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How to: Do a Shoulder Press


Shoulder Press - Front

Name:  Shoulder Press

Also known as:  Overhead press

Main muscles used:  Shoulders, triceps

Other muscles used:  Stomach, back.

Top tips:

  • The bar/weight should move almost dead vertically.
  • At the bottom, the bar/weight should be as close to the centreline of the body as possible.
  • At the top, the bar/weight should be directly over the back of the head.
  • The belly and back should be strong, tight and stable at all times.
  • Lock your arms straight at the top of the move.

Shoulder Press - Side

Common mistakes:

  • Pushing the bar/weight up and angled forwards, so it finishes over the front of your head.
  • Collapsing the spine and sticking the belly forwards and bum back,  at the top of the move.
  • Holding the bar/weight out too far in front and away from the centreline of the body.


From a purely health point of view, we should all make sure we do exercises that involve our hands up high in the air.  Otherwise there is an increased risk of reduced function and stiffness of the shoulders.  A good shoulder press can help maintain/increase mobility of the shoulders and improve balance, “core” strength and stability.

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