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Which Shoulder Press should you be doing?

Discussion in 'Training' started by Zillagreybeard, Sep 14, 2020.
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  • Sep 14, 2020
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Arguably two of the most popular shoulder press variations are the Seated DB Shoulder Press and Standing BB Overhead Press. Let’s compare the two in this post.

With the seated DB shoulder press, your back is placed against a bench, which reduces the extent to which your core needs to stabilize your body during the shoulder press. For shoulder training, this has the benefit that you can fully focus on training your vertical push without being limited by core strength. The fact that with dumbbells you train each arm individually also helps with preventing muscle imbalances between your shoulders.

Now, if your goal is to improve overall strength, including improving core stability, the Standing BB Overhead Press is worth considering. Simply because during the standing BB overhead press you need to stabilize your body while pressing a weight overhead. A standing press may also have more transfer to sports performance. Some sports (e.g. weightlifting) require you to move/stabilize heavy objects overhead. You practice this with the standing BB press.

There are also other shoulder press variations you can use. For instance the Seated Barbell Press & Standing DB Press. You generally are the strongest with Seated BB Pressing since it is the most stable variation of a shoulder press [1]. The Standing DB Press adds increased instability to the shoulder press, which makes it worth a try if you’re interested in improving core stability.

Saeterbakken, A. H., & Fimland, M. S. (2013). Effects of body position and loading modality on muscle activity and strength in shoulder presses. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 27(7), 1824-1831.

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