How To Do The Smith Machine Military Press Properly

The smith machine military press is a compound exercise that targets your shoulders and triceps. Compared to the standing shoulder press, the smith machine military press is safer since you do not fully stabilize the weight by yourself.

To perform this exercise, you will need a smith machine and a bench. It is advisable to use a bench that has back support to promote stability while performing the routine. Avoid loading the bar with heavyweights.

How to do the smith machine military press:

  • Start by sitting on the bench then adjust the bar on the smith machine so that it is a few inches above your head. When you extend your arms, you should be able to reach the bar.
  • Grasp the bar using an overhand grip. Ensure that the distance between your hands is wider than your shoulder- width. Your wrist and shoulders should be parallel to the bar. Maintain a flat back, keep your chest out, and tighten your core.
  • Remove the bar from the grips of the smith machine and raise it overhead until your arms are fully stretched. This marks your starting position.
  • While inhaling, lower the bar until it almost touches your clavicle.
  • Pause for a fleeting moment then gently raise the bar to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times for 3 sets.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE SMITH MACHINE MILITARY PRESS WORK?

SHOULDER MUSCLES

The smith machine military press primarily targets the shoulder muscles. The exercise works the anterior and lateral heads of the shoulder muscle. As a result, your shoulder strength and stability improve. Through consistency, you can achieve shoulder muscle mass, which accentuates your shoulders.

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TRICEPS

The smith machine military press engages your triceps. This plays a vital role in burning underarm fat and promoting arm strength. Moreover, strong triceps promotes stability to your arms and shoulders. Therefore, you become more flexible as you perform other variations of shoulder exercises.

UPPER CHEST MUSCLE

The smith machine military press strengthens and engages your upper pectorals. As a result, you develop momentum and upper body strength.

SMITH MACHINE MILITARY PRESS BENEFITS

ENHANCES STABILITY OF SHOULDER JOINTS

As mentioned earlier, the exercise mainly targets your shoulder muscles. Therefore, your shoulder muscles become bigger and stronger. As a result, your shoulder joints become stable. This plays a key role in minimizing shoulder pain and injury.

PROMOTES BALANCE BETWEEN ENERGY EXPENDITURE AND WORK WEIGHT

When performing the normal shoulder press, you use most of your energy to balance the weight on your shoulders. This results in unequal energy expenditure which leads to unproportioned growth of your shoulder muscles. However, while performing the smith machine military press, you experience balance on the weights, which promotes equal muscle gain on your shoulders. Moreover, you are able to perform the exercise from different shoulder angles with minimal strain.

IT IS SAFE

The smith machine military press is a safe exercise. Therefore, it is beginner-friendly. Moreover, the routine is suitable for the elderly. The workout does not exert excessive strain on your muscles. Besides, the smith machine has in-built safety features that prevent the bar from falling on you and causing injuries. The backrest of the bench also supports and stabilizes your back.

MAINTAINS CONSTANT TENSION IN YOUR MUSCLES

Throughout the entire exercise, you experience constant tension. This is beneficial since it promotes muscle strength and mass. Performing the exercise consistently rewards you with massive gains on your shoulders.

PROMOTES UPPER BODY STRENGTH 

The smith machine military press enhances upper body strength, hence improving physical and athletic performance. You do not experience strain while performing activities that involve pushing, holding, or lifting heavy objects. Besides, your performance at the gym improves since you are able to lift heavier weights. The upper body strength also enables you to engage in sports such as golf.

ALTERNATIVES TO SMITH MACHINE MILITARY PRESS

DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS

The dumbbell shoulder press is an excellent alternative since it strengthens and stabilizes your shoulder joints. You will need a pair of identical dumbbells and a bench to perform this exercise.

How to perform the dumbbell shoulder press:

  • Place the dumbbells on the sides of the bench. While sitting on the bench, grab the dumbbells at place them on your thighs. Place your back on the upright rest of the bench. Maintain a straight torso and secure your feet firmly on the floor.
  • While propelling your thighs raise the dumbbells one at a time so they are in line with your ears. Your elbows should bend at your sides. Rotate your wrists so that your palms face forward. This marks your starting position.
  • While exhaling, push the dumbbells upwards by fully extending your arms. Once at the top, the dumbbells should almost touch each other.
  • Pause briefly then lower the weights to the starting position in a slow and controlled motion. Do this while inhaling.
  • Repeat 10 times for 3 reps.

SMITH MACHINE MILITARY PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID

LOADING TOO HEAVY

Loading the bar with heavy weights can prevent you from executing the exercise effectively. Furthermore, you can become fatigued easily and fail to complete the desired reps in a set. Always start with lighter weights. This will enable you to perform the reps while maintaining a constant tension.

GOING TOO FAST

Moving too fast does not guarantee better results. Instead, it prevents you from working the targeted muscles. Always ensure that your movement is slow and controlled.

ARCHING YOUR BACK

While performing this machine avoid arching your back. This is because you are at risk of developing back pain due to the unwanted tension on your back. To avoid this, ensure that you maintain a straight back throughout the entire routine.

CONCLUSION  

The smith machine military press is a great routine to incorporate into your workout if you want to strengthen your shoulder muscles. If you are a beginner, you can have someone spot you while performing the routine. This will enable you to maintain a proper form and reduce the risk of injuries.