Smith Machine Shoulder Press Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Machine
  • Compound
  • Push
  • Beginner
  • Triceps
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Shoulders Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. Set up for the smith machine shoulder press by setting a bench down in the smith machine and adjusting the back to a 90 degree angle.
  2. Now sit down on the bench and adjust the position so that the bar comfortably comes down just in front of your face.
  3. Next, add the weight you want to use and sit down on the bench.
  4. Un-rack the weights and bend your elbows slightly. This is the starting position for the movement.
  5. Slowly lower the weight down until the bar is just below chin height, pause, and then raise the bar back to the starting position without locking your elbows out at the top of the movement.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.

​Shoulder Press Tips:

  1. The smith machine shoulder press is a viable option for moving heavy weight without a spotter.
  2. Don't lock your elbows out at the top of the movement.
  3. Always warm up first to lower your risk of shoulder injury.
  4. Always lower the bar below your chin to complete a long range of motion.

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16 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 03/02/2016 - 02:55
Oscar Cruz

How many reps & sets?

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Posted Sat, 10/15/2016 - 06:52

depends on ur program and goals

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Posted Mon, 11/11/2013 - 14:29
down votes

why are there so many down votes

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Posted Sat, 04/20/2013 - 07:09

this is for deltoid anterior head

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Posted Sat, 04/20/2013 - 07:08

You should write, what main muscle group ,ok its shoulders but which part of the shoulder.... in this exercises is deltoid anterior head, like that

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Posted Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:23
ramon lopez

huh i hear the shoulder press of dumbbell that is same is military barbell press but i do two thing of combination between dumbbell and barbell also i don't do smith machine of barbell military press but also i do with dumbbell as shoulder press seat. yea i love shoulder press dumbbell because is gave the pump of the mass building to get hard cycle mass on it.

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Posted Sat, 12/22/2012 - 00:29

I dont have a smith machine at my gym, are there any other exercies i can do similiar to this one?

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Posted Tue, 11/06/2012 - 21:37

A guy at the gym suggested instead of doing a smith shoulder press, I should do a standing shoulder press, one rep on the front, then back.

Shouldn't I be doing free weights rather than using a Smith Machine? Other than balancing, what is the advantage of using a Smith Machine VS free weights?

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Posted Sun, 04/02/2017 - 19:00

You utilize more muscles when you use free weights, but people tend to cheat or have bad form when doing so, and if you use too much weight or bad form or rotating backwards or forwards too far you can cause a major shoulder injury. Using a Smith Machine makes it easier to target the shoulders and to push more weight usually in better form. It's best to start on the Smith Machine if you're starting off on working the shoulders (Like within the first 4-6 weeks) to focus on form and building strength, and then alternate between both forms (since they both have their own benefits).

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Posted Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:58

I have done some Crossfit work in recent history and my trainer always emphasized "active shoulders" meaning to continue to push through with your shoulder muscles when doing things like push presses. Why is that we should not lock out our elbows while doing this exercise?

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Posted Wed, 10/17/2012 - 13:54
Satya Prakash


I see many replies for various queries here in the website. Here is my 1st question:-
This exercise and military press look same. Can I use only one from here:

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Posted Mon, 09/03/2012 - 20:46

is there a substitute for this?

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Posted Tue, 09/04/2012 - 14:16

Seated barbell or dumbbell press.

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Posted Sun, 06/09/2013 - 15:15
Darlene Christianson

What is a substitute for this exersize?

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Posted Mon, 07/02/2012 - 11:05

No smith machine at gym. replaced it with seated dumbbell press is it just fine?

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Posted Tue, 05/01/2012 - 03:02

can i replace this workout by doing pushups while hanging ?