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Military Press/Overhead Extension

Military Press/Overhead Extension
Table Of Contents

Exercise Description

Main Target Muscles


Secondary Target Muscles

Abs, Traps, Triceps

Workout Type


Gym Gear


Fitness Level




Power Move 


Target Muscle Group: Shoulders

Military Press/Overhead Extension Overview

The military press is an excellent shoulder exercise that builds shoulder muscle. There are many different names for the military press. It is also known as the overhead press, shoulder press, and strict press.

The primary purpose of the military press is to build deltoid muscles. The military press indirectly targets your shoulder muscles, triceps, and core. It is performed standing up and requires a lot of core strength to stabilize the spine while lifting weight overhead.

 You can target the deltoids in various ways with the military press.

The military press variations include

  • Seated Military Press
  • Dumbbell Military Press
  • Seated Dumbbell Press
  • Arnold Press
  • Behind The Neck Military Press
  • Smith Machine Military Press

To reap the benefits of one of the best shoulder exercises, add a variant of the military press to your shoulder exercise. 

How to do it

  • Set the barbell just below the shoulder height and then add your desired weight to the bar.
  • Take a shoulder-width stance and hold your bar with a pronated grip.
  • While balancing your spine neutrally, step underneath the bar to unrack it. 
  • Take two steps backward, inhale to brace your chest, and press the barbell overhead until your arms are fully extended.
  • Exhale and slowly reverse the movement while keeping the bar close to your chest.
  • Continue repeating until you reach the desired number of repetitions.

Military Press/Overhead Extension Tips

  1. At the top, reach high and don't be afraid to keep your shoulders down.
  2. Allow your elbows to turn and point outward at the top of the movement, but keep them tucked into your ribcage at the bottom.
  3. You can control the bar by rolling your wrists in extension. Instead, think about "rolling your knuckles towards the ceiling.”
  4. You should keep the momentum going and not add leg drive by flexing or extending your knees.
  5.  Press your belly and squeeze your glutes. The pressing shouldn't cause you to lean back too much. 
  6. Imagine that you are trying to see out the top of a window. Your ears should align with your biceps.
  7. Try a wider grip or one of the vertical pressing techniques if your shoulders are bothering during the movement.
  8. To prevent your lower back from arching too much, you can try a staggered stance. If that fails to work, you can use the half-kneeling regression shown on the site.

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