The military press is a superb lift to strengthen the shoulders and the upper back. It is a well known compound lift. The main target of this lift is the Anterior Deltoids. Since it is a compound lift, it uses many muscles as synergists to aid the target muscles in their lift. Among these are the Pectoralis Major, Clavicular Triceps, Brachii Deltoid, Lateral Trapezius, Middle Trapezius, and Lower Serratus Anterior. The Triceps, Biceps Brachii, Upper Trapezius, and Levator Scapulae serve to stabilize the lift. Performing this basic lift in the gym will earn you street cred with your old school peers.


Use an overhand grip to either remove the barbell from a rack or clean it off the floor. Your grip should be slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. Hold the barbell in front of your neck, with your elbows cocked. The weight should be supported by your shoulders and your upper arms at this point.
Press the bar over your head until arms your arms are almost completely extended, do not lock your elbows. Because the starting position of the barbell is against your neck, this move is not a true up and down press. You have to move the barbell around your head and it helps to lean your head back a bit. Lower the barbell slowly back to the starting position.

If you have never done this lift before, it is a good idea to start with a weight you think you could lift 15-20 times.

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