Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Traps, Triceps
Target Muscle Group


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press Overview

The seated barbell shoulder press is a variation of the overhead press and an exercise used to build shoulder strength and muscle.

Vertical press variations, such as the seated barbell shoulder press, are crucial movement patterns to train and should be incorporated into your workout routines. So, experiment with the variations until you find one that feels comfortable for you to perform and continue to work on it.

The seated barbell shoulder press can be included in your shoulder workouts, push workouts, upper body workouts, and full body workouts.

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press Instructions

  1. Adjust the barbell to just below shoulder height while standing then load the desired weight onto the bar.
  2. Place an adjustable bench beneath the bar in an upright position.
  3. Sit down on the bench and unrack the bar using a pronated grip.
  4. Inhale, brace, tuck the chin, then lower the bar to the top of your chest.
  5. Exhale and press the bar back to lockout.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press Tips

  1. Reach tall at the top and don’t worry about keeping the shoulders packed down and back.
  2. Allow the elbows to rotate and point outward at the top of the movement but tuck them tight to the ribcage at the bottom.
  3. Fight to control the bar from rolling your wrists into extension and think about “rolling your knuckles toward the ceiling.”
  4. Brace your abs as you press, you shouldn’t be leaning back excessively.
  5. Imagine you’re trying to look out a window at the top, your ears should be in line with your biceps.
  6. If your shoulders are bothering you during the movement, consider experimenting with a wider grip or utilizing some of the vertical pressing progressions listed on the site.
Posted on: Tue, 01/23/2024 - 17:30

Question, which of the delts does this concentrate on?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/29/2024 - 19:32

Hey John, answer. Primarily the front delts, but all three parts are involved.

Posted on: Fri, 02/07/2020 - 19:58

The narrator says to tuck the chin, but the guy in the video doesn't tuck his chin.

Instead, he looks up, which is the opposite of tucking the chin.

Posted on: Mon, 10/20/2014 - 16:53


Posted on: Sat, 11/09/2013 - 11:56

What is a good alternative for this exercise? I had rotator cuff surgery a year ago and my Dr. said I should never do these.

Posted on: Fri, 05/24/2013 - 01:06

im looking to get mass, not really the " cut " look. but im looking to get mass how can I do that.. do I do more weight less reps or less weight more reps?

Posted on: Thu, 03/21/2013 - 17:15

Steve or anyone!

Is there any supplements on chest dips? What can I do instead of that?


Posted on: Wed, 03/20/2013 - 04:01

I have to say, as much as I like this exercise, it can easily lead to a shoulder injury if you are pushing those last reps in your last set. Which Is why now I prefer to do Arnold presses because its easier on the joints.

Posted on: Wed, 01/02/2013 - 20:31

I have kinda bad shoulders, I've also heard that this exercise can be harmful to your shoulders? I'm wondering if I should stay away from these or not?

Posted on: Thu, 01/24/2013 - 21:07

Zach; i heard the same thing. Any alternatives out there?

Posted on: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 22:58


Hey man, check the reflection.

Posted on: Sat, 12/08/2012 - 11:04

Not sure how you guys can consider yourself expert in weight lifting. The guy in this video has nothing supporting his back.

Posted on: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 22:56

In reply to your comment, John, the guy in the video does have something supporting his back. He is against the back support of the bench. Check his reflection in the mirror.

Posted on: Sat, 09/22/2012 - 17:29

So why would one do this, as opposed to a military press? It's a bit against my weight lifting religion to do sitting what I can do standing, but if there's a good reason to do this version instead (assuming there are no pathologies that would argue one way or the other), I'd love to hear it.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 09/26/2012 - 16:20

There really is no right nor wrong choice. Seated variations provide some extra stability, but it all comes down to personal preference.

Posted on: Sun, 12/23/2012 - 22:25

The standing overhead press uses more muscle groups than the seated version. You have to use your abs and legs more to keep your balance, the military version is with your feet together, which makes keeping your balance even harder.

Posted on: Wed, 09/10/2014 - 20:28

Not enough height in my basement. Otherwise the military press it is.

Posted on: Sun, 09/09/2012 - 15:43

What are floor dumbbell presses?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 09/21/2012 - 11:05
Posted on: Tue, 08/28/2012 - 23:12

What's the difference between this one and Military Press?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 08/30/2012 - 15:25

The standing variation is called a military press.

Posted on: Fri, 08/10/2012 - 19:23

Could i use a smith machine for this workout?

Ricky G.
Posted on: Sat, 05/19/2012 - 10:17

If im not a be begginer what would be the right amount of reps per set. What will be the adquate weight? I've been working out for 4 years now and I really want to get to that next level. Thanks for your help!

Sam L.
Posted on: Wed, 07/11/2012 - 11:54

Best thing to do is just start light, see what you can do and then adjust your workout from there. Keep a journal of your workouts for a while (if not always) so that you can look back and see what you did last time. Take notes when you're working out and write down if it was too light, just right or too heavy. Having a workout partner to spot you and help you through those last few reps that you just can't quite obtain is a great help too. AND DON'T neglect your legs! :-)