Smith Machine Shoulder Press
The overhead press is the best size and strength builder for the shoulders that’s out there, when it comes to shoulder training too many guys are working on excessive amounts of isolation via exercises such as the front raise, dumbbell lateral raise and rear deltoid fly… these exercises are useful for isolating the different heads of the shoulder however to build overall mass and powerful shoulder strength you need to be pressing heavy!
Required: Smith Machine
Smith Machine Shoulder Press Form:
Adjust your smith machine to chest height for your barbell.
Grip the barbell with your palms facing away from you, slightly beyond shoulder width.
tighten your core and maintain an upright position on your supported bench as you unrack the barbell to collar bone height.
Drive the barbell upward, while not flaring out your elbows, continue until lockout.
Slowly lower the barbell back down to your collarbone.
Proceed for the desired number of repetitions.
Smith Machine Shoulder Press Variations
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The seated shoulder press is fantastic for bringing up muscular imbalances in the shoulders.
Performed with two independent weights as opposed to one barbell you'll find yourself unable to compensate for your weaker side when performing the dumbbell shoulder press.
A rotating variation of the dumbbell shoulder press, hitting all heads of the deltoid.
Common Smith Machine Shoulder Press Mistakes
Not Pushing the Bar Vertically
The barbell should take the shortest path to the top – this is directly in-line with your body.
You should solely be pressing upward, not forwards or backwards.
Not only does pressing forward place more emphasis on the chest and front deltoids (as opposed to working the entire shoulder) you’ll struggle to lift the weight once you’re going heavy as this is more of an isolater and your balance can also be compromised as you push the barbell infront of you, making it a struggle to maintain your ground without falling forward..
Too Much Weight
You should be lifting a weight on your overhead press that you actually can lift with correct form for your prescribed number of repetitions.
If you’re struggling to get the weight up you’re setting yourself up for disaster.
Leaning forwards, falling backwards, utilizing momentum to drive the barbell upwards while pushing it away from your body… when excessive amounts of weight is used for pressing movements you’ll naturally do whatever you can to get it overhead.
Form ALWAYS comes first, muscling weight that’s too heavy for you to manage before dropping it on your head isn’t going to help you build the shoulder strength and size you want.
Using A Limited Range Of Motion
Don’t expect to reap all the results of the overhead press if you’re only working half of the range of the exercise.
This is without a doubt the most common mistake I see being made with most exercises, and the overhead press is no exception! Your arms should be locked out at the top of each repetition with the barbell directly above your head. When lowering the barbell it should come all the way down to the top of your chest – don’t stop once the barbell is in line with your nose and your arms are parallel, you aren’t working the shoulders in their entirety.
Similar & Substitute Exercises
- Barbell Overhead Press
- Arnold Press