Seated Barbell Shoulder Press

Exercise / Shoulders

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press overview

The Seated Barbell Shoulder Press is a fundamental compound exercise that targets the deltoids, trapezius, and triceps. This seated variation provides stability and isolates the shoulder muscles, making it a popular choice for upper body strength development. Explore the specifications, step-by-step instructions, and variations to optimize the benefits of the Seated Barbell Shoulder Press in your strength training routine.

The Seated Barbell Shoulder Press primarily targets the deltoids and trapezius muscles.

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press how to perform

  • Step 1: Sit on a bench with back support, holding a barbell with a pronated (overhand) grip. Hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Step 2: Ensure your feet are flat on the ground, and your back is against the bench for stability.
  • Step 3: Lift the barbell to shoulder height, bringing it to the front of your body with your elbows pointing forward.
  • Step 4: Keep your core engaged, chest up, and maintain a neutral spine.
  • Step 5: Press the barbell overhead by extending your arms, fully locking out at the top.
  • Step 6: Lower the barbell back to shoulder height with control.


Perform each repetition with controlled movements, focusing on the engagement of the deltoids and trapezius.

Starting position

Final position

CAUTION: Rember to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Exercise Tips

  • Ensure a comfortable grip width, typically slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Avoid leaning back excessively during the press; maintain a stable and neutral position.
  • Engage your core muscles to support your spine throughout the movement.
  • Control the descent of the barbell to maximize muscle engagement.


  1. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press: Perform the exercise while standing for increased core engagement.
  2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: Use dumbbells for individual arm engagement and a more natural range of motion.
  3. Behind-the-Neck Seated Barbell Press: Press the barbell behind your neck for a different angle of engagement.
  4. Push Press: Incorporate a slight leg bend and use leg drive to assist with the press.