One of the basic exercises that should be used to improve our shoulders is the military press. There are many variants and errors when it comes to doing this type of exercise. It is a basic multi-joint exercise that works mainly on the anterior and medial deltoids. From this exercise, we will obtain strength and hypertrophy gains at all levels.
In this article we are going to teach you how you should perform the military press in a correct way, in addition to all the benefits and mistakes that are made when it is done.
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How to do the military press
The technique of executing this exercise can be somewhat complex to perform. Multi-joint exercises are those that work more than one muscle at a time. Thus, they exert much more wear and tear on the central nervous system. A recommendation that is often made by personal trainers is that they be done at the beginning of the routine. This is because, by causing greater stress and exhaustion, it is better to place them at the beginning to work with a good intensity and not to wear out too much.
To do the military press well, we will hold the bar with prone grip. Hands should be slightly more than shoulder width apart. The back must be placed straight. We must take special care with this exercise, since we will have to bend our back to support the weight of the bar. It is important to work with a weight that we can handle. There is no use overdoing it if we can't handle it later.
Once we have placed our back straight, we take the bar with our hands up to the high part of the chest. It is there where we will begin to do the exercise. We take a breath and raise the bar up as if we were pushing it with our hands while the arms are extended. Obviously, it is the anterior deltoid that is going to do the strength. Once we have fully extended the arms vertically, we begin to lower the bar to the starting position in a controlled way.
The exercise is done standing or sitting, although it is advisable to perform standing up. It is not at all recommended to do it on a machine or multipower. The range of motion of the exercise is not correct, as it is quite unnatural and increases the risk of injury.
Which muscles are worked
As we have mentioned before, the military press is a multi-joint exercise in which different muscles are worked at the same time. All the muscles worked belong to the torso or upper body. The anterior deltoid is the one that does the most work, although other muscles such as the trapezius and the serratus major also participate. It also requires work on the triceps brachii and the clavicular bundle of the pectoralis major.
These muscles are working every time we do this exercise. Therefore, the wear and tear that we cause during exercise is greater. If our objective is aesthetic and we want to place greater emphasis on the anterior deltoid and the upper clavicular portion of the pectoralis, we can bring the elbows forward and use a somewhat narrower type of grip. On the other hand, If we want to add a little more work to the middle and outer deltoids, we will have to separate the elbows a bit more and use a slightly wider grip.
When we do the military press, there are many mistakes that we make and that can harm us. The first thing is not to benefit from all the advantages that the military press has if we do not do it correctly. Second, you have to think that, as long as an exercise is not done correctly, we are encountering a potential risk of increased injury.
One of the most common mistakes is to mobilize both the head and the trunk. If we use a bad position, we will be disfavoring the exercise. Always look straight ahead and keep your head and neck upright. The back must be placed straight and it does not have to curve in any way. Quite the opposite. During exercise, we keep our back as straight as possible so as not to make any overexertion that leads to injury.
Curving the back is also synonymous with not having good flexibility in the muscles. This is how the body tries to compensate for this lack of flexibility with the curvature of the back.
Another very common mistake in people who go to the gym and do strength work is to use a very high weight. We have to learn to leave the ego parked in the gym. It is useless to take heavy weights if it makes us not be able to control the technique in the exercise. If the load is too high, we will be extending our arms very forced, we deviate the route, we will not be able to immobilize the body well and we will move it while we perform the exercise and, worse, we can injure ourselves more easily.
Not resting the bar on the upper chest is another very common mistake when doing the military press. We also get to lock the elbows when we ascend the bar fully, causing extra pressure on the arms.
Weights in the gym
What most attracts the attention of people who go to the gym is lifting more weight than they can. Surely you have seen a thousand times those who ask for help to lift the bar. Above all, in the last series and repetitions it is what they most seek help. This is of no use because with a greater weight we are forgetting to perform the technique well. In addition, we are probably reaching muscle failure very often, causing greater damage and cost more to repair.
Our body has its limits and we must respect it. Good hypertrophy can be gained without lifting extremely high weights. The best option is to choose a weight with which you can work the repetitions that are established in your routine without reaching muscle failure.
I hope that with these tips you can learn to do the military press well.