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Seated Military Press

This Shoulders Blast your Deltoid and Trapezius Muscles with one of the most Complete Upper Body Exercises

Welcome to our Seated Military Press Exercise Instruction Guide!

On this page you'll learn how to do this shoulders exercise using the correct technique. Below you'll find pictures, exercise instructions, and tips on how to get the most out of this and other Shoulder Exercises so you can immediately add to your next Shoulder Workout Routine and other Weight Training Routines.

Have you seen our Best Shoulder Exercises page yet? See if this deltoid and trapezius exercise made the list!

Exercise Summary

Exercise Name:Seated Military Press
Main Muscle:Deltoid
Secondary Muscle(s):Trapezius, Chest, Triceps
Exercise Type:Compound, Push
Equipment Required:Barbell, Bench


Exercise Description and Instruction:

This shoulder exercise is one of our barbell exercises and is the seated version of the Standing Overhead Press, which got its name because the military used it as the truest test of one's strength.  We use the terms military press, shoulder press, and overhead press interchangeably.

barbell military press
barbell military press

To Perform This Exercise:

  1. Sit on a bench with back support in a squat rack and load a barbell.  The bar should be positioned just above head height.
  2. To begin the lift, exhale and push the bar upwards off of it's supports and steady the weight. This is your starting position.
  3. Inhale and slowly lower the weight to just above your chest.
  4. Then, exhale and press the weight upwards, fully extending your arms above your head.
  5. Pause for a moment, then repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


  1. This shoulder exercise is not recommended for those with shoulder problems.
  2. The exercise is pictured on a flat bench, but a short-backed bench or military press bench may be preferred. Back support will allow you to use more weight but does not engage the back stabilizer muscles.
  3. Complete the exercise in a slow and controlled manner. Use a very light amount of weight until you are comfortable with the lift.
  4. Focus on keeping your back straight and squeezing your traps at the top of the lift.

Now that you've seen the Seated Military Press, check out all of our different Shoulder Exercises. Or, check out some of our most popular trapezius and deltoid exercise variations and other related pages. 


Most Popular Deltoid and Trapezius Exercises:

Check out some of our other popular Shoulder Exercises and Variations:


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