How to Use a Shoulder Press Machine: 7 Best Shoulder Exercises You Can Do Using This Machine

Guide to the best shoulder exercises using shoulder press machine. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)
Guide to the best shoulder exercises using shoulder press machine. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)

More often than not, the best shoulder exercises use the shoulder press machine. This machine is usually available in most gyms. If you have access to it, you must incorporate it in your workout routine.

This machine allows you to focus on your shoulders, but as it’s a compound movement, it also works on the triceps. Additionally, for someone who is just beginning to weight train, the shoulder press machine is a better way to understand the posture and stability required for overhead presses.

Correct way to use Shoulder Press machine

Set the machine in such a way that when you sit on the bench, your feet should touch the ground, and your back is straight. Moreover, the bar should come slightly in front of your face, just enough for you to be able to hold it and push it upwards.


Adjust the weight as per your strength, and slowly push the bar overhead. When you start, your elbows should be bent, and it should not be locked at the top of the movement.

If you’re going heavy, you can first bring the bar below your chin before pushing it upwards for the momentum. Finally, control the negative when you lower the bar.

Best shoulder exercises with Shoulder Press machine

While the exercises you can do with the Shoulder Press machine are limited, the following list provides seven variations of the limited exercises you can perform:

1) Shoulder Press

This is the basic movement you can do with the Shoulder Press machine. This is essentially what is described above. In fact, this exercise is the foundational one for which the shoulder press machine exists.

Shoulder press is one of the best shoulder exercises regardless of whether you are using dumbbells, barbell or the Shoulder Press machine.

2) Reverse Shoulder Press

The Reverse Shoulder Press is one of the best shoulder exercises for mass and muscle endurance.

To do it on a Shoulder Press machine, sit facing the machine, and gently touch your forehead to the back support. Ensure that your feet are firmly on the ground before pushing the bar overhead to do the shoulder press.


3) Single Hand Shoulder Press

If you want to work on one arm at a time, the Shoulder Press machine makes that possible as well.

Essentially, you’re doing the shoulder press but with one hand. You can keep the free hand near your core muscles for balance. Moreover, use a lighter weight, as you’ll be pushing the bar with only one arm.

4) Superset

A superset is a combination of two or more exercises that are done consecutively. You can combine the Shoulder Press machine with front raises or lateral raises for three sets.

As the Shoulder Press machine works on front and lateral delts, combining it with an isolation movement can help boost muscle endurance and growth.

5) Drop Set

Another way to use the Shoulder Press Machine is by working a drop set. A drop set is where you do three or more rounds of the same exercise but keep dropping the weight as you increase the reps.

Drop sets are one of the best shoulder exercises, given the way they allow you to improve muscle endurance. A strong set of shoulder muscles helps in doing other exercises as well.


6) Half Reps for continuous pressure

One way to activate and grow the smaller muscles around the deltoids is to do half reps.

Your starting position will be the same as in shoulder press, but instead of moving the bar all the way to the top, you move it halfway, and come down halfway. The idea is to constantly keep pressure on the deltoids to improve their endurance.

7) Burnout Set

Another good shoulder exercises is the burnout set. The idea is to keep pushing it till you reach failure. The Shoulder Press machine is rather helpful for this movement, as you have back support, and there’s no risk of weights dropping on failure as it would be with a barbell or dumbbells.

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Edited by Bhargav