What Is A Shoulder Press Machine?A shoulder press machine is a piece of workout equipment that enables you to perform the shoulder press—an exercise that involves pressing weights vertically overhead.
Although weightlifters of all kinds include the machine shoulder press in their strength training programs, it’s especially popular among new weightlifters. That’s because it requires less balance and coordination than similar free-weight exercises, making it easier to learn when starting out.
Shoulder Press Machine: BenefitsThe main benefit of the machine shoulder press is it allows you to train several upper-body muscle groups simultaneously, primarily the shoulder muscles and triceps.
It also lets you lift heavy weights safely and progress regularly, making it ideal for gaining upper-body strength and muscle.
The shoulder press machine offers some unique advantages over free-weight alternatives, too.
First, it’s more straightforward for beginners because it requires less balance and coordination than similar free-weight exercises.
And second, it’s easy to set up, so you don’t waste energy or risk injury getting into position the way you might during exercises such as the dumbbell shoulder press or Arnold press.
Shoulder Press Machine: Muscles WorkedThe main muscles worked by the machine shoulder press are the . . .
- Anterior deltoids (“front delts”)
- Lateral deltoids (“side delts”)
- Posterior deltoids (“rear delts”)
Here’s how the main muscles worked look on your body:
Machine Shoulder Press: FormFollow these machine shoulder press instructions to perform the exercise with proper form.
1. Set upSit in the shoulder press machine seat with your back against the backrest and your feet planted on the floor. Adjust the seat until the handles are about shoulder height, then grip the handles with your palms facing away from you.
2. PressDrive your feet into the floor and your back against the backrest, then press the handles toward the ceiling until your arms are straight. Avoid excessively arching your lower back or scooting forward on the bench.
3. DescendReverse the movement and return to the starting position. To perform each rep through a full range of motion, continue lowering the handles until they’re at shoulder height.
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Seated Shoulder Press Machine: Free-Weight AlternativesThe machine shoulder press is an excellent exercise for gaining muscle and building strength, especially when you’re new to strength training.
That said, you should be aware of several free-weight alternatives to the machine shoulder press.
These exercises require more balance, coordination, and stability than the machine version. Because of this, they train more muscle groups throughout your body, making them slightly better for building strength and muscle.
The best alternatives to the seated shoulder press machine are: