(Ryan Reynolds has some of the best shoulders in Hollywood. This is the kind of look you want to aim for…if you are a guy.)
Generate A Boost In Your Shoulders By Contracting The Abs
This is one of the biggest reasons why I highly recommend standing for this particular lift. When standing, the abs act as the mediator between your hips and your shoulders. So by contracting the abs, it provides a very stable foundation for you to push upwards from. This will also help increase a greater contraction in both your shoulders and triceps. Thus, maximizing the amount of weight lifted.
Protect The Spine, Flex Those Abs
In a previous post I explained the importance of protecting your spine by generating strong abs. Keeping the abs tight and flexed will keep you from slouching or sagging while pressing the weight overhead. So not only will this protect your spine but it will sculpt up the midsection. It’s definitely a nice side benefit from a shoulder exercise.
Generate Even More Power With This Sneaky Technique
We know that breathing properly during each rep is very important but let’s kick it up a notch. “More power!” as Tim Allen would say, is exactly what we are going to elevate with some advanced breathing techniques. Before lifting the weight make sure to take a deep breath in. As you begin to lift the weight you want to simultaneously flex your abs while forcing the air out of your lungs. You want to make sure that you tighten your lips so the air has a little more difficulty escaping too fast. Doing this for at least 3-5 seconds (or longer) to get all the air out will give you the ability to flex the abs even harder. This breathing technique increases ab definition, supports the spine, and ultimately generates more power to your shoulders to finish the lift. It’s like one stop shopping!
Two Schools Of Thought On The Proper Way To Start The Lift
I will be honest; I don’t know which one is better or more effective so I will let you decide. Just be smart. I see a majority of people set their barbell on a squat rack close to shoulder height and then taking the weight off and lifting from there. Some people think that you should start by lifting the weight into a “clean” position. Their reasoning is that if you can’t clean the weight into starting position then you have no business trying to lift the weight above your head. I understand both viewpoints but I am not going to say what way is superior. What I will say is that I am NOT a fan of using “wrist straps.” Developing real grip strength is far superior.
Grip Strength Incorporates “Irradiation”
We have already established in a previous post, “Enhance Your Upper Body Strength With Thick Bar Training” how increasing grip strength will ultimately increase upper body strength. Well I have been using Fat Gripz for the standing military barbell press for awhile now and I am hooked more than ever. I have noticed significant strength gains in other lifts because of it. Why could this be happening? Remember, the harder you can contract or generate tension in a muscle the more strength will be demonstrated in that muscle. Well the principle of “irradiation” says that a muscle can be contracted even harder when the surrounding muscles are contracted. This is what is happening when the forearms are generating tension from Fat Gripz’ thick handles. As the forearms are generating tension, your biceps, triceps, and shoulders will “borrow” strength from the forearms.
To Sit Or Not To Sit
I have done seated dumbbell shoulder presses for a long time and they still do very well developing the shoulders. But it just doesn’t have the same maximizing benefits as the standing shoulder press. Instead of just scrapping the exercise, I include both of them. I use a barbell for the standing military shoulder press and dumbbells for the sitting shoulder press. Utilizing both standing and sitting exercises will without a doubt increase your gains in all other upper body moves.