Muscle group:   The shoulder muscles, the chest muscles, the arm muscles

Trained muscle:   Deltoid, Chest muscles, Triceps

Focused muscle:   Deltoid

Fitness level:   Beginner, advanced, experienced

Type of training:   Free weight exercises, machine exercises


 

Shoulder presses represent a very effective exercise for the front part of the deltoid muscle. Most variations also work out the chest muscles (especially the upper part), the triceps of the arm, and the upper part of the trapezius.

Shoulder presses

Shoulder presses exist in different variations. Basically we can distinguish between the front press and the neck press. Within the versions we could either work out on the machine or with free weights, like a barbell or dumbbells. Beginners should only work out on the shoulder press machine. Advanced and experienced athletes could also train on the multi press machine, racks, and with free weights.

Shoulder presses to the front

Shoulder presses to the front begin in upright sitting position. Your back rests on the back cushion of the bench. Grab the barbell slightly wider than shoulder width. The elbows point outward. Tense the trunk muscles and actively stabilize the wrists. Press the weight upward until your arms are almost extended. Lower the barbell again until your elbows have just passed shoulder height. The bar will be on the level of your mouth or nose right in front of your face.

Shoulder presses to the front on the incline bench

Shoulder presses to the front on the incline bench

 

Shoulder presses to front can also be performed sitting without back rest or in standing position. Especially here, it is important to keep the trunk muscles tensed and the pelvis erected to prevent a hollow back.

Shoulder presses to the front, free back

Shoulder presses to the front, free back

 

The exercise on the machine doesn’t require stabilization work since the resistance is moved in a fixed construction, what makes the training easier. The execution is similar.

Shoulder presses to the front on the machine

Shoulder presses to the front on the machine

 

Shoulder presses to the neck

Shoulder presses to the neck also have the same execution. But we now lower the weights toward the neck. Here, it is necessary to lean forward with the head slightly. Also keep the trunk muscles tensed and the back upright. In the lowest position the bar will be on the back of the head, but never below ear level.

Shoulder presses to the neck on the incline bench

Shoulder presses to the neck on the incline bench

 

Shoulder presses to the neck, free back

Shoulder presses to the neck, free back

 

Shoulder presses to the neck on the rack

Shoulder presses to the neck on the rack

 

For shoulder presses with dumbbells we don’t move the weights to the front or neck. The weight sits rather centered on shoulder level.

Shoulder presses with dumbbells

Shoulder presses with dumbbells

 

Also the exercise bench press trains the deltoid, especially in the incline version. In all variations of the shoulder or bench press don’t lower the bar too far. If your elbows go to far below shoulder level the pressure for the soft tissues of the shoulder joints gets to high what could cause complaints or injuries in the shoulder.


Stretching: Shoulder stretches

 

 

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