The primary muscles stressed in this movement are the shoulder muscles (deltoid). The secondary muscles stressed are the triceps and trapezius.

Starting Position

Sit straight up and down with your back flat against he back support. Grip the handles in the assigned position.


Press the handles up until your arms are extended above your head. Take two to three seconds to lower the handles down until your elbows are level with your shoulders.

Training Tips

  • Focus on your shoulders pressing the handles up so your triceps don’t do most of the work.
  • When performing this movement with heavy weight, be sure to sit with your back flat against the back support. This will help give the necessary support needed for the back.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor to help balance your body.


Most shoulder press machines have at least two different positions on the handle that can be used to stress different areas of the shoulder. These two positions can also be for rehabilitation purposes.

Warning Tips

  • Do not overextend your shoulders when raising the handles up above your head. Failure to do so can result in serious injury to your shoulders.
  • Do not excessively arch your back when performing this movement. Failure to do so can result in serious injury to your back.
  • Do not lower the handles any faster than two to three seconds when performing this movement. You must be in control at all times during this movement. The faster you perform this movement, the less movement, the less control you will have, which in turn will increase your risk of injury.
  • Do not lower the handle any lower than when your elbows are level with your shoulders. Failure to do so can result in serious injury to your shoulders.

Robert Bovee Certified Master PPT, RTS, ETS, FTS

As one of the most successful Professional Personal Trainers and Exercise/Fitness Therapists in the United States, Robert continues to remain at the forefront of the industry by providing his clients with a thorough education and the tools to implement that education. By improving his client’s physical health, strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness and nutritional habits, he is able to motivate them to lead longer, happier and more productive lives. Find out more about Robert and his personal training career and services, here.


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