July 21, 2017

Heading into the gym to hit shoulders? If so, one exercise that is likely on your menu to do is the seated shoulder press. The shoulder press is the ‘king’ of shoulder building exercises so to speak as it’s one that is going to dramatically help boost your strength as well as muscle size.

This said, there are some important things that you need to know as you perform the shoulder press in order to get the most out of it.

Do keep in mind that you can do either a barbell or a dumbbell press here depending on your primary goals and which move feels most comfortable. Certain people have biomechanics that will lead them more towards one than the other while for others, it just comes down to their goals and which piece of equipment is available. If your primary goal is strength, the barbell press is usually the best option while if you are looking for muscular hypertrophy or want to hit the stabilization muscles as well, dumbbells are your better bet.

This all said, let’s look at three hacks that you can use when you are shoulder pressing next workout.

Do A Set Of Lateral Raises First

While it may seem counterintuitive as you’ve always been told to perform your compound exercises first, sometimes adding an isolation exercise towards the start is a smart move.

By doing a set or two of lateral raises before you begin, you’ll actually help get your lateral deltoid muscles firing, which will then help you activate them more when doing the shoulder press later on.

Remember that a big part of seeing optimal results is establishing a good mind-muscle connection and doing a pre-fatigue exercise before you begin can really help with this.

Go Thumb Less

Another quick tip to remember is to go thumb less as you grip the bar. While you may not want to do this if you are lifting your maximum weight as then stabilization becomes incredibly key, if you can, on lighter weight sets, keep your thumbs out of the picture.

This will force you to work harder with the shoulder muscles, helping take the forearms out of it. If you are contracting hard with your forearms, you may not actually be seeing the shoulder boosting benefits you otherwise would be.

This may feel awkward at first, but stick with it. It’ll pay off in the long run.

Check Your Grip Width

Finally, be sure that you check your grip width as well. There’s no real right or wrong answer here, but rather, what’s best for you.

The width of your shoulders and the length of your arms will play a role in how wide your hands should be while you are supporting the bar, so that’s something to keep in mind at all times.

If you use a wider grip width, you’ll hit your lateral deltoids more, while if you use a closer grip width, you’ll get more tricep activation as well. This can make you stronger overall on the shoulder press as you’ll then have two muscles that are firing to help get that weight up on the bar, but if you know that you have relatively strong triceps to begin with, this may actually take away from the shoulder strength boosting benefits the exercise provides.

So keep these shoulder press hacks in mind as you go about your next shoulder training session. Apply them and you may just boost your results.