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Strengthen your upper body with the military press.
Like the actual military, the barbell military press exercise is quite strict. Strict in form that is -- the exercise requires that you use only your upper body to move the bar rather than cheating to get momentum from your legs. The exercise works several muscle groups in your upper body. Performing the barbell military press with heavy weights can help you on your way to building strong arms and shoulders.
Do It Right
To get the most out of barbell military presses, you've got to execute the exercise with proper form. Position a loaded barbell in front your upper chest and shoulders, holding it with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Place your feet slightly apart, straighten your back and stabilize your abdomen. From here, use only your arms to press the bar overhead as you exhale. Continue until your arms are fully extended, pause at the top of the movement then inhale as you slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.
The main muscles worked by the barbell military press are the shoulders, particularly the anterior and lateral portions of the deltoids. These muscles work to flex and draw the shoulders away from the body as you press the bar overhead.
While your deltoids are busy moving your shoulders, your triceps are working hard to extend your elbows. They continue to work at the very top of the movement to stabilize your elbows and shoulders as you hold the bar above your head.
Engage the Pecs
Although this exercise will not give you Arnold pecs, it does require some significant effort from your chest muscles. The clavicular head of the pectoralis major works in unison with your deltoids to flex and abduct your shoulders during the barbell military press.
Several muscles in the back are also called upon to execute the military press. The serratus anterior and supraspinatus are responsible for abducting and rotating the shoulder blades as you press the bar overhead. The middle fibers of the trapezius draw the shoulder blades together when you lower the bar back down to the starting position.