There are a few variants of the military press. Last time I went through the seated, behind the neck variant. This time I’ll be describing the standard Military Press, which is standing and in front of the neck.

The military press is a compound movement, and all of your routines should be centered on compound movements followed by isolation exercises. As a compound movement, it hits all five of your deltoid muscles, but tends to focus on the front delt. But because of its compound movement, it is the best way to build shoulder strength and to toughen up your delicate shoulder joint. Most experts say that an ideal military press should be about 2/3 of your bench to help prevent injury. Also, don’t hesitate to wear a squat belt if you’re worried about lower back stress.

The best way to do this exercise is to set up a squat rack at the same height that you would for squats. You can also “snatch” the weight up from the floor, but we will cover the snatch in a later article. Your goal with the squat rack is to be able to move the bar in and out of the hooks at about the top of your chest. Place your hands at the same spot as you would for bench press, which should be a hand width outside of your shoulders. Lift the bar out of the hooks and rest it on top of your chest. Take a step back and get a wide stance for balance.

Press the weight up, bending your neck back out of the way as you pass. Lower the weight back to your chest, bringing your head back forward. Get nice and warm before you put on your work load. At the end of the set, step forward and set the bar in the hooks.