The Best Shoulder Press

The Best Shoulder Press

16, September 2014, posted by TriJake

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Seated or standing?  Barbell or dumbbells?  There are numerous ways that you can perform an overhead shoulder press, but which is the best way to do it?  I’m all about doing things the best and correct way.  If I’m going to bother doing it, I’m going to do it right and I’m going to stimulate that muscle the best way possible.  


Johnny Loreti – TriJake Fitness Personal Trainer

A recent study by Norwegian sports scientists tested experienced strength athletes through these 4 variations and found that subjects were able to lift more weight when they were seated as opposed to standing.  One would think that being able to handle more weight will results in greater muscle recruitment, but here it’s not the case.  

shoulder strength comparison

Even though subjects were able to handle more weight when they were seated, researchers found that when the athletes were standing, they experienced greater deltoid muscle recruitment.  Furthermore, those standing and performing the exercise with dumbbells as opposed to a barbell experienced greater deltoid activity.  The researchers also went one step further and tested activity in each deltoid head across the 4 variations (in case one part of the deltoid was being hit differently in one variation) and found that the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids all experienced the greatest amount of activity during a standing dumbbell press.

There are some risks associated when doing a standing press as you are only anchored by your two feet on the floor.  One must be careful when performing this exercise that they do not hyperextend their lower back and keep their body in proper alignment.  I always do this exercise with a split stance, having my stronger leg in front of the other to allow me to have the greatest amount of control.


anterior delt posterior delt medial delt


By: Johnny Loreti

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