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fat gripz

Standing Military Shoulder Press: Is It Just A Shoulder Exercise?

I consider the standing military shoulder press to be one of… if not the best upper body lifts! Why? Not only does this lift sculpt some pretty impressive shoulders but it will greatly increase your upper body strength for other lifts. To get the most benefits out of this exercise, we are going to take a look at how you can utilize a “power surge” to lift the weight while increasing ab definition all at once.  Implementing this sneaky technique will help you bring out the best in other pressing movements. I truly believe that every man and woman should include this exercise into their regular weight training program.

standing military shoulder press Standing Military Shoulder Press: Is It Just A Shoulder Exercise?

(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.

Enhance Your Upper Body Strength With Thick Bar Training

 I am guessing that most of my readers browsing through this article have no idea what I am talking about nor do they have access to thick bars.  I was fortunate to have thick bars in college but they were always tucked away in the corner and I felt like I was the only one using them. If you don’t have the luxury of using thick bars I found something that will do the trick. It is a genius idea and have found it to be very beneficial. Let me first explain the benefits of thick bar training and how it can greatly improve your upper body strength.


UpperBodyStrength Enhance Your Upper Body Strength With Thick Bar Training

Pushing And Pulling Movements Enhanced With Stronger Grip!

 I am assuming you already have an idea how important grip strength is when it comes to pushing and pulling movements.  If you have a weak grip you won’t be able to hold the weights but that is only a part of the big picture.  I was fortunate to read about a very interesting concept of “irradiation.” I learned about this from Soviet Special Forces Trainer, Pavel Tsatsouline and Rusty Moore’s article on “The Strength Training Rep Dissected and Explained.”  I have an outline straight from their site because I want to make sure you have the full content.

Outline of “Irradiation”

Did you know that you can contract a muscle much harder if you contract the muscles surrounding it?

  1. Try flexing your bicep as hard as possible without making a fist.
  2. Now try and flex your bicep as hard as possible while making as tight as fist as possible and squeezing.
  3. You should be able to contract your bicep much harder when making a tight fist.
  4. This is called “irradiation”…what is happening is that the nerve impulses of surrounding muscles can amplify the effect of that muscle.

Surrounding Muscles “Borrow” Strength from Your Forearms

Make a fist as hard as possible and try not to flex your biceps or triceps. This is pretty hard to do. As you flex and generate tension in your forearms, you will also generate tension in your biceps and triceps without even trying. Gaining strength is simply the skill of generating more tension “on demand” to the muscles being worked. If you flex your forearms hard enough you will begin to feel tension not just in your arms, but in your shoulders, chest, and back. This is a fundamental principle to increase uppper body strength.

Sometimes You Just Can’t Get A Good Enough Grip

Gripping a bar hard will stimulate the effects of irradiation but the problem some people have is that there hands are too large. Trying to have a hard grip on a thin bar can be difficult and can really cause you to miss out on some amazing gains in strength in your forearms. This is typically the problem for those who have very large hands or extra long fingers. That is where thick bar training comes in to play!

black iron strength olympic thick bar grid Enhance Your Upper Body Strength With Thick Bar Training

[This is the width of a typical thick bar. These are sold over at FunctionalHandStrength.com]

Using Thick Bars Force Your Forearms to Generate Tension

If you are doing any kind of pressing movements you can generate a stronger squeeze on the bar which causes more tension in the arms.  This just doesn’t work as well with a thin bar. Thick bar training will make you grip the bar a lot harder, therefore allowing the effects of irradiation take their course.  The more the irradiation principle is utilized the better you will be at any other kind of pressing or pulling movements. (bench press, rows, military press, curls, chin ups, etc) One thing I forgot to mention is lifting straps…don’t use them! Lifting straps seem like a good idea on paper in that you can use more weight for pulling movements, but they weaken your ability to generate tension in your forearms and get the full benefit of irradiation.

For Those Who Don’t Have Access to Thick Bars

There is a great solution for those who don’t have access to thick bars and I think it is awesome. Believe it or not I actually saw someone in a gym using them before I even knew what they were used for. I just thought he was being a wuss because he didn’t want callous’ on his hands. I currently use them for just about everything. It really is amazing how durable they are. They are available over at FatGripz.com  I don’t know if they are sold anywhere else. If you find out please let me know.

thick bar fat gripz Enhance Your Upper Body Strength With Thick Bar Training

These Can Be Used on Almost Any Bar or Handle

The best thing about this device is that they fit on just about any kind of equipment with handles, not just Olympic bars. So if you want to increase your upper body strength and don’t have the right weights for thick bar training… I highly recommend using these.   It’s pure genius??

img13 300x259 Enhance Your Upper Body Strength With Thick Bar Training