How to do a Barbell Shoulder Press

Authored by Fitbod

About Barbell Shoulder Press

Sets Logged
3,139,864
Popularity Rank
48th
Difficulty
Intermediate
Shoulders Strength
97 mSCORE 8th
Equipment Required
Primary Muscles
Secondary Muscles

Instructions: How To

Barbell Shoulder Press is a compound exercise that primarily targets your shoulders. By using a barbell instead of other pieces of equipment, you can add more stability to the movement, which allows you to focus more on exertion rather than stability. This is one of the best exercises for developing vertical pressing strength.

  1. Place the barbell at shoulder height and grab ahold the barbell shoulder-width apart.
  2. Quarter squat underneath the barbell and place the barbell on your upper chest.
  3. Turn your elbows underneath the barbell so that your forearms are vertical and your palms face upward before unracking the barbell and taking a step back.
  4. Begin to extend your arms overhead by pressing through your palms to lift the barbell vertically.
  5. The barbell should be aligned with your ears at full arm extension before descending it back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes

  • Leaning Back

    Leaning back can help you lift a bit more weight, or finish off a difficult set. However, it also reduces the effectiveness of the exercise, and increases the risk of injury. Keep your back straight, core engaged, and gaze forward to help prevent this.

  • Narrow Base

    Since you aren’t lifting with your lower body, it’s very common to take a neutral standing position with your feet close together. As you raise the weight overhead, this can lead to losing balance and increases your risk of injury. Keep your feet slightly wider, and your core engaged to help you remain stable throughout the exercise.

Sets & Reps: How many to do

Use this calculator to see Fitbod's possible first recommendations for you. This would be your starting line, based on more than 4.5 billion logged sets from 1.1 million users.

  • beginner
    8
    reps
    40
    lbs
    1 Rep Max
    50
    lbs
  • intermediate
    8
    reps
    50
    lbs
    65
    lbs
  • advanced
    8
    reps
    60
    lbs
    75
    lbs

Enter your stats to calculate your Sets & Reps