Barbell Military Press

barbell-military-press-2 Info

Barbell Military Press

This Shoulder Exercise Targets your Trapezius and Deltoid Shoulder Muscles and is one of the Best Fat Burning and Muscle Building Exercises for this Muscle Group

Welcome to our Barbell Military Press Exercise Instruction Guide!

On this page you’ll learn how to do this variation of the Military Press using the correct technique. Below you’ll find pictures, exercise instructions, and tips on how to get the most out of this and other Shoulder Exercises so you can immediately add to your next Shoulder Workout Routine and other Weight Training Programs.

Have you seen our Best Shoulder Exercises page yet? See if this version of the Military Press made the list!

Exercise Summary

Exercise Name: Barbell Military Press
Main Muscle: Deltoid
Secondary Muscle(s): Trapezius, Chest, Triceps
Exercise Type: Compound, Push
Equipment Required: Barbell, Bench

Exercise Description and Instruction:

This shoulder exercise is the seated version of the Military Press, which got its name because the military used to use the lift as the true test of one’s strength. In gyms, the Military Press, shoulder press, and overhead press have become interchangeable, so that’s how we use them. Check out some variations:

  • Arnold Press
  • Cuban Press
  • Barbell Military Press
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Machine Shoulder Press
  • Standing Shoulder Press


To Perform This Exercise:

  1. Sit on a bench with back support in a squat rack and load a barbell.
  2. Position the bar just above head height.
  3. To begin the lift, exhale and push the bar upwards off of it’s supports and steady the weight. This is your starting position.
  4. Inhale and slowly lower the weight to just above your chest.
  5. Then, exhale and press the weight upwards, fully extending your arms above your head.
  6. Pause for a moment, then repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


  1. This shoulder exercise is not recommended for those with shoulder problems.
  2. The exercise is pictured on a flat bench, but a short-backed bench or military press bench may be preferred. Back support will allow you to use more weight but does not engage the back stabilizer muscles.
  3. Complete the exercise in a slow and controlled manner. Use a very light amount of weight until you are comfortable with the lift.
  4. Do not lock your elbows at the top of the lift.
  5. Focus on keeping your back straight and squeezing your traps at the top of the lift.

Now that you’ve seen the Barbell Military Press, which primarily targets your shoulder muscles, check out all of our different Shoulder Exercises.

There are a few basic movements that comprise most Shoulder Exercises. The Barbell Military Press is a variation of one of these movements, the Military Press. View the pages below for links to all our variations of the other popular shoulder exercise movements.

  • Upright Row
  • Lateral Raises
  • Military Press
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Most Popular)
  • Front Raise
  • Best Shoulder Exercises
  • Shoulder Workout Routine List
  • Weight Training Exercises Main Page
  • Barbell Exercises
  • Compound Exercises
  • Muscle Building Workouts and Strength Training Exercises
  • Fat Loss Workouts and Fat Burning Exercises

  • You’ve seen the Shoulder Exercises. Check out our Workout Routines!
    Start at our Home Page.

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