exercise in case you have a history of upper body pain.