Seated overhead press

The seated barbell overhead press is a compound exercise which builds muscle and strength in the anterior and lateral shoulder muscle heads. Now, this exercise may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you have shoulder issues and a lack of mobility, but it’s a popular mass builder used for maximum deltoid development.

By using a barbell you can overload the deltoids to maximum levels which promote more hypertrophy. Beginners should practice proper form and progress very slowly before training heavy with this exercise. But, for people unable to use a barbell; dumbbells are a great alternative.

So, next time you train shoulders, make sure to implement the seated barbell overhead press.

In This Exercise:

  • Target Muscle GroupAnterior Deltoid
  • Type: Strength
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Equipment: Seated Shoulder press stand, barbell
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Exercise Instructions

  1. Sit down on the seat and grip the bar overhead at a comfortable position with hands slightly wider than a shoulder-width distance apart. Keep your torso upright and core tight.
  2. Then, unrack the barbell and slowly lower it down to chin level with elbows just slightly tucked in. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
  3. Now, press the barbell back up but don’t lock out your elbows. Exhale during this portion of the exercise.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Variations & Tips:

  • You can also do the overhead press using dumbbells.
  • The standing overhead press is a great alternative to the seated barbell overhead press.
  • If you don’t have a seated press stand, you can use a fixed barbell and perform the movement on a padded seat.
  • Keep the barbell movement in a straight line as close to your body as possible. This ensures you can perform the exercise for optimal effectiveness.
  • Keep your core tight during the movement for optimal stabilization.
  • The seated barbell overhead press targets the anterior shoulders mostly but it also works the lateral muscle secondarily.

Watch: How to do the seated barbell overhead press