For the beginner, the shoulder press machine is a useful piece of gym equipment that gives an all-round shoulder exercise. “This is a good strength exercise that can build a good base level of muscle in the shoulder region,” says Wendy Cho, master trainer of True Fitness. “The shoulder press primarily targets the deltoid muscles in the shoulders. This group facilitates all of your upper-body movements. Your anterior and posterior deltoids are especially used during this exercise because they are responsible for inward and outward rotation of both arms.”
In this exercise, the weight machine will guide your movement, so little technical ability is needed to make the exercise effective.
Adjust the seat height, aligning the horizontal handles with the top of your shoulders. Depress the foot level and ensure that your back is comfortably supported. Sit tall in the seat.
Push up, extending your arms over your head in a controlled manner. Avoid any snapping or locking of the elbows. Return to the start position in a controlled way and complete the remainder of your reps.
|A. Switch grips
Many of the machines will have more than one grip available. Taking the grips that point your palms forward and away from you will target the medial deltoids, while grips that angle your palms inwards will work the biceps brachii. With palms facing you, you work more of the anterior deltoids.
B. Experiment with angles
With the different grips on the machine (if available), try to get a feel for which angle gives you the best shoulder workout. Most people use the grip that points the palms directly forward, but the other grip may prove useful in helping you build larger shoulder muscles.
Three ways newbies can avoid getting it wrong and sabotaging their gains.
“This occurs when you try to lift excessively heavy weights, and when you try to squeeze in a few more reps despite being fatigued. You risk injury as this creates a lot of compression in the lower back,” Cho says.
Many people tend to engage their upper trapezius first, rather than keep the scapulae in a neutral scapula position, Cho says. “As a result, compression force also occurs in the cervical vertebrae of the spine.”
Execute presses up and down from the nose or chin level, going no lower than the collarbone, says Cho. “Sit straight against a back support and maintain the natural curve in your spine with every rep.”