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Shoulder press: bodybuilding exercises

Shoulder press: bodybuilding exercises


This month we continue our tour of basic bodybuilding movements with the barbell shoulder press.

The aim of this movement is to develop the musculature of the deltoids as a whole. It's considered a basic movement because it involves several joints, namely the elbow and shoulder, and calls on the three fascicles that make up the latter.

Muscles travaillés en développé épaules

The free bar neck press

Let's take a look at how to perform the shoulder press correctly. This movement is highly effective for the overall development of the deltoids, but it is also one of the most injury-prone. These injuries generally involve the rotator cuff, which stabilizes the shoulder joint.

On a special bench, with the bar resting on the stanchions behind your head, grip the bar so that the distance between your arms is the same on each side.

In this position, make sure your back is firmly against the backrest, then unhook the bar from the support and extend it towards the ceiling so that your arms are straight.

Then bend the elbows to bring the bar up to the nape of the neck. The shoulder blades tighten and the ribcage opens.

The descent should be slow and controlled to limit the risk of injury. It's also advisable to avoid tilting the head forward, as this places considerable stress on the nape of the neck.

In this low position, push the bar up explosively, keeping the trajectory as vertical as possible.

This movement can be performed with heavy loads, but it's best to use a load you can control to limit the risk of injury to the rotator cuff.

Guided barbell bench press

The guided barbell neck press is much safer than the free bar movement. The fact that the trajectory is defined and imposed prevents the user from losing control of the bar due to muscular fatigue. This imposed trajectory limits the risk of injury to the rotator cuff.

the movement is performed in much the same way as with the free bar. With your back braced against the back of a bench and slightly forward of the bar, unhook the bar and, while controlling the descent, bring the bar up to the nape of your neck.

From this position, push the bar back to return to the straight-arm position.

Involving fewer stabilizing muscles than the free version, this movement is nonetheless highly effective and, above all, safer.

Dumbbell shoulder press

The dumbbell version is similar to the free-bar version in that the stimulation it provokes in the deltoids is more complete than with a guided bar.

Sit with your back against the back of a bench, a dumbbell in each hand.

Bring the dumbbells up to shoulder level, elbows bent and palms facing forward.

From this position, raise the dumbbells above your head, keeping as far as possible in line with your shoulders.

In this position, slowly lower the dumbbells back to their initial position, i.e. on either side of the shoulders.

This movement, like the free barbell press, calls on a number of auxiliary muscles responsible for stabilizing the deltoids. It's therefore the ideal alternative to the barbell for complete shoulder development.

There are other variations, such as the front bar press, which is performed like a neck press, but with the bar passing in front of the face and lowered to the level of the collarbones. Or bench presses performed on machines, which are safer than free weights.

All these movements are great ways to vary the pleasures and work the deltoids to get a great build.

Take your pick from this range, changing movements from time to time to shock your muscles and encourage them to adapt as they grow.

Author Alexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers