Seated Shoulder Press
What Is A Seated Shoulder Press
The seated shoulder press is a variation which reduces the need for stability, meaning the intended muscles are targeted more efficiently. It works the anterior and medial deltoid with support from the triceps, upper chest, and traps.
Both dumbbell and barbell shoulder presses can be performed seated. The back is supported by the bench which reduces the amount of work the core must do, so the shoulders are more engaged than other shoulder press variations.
Using dumbbells allows muscular imbalances to be seen and addressed, while using barbells allows for the correct hand and shoulder position.
Commonly Asked Questions On Seated Shoulder Press
The seated dumbbell press is neither better nor worse than standing shoulder presses, but the two do have their differences. The seated press provides more stability to the back and shoulders which reduces the need for involvement from the core. This typically means people are able to lift more with the seated press and are able to sustain the correct form, both which means the delts are worked more efficiently.
The seated dumbbell press primarily works the anterior and medial deltoid as well as the upper pec, known as the clavicular head, and triceps.
The seated overhead press feels easier than standing variations due to the stability provided by the bench. The upper back, glutes, and rear shoulders are supported by the bench which means there is less demand on these areas to keep the core in place. This means more effort can go into pressing the bar, so heavier load can be lifted.
Seated Shoulder Press Tips
If opting for the seated barbell shoulder press, you can set up in a squat rack by placing an adjustable bench beneath the bar. Aim to lower the bar all the way to the top of your chest; if you’re able to reach this depth, drop the weight. For the dumbbell press, aim to bring the dumbbells in line with or lower than your ears.
If you find your rotator cuff feels under stress during this exercise, it can be down to the arms being positioned directly to the side of your head. Try positioning the arms so they are slightly in front of the body as this puts less strain on the shoulders.
How To Do A Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Taking a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a bench that has a slight decline and place the dumbbells on each knee.
If the dumbbells feel heavy, you may need to use momentum to kick the dumbbells up one after the other to get them into position, in between your shoulders and ears.
Pin your shoulder blades into the bench and plant you feet firmly on the ground. Engage the core and then press the dumbbells up by extending both arms straight up overhead.
Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
How To Do A Seated Barbell Shoulder Press
Set up a squat rack so that the bar rests just above shoulder height when seated, with a adjustable bench placed below the bar. The back should sit on a slight decline.
Sit with your back flat against the bench, feet flat on the floor, and take a shoulder width grip. Engage the core and unrack the bar.
Press the bar up by extending your arms towards the ceiling, keeping your shoulders pinned to the bench throughout.
Slowly lower the bar back to the top of your chest, keeping your elbows tucked to your sides as you lower.
If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.