Military Press

Military Press

How to overhead military press properly, with perfect form and technique! The best shoulder exercise to build bigger and stronger shoulders and delts!

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225 shoulder overhead military press

Page Contents:

Why Military Press?

The overhead Military Press is one of the most functional movements the human body can perform. Our bodies were designed to be able to both press and pull (pull-ups) overhead.

By improving your overhead pressing technique you can learn to better stabilize your shoulders during movement and build core stabilization strength. Which will carry over to improving numerous other exercises.

By having a strong overhead pressing ability your shoulders will be much more stable and be better protected from injury. Though it is a weaker movement compared to the Bench Press, it is still a highly valuable lift that must be utilized to build complete upper body strength.

Normally, the intensity will be low-moderate while the volume will be moderate-high. This is meant to build shoulder strength more often than testing it. Which can be harmful if not done correctly.

Dumbbell Military Press is another good variation of this exercise. And incline bench press can help to overload the shoulders in a safer position. But you still need to work on your barbell overhead military press to truly have a solid foundation of pressing strength.

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  • Teach Overhead Pressing Mechanics
  • Test Shoulder Strength and Stability
  • Build Shoulder Strength and Stability

Prime Movers:

  1. Triceps (Arms)
  2. Deltoids (Shoulders)
  3. Trapezius (Back)


  • Grip Width
  • Push-Press
  • The Jerk
  • Behind the Head

How To Overhead Military Press


  • Hands: Place your hands near shoulder width (somewhere within a range that your thumbs can touch your shoulders if extended) and wrap your thumbs around the bar. Create an external rotation torque to better position your elbows.
  • Feet: Set your feet directly under the bar, about shoulder-width or slightly wider.
  • Bar: Set the bar so it rests on your collar bones and deltoids.
  • Elbows: While maintaining an external rotation torque and keeping the bar in the middle of your palms, set your elbows out in front of the bar near a 10-30 degree angle.


  • Breathe: Suck in as much air as you can, and attempt to create as much intra-abdominal pressure as you can. This will help stabilize your spine, by pressing your lips closed, flexing all of the musculature surrounding your entire torso, and forcing the air deep down into your abdomen. This is known as the Valsalva Maneuver.
  • Lift-Off: Simultaneously extend your knees and hips to lift the bar just over the hooks.
  • Walk-Out: Slide your feet back about 6-12 inches one foot at a time, and set them in a shoulder-width or slightly wider stance.

Get Set

  • Feet: Claw and twist your feet into the ground to create an external rotation torque.
  • Hips: Flex your glutes to stabilize your hips.
  • Breathe: While keeping your entire body tight, again suck in as much air as you can and press it down deep into your abdomen increasing the intra-abdominal pressure. Hold this tightness throughout the lift.

Overhead Press

  • Head: While maintaining a neutral spine, pull your head back behind the bar.
  • Overhead Press: Press the bar overhead while allowing your elbows to flare out to the sides. As the bar passes in front of your face ensure that your elbows are directly underneath the bar through the rest of the press.
  • Lock-Out: To finish the motion push your head through so that your arms are next to your ears, or slightly behind, and the bar is directly over your mid-foot. The bar should be in line with your spine.
  • Return: To return safely, reverse the motion by pulling your head back, externally rotating your elbows in front of you and allowing the bar to be lowered with control back onto your collar bones and deltoids.

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Things to Remember

  • Hands: Eternally rotate at the base position while maintaining neutral wrists throughout.
  • Bar: The bar should rest on your collar bones and front deltoids at the base position.
  • Elbows: Stay in front of the bar at the base and flare out as you press.
  • Head: Neutral head position throughout. Pull back as you press and then push through, under the bar, to finish.
  • Stay Tight: Flex your glutes and brace your core throughout.

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