How to Do Perfect Shoulder Presses To Get An A-Frame Look

Every man wants that perfect A-frame look...and the good news is that you can get it. Learn how to do shoulder presses that work the muscles you need to grow to get that look.

Creating Muscular Shoulders

The shoulder press is the perfect multi-joint exercise to give you the muscular shoulders you desire. Well-developed shoulders are pleasing to look at because they give you a tapered look that many people admire. In order to attain this look, however, you need to learn how to do perfect shoulder presses.

Press Your Way to Bigger Muscles

Shoulder presses are perfect for building a great male physique. 

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Specific Muscles Worked

Seated shoulder presses primarily work the anterior deltoid (front of the shoulder). This exercise also works the lateral deltoid, rotator cuffs, traps, the upper part of the chest muscles and triceps synergistically. The shoulder press can be performed standing as well and when performing standing shoulder presses the abdominal muscles are recruited along with all the muscles listed above.

Seated Barbell Presses

When performing a seated press with a barbell, you should be seated on a bench with the angle set to 90 degrees. Your feet should be firmly planted on the floor at shoulder-width apart and you should have the barbell loaded with the amount of weight you want to lift. The barbell should be in a squat rack, power rack or you can use a bench specifically designed for shoulder presses.

If you have the bench and barbell positioned correctly, the barbell should be placed so that you have to reach over your head and slightly behind it to grab it. Your palms should be facing forward and your grip should be slightly outside the width of your shoulders. After adopting the correct grip, lift the bar and keep your arms straight as you move the barbell upward directly overhead. Once the bar is overhead you will lower the bar until it is just above your collarbone. This completes one repetition of the exercise and you will continue doing it for the desired number of repetitions.

Standing Barbell Presses

Standing barbell presses are very similar to seated presses with a few adjustments. For standing presses, you will have the barbell in a power rack or squat rack and load up the weight. You approach the bar (the barbell should be at chest level) and you will adopt a split stance where one foot is slightly in front of the other. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your palms facing forward. Elbow positioning is important and they should be close to your body or just a few inches away from it.

Once you are ready to lift the weight, you have to stabilize certain muscles. Your shoulder blades should be down and back like you are trying to squeeze them together. Contract your abdominal muscles and keep your back straight. After you’ve stabilized your muscles, dip under the barbell and unload it off the rack. Take a step back, adopt the split stance and then exhale as you lift the weight upward. Your head should be facing forward and your arms and back should be straight throughout the upward phase of the exercise.

While lowering the weight you should inhale, bend your elbows and contract your back and arms as you return to starting position. Your main focus should be on keeping your stabilizing muscles contracted throughout the exercise. After lowering the weight, continue with the exercise until you’ve completed the number of desired reps, then re-rack the barbell.

Extra Tips and Tactics

In order to perform this exercise perfectly, you must always keep a few things in mind. Your back must remain straight throughout the movement (whether you are sitting or standing). Arching your back too much will lead to back problems. Another thing to focus on is the speed of movement. You should have complete control of the weight as you raise and lower it. Slow concentric and eccentric speeds are recommended while doing this exercise.

Every man wants that perfect A-frame look...and the good news is that you can get it. Learn how to do shoulder presses that work the muscles you need to grow to get that look.

When performing the shoulder press always use the full range of motion. Lower the weight as far down as you can and raise it as high as you can without locking your elbows at the top of the movement. Finally, during the exercise, don’t let the weight rest on your chest. If you are tired, re-rack the weight and then start a new set.

Easy To Do…if You Pay Attention to Form

Perfect shoulder presses are easy to do once you have learned the proper form. Shoulder presses can be done seated or standing, with the two different versions targeting different muscle groups. You will have strong, big shoulder muscles in no time if you follow these techniques.

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  • a couple of weeks ago
Joe Bensam

I am an experienced bodybuilder and qualified personal trainer who specializes in strength training, conditioning and building muscle. I am committed to helping others improve their health, fitness and build through good advice on workouts and nutrition.