The Elite Physique

Shoulder Press Machine Benefits

Learn The Shoulder Press Machine Benefits

the shoulder press machine

Are you looking for shoulder press machine benefits?  Well, shoulder training itself is full of benefits.  However, overall shoulder development comes with a lot of moving parts.  Many people look to using machines to gain muscle and strength.  While machines do have their place, do shoulder machines really add any benefits?  Let’s discuss it a bit.

Breaking Through Speed Bumps

Let’s go over some important details regarding shoulder training before we get into the meat of this.

  • A critical part of the shoulder press is your scapula action.  Lifting anything over your head requires your shoulder blades to rotate upward.  With this, your shoulder blades rely on other muscles such as your serratus anterior as well as your upper and lower traps.   If those muscle are weak, it will make your shoulder press harder to perform.
  • The rotator cuff, muscles and tendons that keep your humerus attached to the shoulder socket, allows the shoulder joint to move in a full range of motion.  Weak rotator cuffs can cause the shoulder press to be a struggle.
  • If you have pain when doing the shoulder press, you could be dealing with overuse which is a form of an injury.  Overuse injuries occur when you train too much, too heavy, too quickly, and use poor form.
  • A strong core is important for all your lifting.   A weak core with a week upper body can lead to arching when doing overhead presses.  A slight, natural arc is fine, but if you overcompensate due to a weak core and upper back muscles, you are going to have some lower back pain in time.  In addition, an overcompensated arc brings the chest muscles into play too much.

The Shoulder Press Machine

Many new lifters gravitate to machines for their workouts.  That’s perfectly fine.  Machines are great to learn proper form and even build muscle. However, machines aren’t the end-all when it comes to weight training.  If you are serious about weight training and muscle building, there comes a time when you need to use more free weights in your training.

But, let’s discuss the shoulder press machine benefits.  As noted, the shoulder press machine is a great device for beginners.  It teaches form and allows you to progress to some degree.  The downfall is if you have weak upper and lower traps and weak a serratus anterior, you could have some issues.  When doing the shoulder press, your shoulder blades depend on those trap and serratus anterior muscles for stability and mobility.  If those muscle are not strong, they can fail to rotate your scapula up.  This makes the shoulder press a real problem.  When people struggle with shoulder press, they tend to do too much weight, as well as too many reps and sets.  The end result is injury.

Shoulder Press Machine Variations

Have you figured out the shoulder press machine benefits?  Not all shoulder press machines are the same. Some of the overhead press machines lock you into a hard and jammed position.  An example is the Nautilus.  Personally, I find the Nautilus shoulder press machine really hard on the shoulders and rotator cuff.  Most new and older people in the gym, where I personal train, about 95% cannot complete one rep with one plate due to the position it puts you in and lack of shoulder blade mobility.

What about using the Smith Machine for overhead presses?  Good question.  The Smith uses fewer muscle stabilizers.  Even so, the upside is that the smaller and weaker muscles won’t hold your strength back, allowing you to lift a bit heavier.

However, the Hammer Strength machine puts you in more of an incline position, allowing better mobility.  Those who cannot perform one reps on the Nautilus shoulder press can easily do 10+ reps on the Hammer Strength overhead press.

How to Overcome The Shoulder Press Struggle

Moving weights over your head is one of the most powerful movements you can do.  A good, strong, and safe overhead press requires good shoulder, rotator cuff, and upper back mobility.  The best way to really build some killer shoulders is to use free weights.  Free weight overhead presses allow for a natural arc movement when you press the weight up.  Chances are, you are still using machines because of what was discussed above.  Let’s wean off the machine and do more free weights.  Doing so, you’ll see explosive delt growth.

If your shoulders are weak, you might start off doing overhead pressed with the EZ curl bar.  It’s only 15 pounds.  Since the EZ curl bar is short, take the widest grip you can.  You can stand or sit to do this overhead press.  With the EZ curl resting on your collar bone, push the bar up overhead to full extension and lower back to your clavicle area.  Never press from behind the neck.

Now that you can press the EZ bar overhead, shoot for 15 reps.  Yes, this is endurance range, but we need a starting point.  Spend 4-6 weeks building that endurance and those stabilizers.  Then, as the weeks progress, slowly add poundage and follow the same path of progression.  When you feel strong enough, try the dumbbells.  The dumbbells allow for more control on each side of your body.  So, if you have a weaker side, you can do some unilateral training to bring it up to par with your stronger side.

Use Progressive Overload

Over the course of months, you are going to want to increase your poundage and shoot for the 10 rep range for more growth and strength.  Once you are able to start doing free weights for the shoulder press, it’s time to start implementing progressive overload.  Using progressive overload is a training technique guaranteed to build muscle.  Use progressive overload in your training.  Several months after you are in the 10 rep range, increase the poundage again and shoot for the 8 rep range for strength and muscle gains.

Here’s Your Shoulder Training Answer…

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As discussed the shoulder press machine benefits are there.  However, to improve your physique and strength, you need to eventually move on to free weight training. Now, this information is just the tip of the iceberg.  If you really want to build some cannon ball delts, you really need to get my free shoulder training tips below.  It’s instant and it’s free…


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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

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My name is Karen Sessions and I am a life-time natural female bodybuilder, multi-certified fitness instructor, author, specialist in performance nutrition, and a success coach. I've been in the fitness industry since 1988! I teach people Just Like You how to transform their bodies, get in shape, build muscle, lose fat and compete in Bodybuilding, Physique, and Figure Competitions. When you have the CORRECT information you can have total confidence and turn your dreams into reality... and I can help transform YOUR body. I have helped THOUSANDS of clients reach their goals and I can help you, too. Be sure to grab my free gift above so you can start moving toward your goal.

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