4 Step By Step Shoulder Press Exercises - Ultimate Guide 

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Shoulder workouts are madly popular

Shoulder exercises are undoubtedly one of the most popular parts of a workout session, not least because they’re the key to giving you that ripping physic that you see on TV and is ranted about by almost every health freak worth his/her salt.

However, just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean that it’s a cakewalk, with dedication and discipline the two important keys to cracking these shoulder press workouts, or any kind of exercises for that matter.

And to top it all, shoulder presses are the best way to isolate the deltoid (the big muscle over your shoulder), while studies have also proven that shoulder presses are way more proficient at activating the deltoid than bench presses – an equally popular upper body exercising regime.

So, whether you rely on dumbbells, barbells or the sheer weight of your body, here are some effective shoulder workout tips for you to consider.


#1 Standing Dumbbell Press

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The Standing Dumbbell Press is undoubtedly one of the most classic exercises and is perfect for beginners who want to get their fitness goals going. Choose your weight selection in accordance with how challenging you want your workout to be.

Step 1

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and raise them to shoulder height. It’s important that your knuckles face out to the sides, meaning that the dumbbells should be parallel to your feet. Make sure you rest the dumbbell against your shoulder.

Step 2

Raise the dumbbell straight up towards the ceiling until your elbows are straight while keeping your knuckles pointed to the sides.

Step 3

Bring the dumbbells back down to your shoulders.

Important Tip: Start with 3-5 sets of between 4-8 reps each.

Next Up: Weight Plate Press

#2 Weight Plate Press

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People who are used to raising dumbbells as opposed to weight plates are going to find this a challenge, but once you’re used to it, it’ll be a cake walk.

Step 1

Stand up and grip the sides of your weight plate. Raise the plate up and over your head while making sure your head isn’t touching the plate.

Step 2

Raise the plate all the way until your arms are straight.

Step 3

Lower the plate to about an inch from your head. Proceed to repeat the steps.

Important Tip: Begin with 4 sets of 8-10 reps.

Next Up: Arnold Press

#3 Arnold Press

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No prizes for guessing after which iconic action superstar cum bodybuilder this press was named after. The Arnold press is an incarnation of the standing dumbbell press, only more Schwarzeneggerisque.

Step 1

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and take a seat on a bench or any other surface that promises sturdiness. Bring the dumbbells face-level while making sure that your fingers are facing you, similar to a boxing stance.

Step 2

Raise the dumbbells up and give them a twist mid-air so that your knuckles now face you by the time you reach the top.

Step 3

Lower the dumbbells while twisting your arms back in their starting position.

Important Tip: Begin with 4 sets of 8-10 reps.

Next Up: Barbell Shoulder Press

#4 Barbell Shoulder Press

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Once you’re done with the easier stuff, it’s time to graduate to some serious shoulder training – which is exactly what the Barbell Shoulder Press offers.

Step 1

Hold the barbell in both hands while standing or seated. Ensure that your hands are gripping the knurling – the rough part of the barbell, with the increased friction helping enhance one's grip. Hold the bar at neck level with your elbows tucked against your sides.

Step 2

Raise the barbell up. Make sure you keep your elbows completely straight so that when the barbell’s up, it’s directly over your body.

Step 3

Cap things off by lowering the bar and bring it back down to neck level. Make sure your elbows are tucked against your side.

Important Tip: Begin with 4 sets of 8-10 reps.

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Edited by Akhilesh Tirumala