Things to Know Before Using Shoulder Press Machine

Stepping into a gym for the first time is like being a new character introduced in season 7 of a show, isn’t it? But no need to feel conscious! Read on for things to know before using the shoulder press machine.

A shoulder press machine is a kind of gym equipment commonly used for weight training purposes. There is a considerable demand for gyms and fitness centers.

People have become increasingly aware of their physical fitness. Even during a hectic schedule, people make time to stay fit or achieve their fitness goals.

A gym with cutting-edge and well-equipped equipment would earn bonus points. Treadmills, free weights like dumbbells, and machines such as the chest press, lat pull-down, bench press and leg press are among the most popular exercise machine seen in a gym.

Among all other pieces of equipment, shoulder press machines are suitable for your shoulder area, increase upper body strength, and provide you with a variety of other benefits.

What is a Shoulder Press Machine?

Shoulder Press Machine

A shoulder press machine is a machine that only allows for limited movement. It is a machine that is fixed in place and can be operated for the overhead press while seated or standing, depending upon the machine used.

The shoulder press done while being in a seated position is known as a seated shoulder press machine, and the one done while in a standing position is known as a standing shoulder press machine.1

It focuses on the upper body as it can only allow motions from the top of the head to the shoulder. Weights are affixed to the shoulder press machine, and you can use them as per your requirement.

Adding shoulder press to our fitness regime will help you to improve your shoulder flexibility, shoulder strength, shoulder toning, and overall shoulder proportion.

Free weight shoulder press machine is one of the options. Barbells, dumbbells, and others are considered free weights. Many stabilizer muscles are used in the free weight press.

These allow you to target muscles that are difficult to reach, such as the rotator cuff, and also boost your strength. You can do more free motions with the free weight than you can with the machine. You can choose between machine and free weights based on your needs or ability.

Focus Area of Shoulder Press Machine

The shoulder press machine works ideally and focuses on the upper body. The deltoid muscle is a key muscle that is engaged during the workout. Substituting a shoulder press machine for free weights can help you concentrate on the deltoid muscle.

Because the shoulder muscles do all of the work, there is no need requirement for core muscles. During the workout, different muscle groups are targeted, including the shoulders, upper back muscles, arms, and upper chest.

How to do Machine Shoulder Press?

Machine Shoulder Press - Learn how to do Shoulder Press Workout

Shoulder press machines come in a variety of structures. One of the varieties is a free-weight shoulder press machine. Free weights are like barbells, dumbbells, and others.

However, here’s how to use a shoulder press machine properly.

1. Adjust your seat as per your height and then take a seat in the shoulder press machine. Choose the weight as per your requirement. If you are a beginner, start with smaller weights and gradually increase the weight. The feet should be placed wide apart and tighten your core.

2. Firmly press your head and back onto the seat, bend your elbows. Then grip the handles while being in the seated position. This is your starting position.

3. Now, completely stretch your arms, exhale, and raise the handle. Hold on for a second, then exhale and lower the handle to its original position. Don’t let the weight touch the ground. As this will lose momentum.

4. Continue in the same manner. A slow pace should be maintained while lifting and bringing down the handle, as this will help to optimize the impact. You can go for 3-4 sets with 8-10 repetitions each.

Targeted Area: The muscle groups that are targeted during this workout are the upper chest, anterior, and lateral deltoids.

Points to Remember While Doing Machine Shoulder Press

A. When performing the shoulder press, do not push any movement as this will result in injury. Attempt to raise and lower the press machine by your body’s capabilities. For beginners, try to maintain your elbow at 90 degrees while bringing it down.

B. When moving your arms, don’t lean back or elevate your arm completely. When your arms are fully extended, they might put pressure on your joints. Raise your arms to roughly 85-90 percent to put pressure on your shoulder muscles rather than on your joints.

C. Shoulder presses include two grip options: a wider grip and a narrower grip. In the wider grip, your hands face in front, while in closer grip, your hands face each other.

The anterior deltoid and upper part of the chest will be targeted with a tighter grip, whereas the medial deltoid will be targeted with a wider grip.

D. Try to restrict yourself from doing any uncontrolled movements while doing a shoulder press as it will lead to joint injury.

E. Before you begin the exercise, make sure your seat is appropriately adjusted. If the seat is set too high and the handles are set too deep, the smaller muscles that stabilize the joints will not function effectively, resulting in a shoulder injury.

F. Shoulder presses are ideal for those who want to focus on their shoulders, build upper body strength, and offer other additional advantages.

G. Choose the appropriate weight. It would be best to always begin with lightweight and gradually increase the weight. It would help if you didn’t overdo your workout and used heavyweights initially.

Advantages of Shoulder Press:

The benefits of the shoulder press are numerous. Here are some of the benefits of including this in your workout routine.2

1) Focus on Diverse Muscle Groups

Shoulder press from a standing position helps you focus on a variety of muscle groups, including both the upper and lower body. Arms, shoulders, hips, back, and core are all included.

2) Flexibility and Stability

The standing shoulder press improves your body’s balance and shoulder mobility. It also aids in the development of core strength.3

3) Improves Body Posture

The standing shoulder press aids in the correction of body posture.

Other Types of Press Exercises

Different types of shoulder exercises4 can be added to your fitness regime. Here are some press exercises that can be beneficial for your shoulders.

a) Overhead Press

There are two types of overhead presses namely the seated overhead press and the standing overhead press. The front and side deltoids are involved in the overhead press.

How to do a Standing Overhead Press:

1. Stand with legs slightly by your shoulder width, maintain a firm core and a raised chest.

2. From the rack, grip the bar, you should grip the bar in proportion to your body size. The grip breadth should be slightly wider than your shoulder width, and you should always hold with your thumb in.

3. With the assistance of a spotter, unrack the bar and move back. Place the bar on your upper chest and steadily push the bar upward while keeping your wrist and elbows at a 90-degree angle.

Exhale as you raise the bar overhead and raise your shoulders, then inhale as you lower it to below your chin.

4. Similarly, repeat the overhead press. Once done, place the bar back on the rack.

b) BenchPress

Bench press
By Bruno Bueno, Pexels

The bench press is beneficial for you if you want to increase the size of your chest. The upper arm, chest, and anterior deltoids are all involved.

If the workout is done properly, it can help you tone your muscles, build muscle mass, increase your metabolism, and lose weight.

How to do a Bench Press:

1. Sit on the bench with your hands on the bar. Place your hand in the appropriate position for your body.

2. Take the bar from the rack and position it across your chest. Slowly lower the bar with your wrist and elbows at a 90-degree angle, then hold for a while before raising the bar upward with your elbows slightly bent.

3. Carry on in the same manner. Return the bar to the rack after you’re finished.

c) Arnold Press

The Arnold press is a shoulder exercise that targets all three shoulder muscles- the anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoids. It will aid in the development of your shoulder muscles.

How to do a Standing Arnold Press:

1 Pick up a pair of dumbbells and position them so that they are below your chin, your wrist and elbow are in a straight line, and your palms are facing your shoulders.

2 Keep your core tight, compress your glutes, ribs, and shoulders, then spread your arms from either side and spin your hand with your palm facing forward, lifting the weights above your head.

3 Maintain a slight bend in your elbows and maintain your biceps close to your ears. Rotate it and then return it to its original place.

Here, you can refer to this link to avoid many common mistakes while doing an Arnold press.

d) Push Press

The push press workout targets both your upper and lower body. It strengthens the upper body as well as the shoulder muscles, this could be an alternative to the standing barbell press.

How to do Push Press:

1. The width of your feet should match the width of your hips.

2. Hold on to the bar from beneath with your palms facing backward and rest it in front of your shoulder with your elbows pointed forward. Just outside the shoulders, place your hand.

3. The torso should be supported by the bar. The bar should be used to support the torso. Drive and press the bar up over your head while tightening your core and squeezing your shoulder blades.

4. Return it to its original place slowly. Repeat the process.

Here, you can refer to this link to know more about push press.

e) Military Press

The military press is one of the variations that involve the muscle groups of the upper body. Target the shoulders, arms, deltoid, and back muscles.

How to do Military Press:

1 Take a seat with the bar above your head. Feet set firmly on the ground. Press your back up against the seat.

2 Grip the bar evenly on both sides, even in the middle, and hold it just outside the shoulder width. Raise the bar above your head with the help of the trainer.

3 Inhale as you lower the bar straight below your chin, then exhale as you raise it back to the starting position.

4 Continue similarly. With assistance, return the bar to its original position.


Don’t sway the bar too much when executing the reps. It should go from above the head to below the chin. It would be best if you did not move to the side, back, or front. Slowly and in a controlled motion, move.

f) Shoulder Press Using Smith Machine

Both beginners and advanced users will benefit from the shoulder press using the Smith machine. The anterior and lateral deltoids are targeted.

This is good for weaker muscles since it strengthens them and helps them gain muscle mass.

How to do shoulder presses using the Smith machine:

1. Adjust the height of the bar attached to the machine to your chest height first. Adjust the bench position after that.

2. Take a firm grip on the bar, palming outward. The distance between your hands should be slightly greater than your shoulder width.

3. Slowly unlock the bar, take a deep breath, and lower it below your chin. Exhale as you lift the bar back to its initial position.

4. Repeat as many times as you need to reach your desired amount of repetitions.


There are a variety of shoulder workout options, and you can choose which one to incorporate into your training routine.

The shoulder press is an excellent shoulder workout because it improves body posture, increases functional strength, and tones and builds muscles.

It’s important to remember that no matter whether you prefer a home workout or working out in a gym, you should always do it correctly to get the most out of it and avoid any injury.

Read more from us here!

  1. Saeterbakken, Atle H., and Marius S. Fimland. “Effects of body position and loading modality on muscle activity and strength in shoulder presses.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 27.7 (2013): 1824-1831. ↩︎
  2. Maynez, Valeria Sofia. “Workout Routine.” (2020). ↩︎
  3. Hibbs, Angela E., et al. “Optimizing performance by improving core stability and core strength.” Sports medicine 38 (2008): 995-1008. ↩︎
  4. Barrett, Eva, et al. “An evaluation of two types of exercise classes, containing shoulder exercises or a combination of shoulder and thoracic exercises, for the treatment of nonspecific shoulder pain: A case series.” Journal of Hand Therapy 31.3 (2018): 301-307. ↩︎

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