Benefits of The Military Press – Lay Your Shoulder Training Foundation!

Hey everyone! In this article, I am going to be going over the benefits of the military press! This exercise is an awesome compound shoulder movement that is great for laying the foundation of a training session. I will be going over 3 of the main benefits of this exercise, with a detailed explanation for each so you can determine if the military press is an exercise worth focusing your time on!

Let’s get to the information!

Compound Shoulder Movement:

The main benefit of the military press is its compound nature. This means it uses more than one joint and therefore more than one muscle group to execute the movement. This is beneficial as it allows us to train the exercise relatively heavy, which gives us many options for progressive overload!

What this does is it gives us a solid exercise to lay the foundation of our training from. This could be our primary movement for strength training. Or our primary exercise for hypertrophy to give us a heavy training stimulus that we can then branch out from therewith.

The other benefit of the military press is other options we can use, while still maintaining the same general movement pattern. An example of this would be the dumbbell shoulder press. What’s the difference you might ask? The dumbbells will stimulate more lateral delt than a barbell military press will. This can be beneficial for hypertrophy as we typically want to focus our shoulder training on the lateral and rear delts. This because our anterior delts get quite a lot of volume done through horizontal pressing movements.

What was just mentioned certainly does not make the military press useless. We can train the military press heavier than the dumbbell press as we get added stability from both our hands being attached to a fixed object, which is the barbell. What this means is the military press may be a superior choice for your primary shoulder exercise in a strength-focused program.
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High Amounts of Muscle Activation:

Another benefit of the shoulder press that stems from its compound nature would be its high degree of muscle activation. This is beneficial as it stimulates a large amount of muscle mass, thus helping with efficiency in our hypertrophy training.

You see, the shoulder press doesn’t just train your front and side delts. It also stimulates your triceps as it involves a fair amount of elbow flexion and extension. If you were to do a seated barbell shoulder press, you could have yourself angled back slightly so your chest is activated a little more through putting it in a position for a greater stretch and contraction.

As we talked about above, this high degree of muscle activation is derived from the compound nature of this exercise. It is like a chain effect. A compound movement that involves a large amount of muscle mass is great for hypertrophy in regards to getting in volume. Meanwhile, the compound nature of this exercise allows us to train it heavy, which is highly beneficial for strength training.

A Beneficial Assistance Exercise:

Are you having difficulty progressing in upper body compound movements such as the bench press? Consider implementing the military press as an assistance exercise. There are many options when looking at assistance exercises for the bench press. However, many people don’t go to another main compound movement that targets a different muscle group for assistance exercises, such as the military press.

I’m not saying the military press will be a beneficial bench press assistance exercise for everyone. However, if you find a weakness of yours in the bench press is strength coming off the chest, then the military press may be just the exercise for you!

The reason I say this is because we can train the military press quite heavy, with a focus on strength development. Knowing that this exercise mainly utilizes the front delts, much like a bench press largely utilizes the front delts coming off the chest, the military press can be a useful exercise to build up brute shoulder strength. Thus having direct carryover and benefit to developing our bench press!

The Gist on The Military Press:

All in all, the military press is an excellent option to lay the foundation of your shoulder training, whether your goal is strength or hypertrophy. It can also serve to be a useful bench press assistance exercise, especially if a weakness of yours is in the early portion of the concentric, which would be getting the weight off of your chest. Specifically, if it is a strength issue instead of a power issue.

All in all, the military press is a solid meat and potatoes shoulder exercise. Do you feel the military press would be a solid option for you? Let me know why you think this in the comment section, and consider giving it a shot! As always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!


Until Next Time,

Kohl Johnson

Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.

Support is much appreciated if you benefited from this:

Kohl Johnson

I am a 16-year-old fitness fanatic! I have learned nothing but quality training and nutrition information from the utmost well-respected individuals in the field. Now, my only focus is to share this knowledge with you for your benefit, in the most honest way possible. We are all in this together! LET'S GO!

4 Responses

  1. Hi Kohl, Great article on The Benefits of The Military Press. It has been a staple of my programming for a long time now, but I wasn’t really introduced to it until about 5-6 years into lifting. This movement along with other compound movements will drastically increase your upper body strength and stability, I love it. Im not sure if you have already, but an article like this on the King of Exercises, the Deadlift, would be much appreciated and awesome.

    • Hi Marvin, I am so glad you found this article beneficial! The military press certainly is a great exercise! Look out for a deadlift exercise benefits article on Saturday! I agree, it is one of the best exercises you can do, I’ll be sure to make one!

  2. Hi there,

    I do multiple small exercises to keep me going. 

    After reading your post it seems like doing military press can take care of multiple muscles of your body. It seems to be a great one-in-all kind of fitness program. 

    The military press can be used as an assistance exercise to bench press benefiting your upper body work out. I was not sure about it and learned from your blog.

    I had an accident 3 years back where I had a small fracture which has been cured. Do you believe I can practice Military press as my exercise routine?

    • Hi there, I am so glad you were able to learn information from my post! As for your question, anything regarding injuries needs to be addressed by a medical proffesional. I do not offer medical advice. Thanks for checking out the article!

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