Barbell Military Press Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

Barbell Military Press is a strength exercise that works your traps, deltoids and front deltoids.

Barbell Military Press is a great basic move. When done correctly, it can effectively target your neck, shoulders, upper back and upper body.

It requires barbell to do.

Barbell Military Press

How to do Barbell Military Press


Grasp barbell from rack or clean barbell from floor with overhand grasp, somewhat broader than shoulder width. Place bar in front of face.


Press bar upward until arms are extended overhead. Lower to front of neck and repeat.


  • See unrack and rack technique. Feet may be positioned shoulder width apart or one foot in front of other with forward leg slightly bent (as shown). Upper chest assists (instead of side delts) since grip is slightly narrower and chest is high with low back arched back slightly. Also known as Overhead Press.

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do barbell military press from this step-by-step illustrations:

Barbell Military Press 1
Barbell Military Press 2

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for barbell military press may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for barbell military press are:

Primary Muscles

  • Traps
  • Deltoids
  • Front Deltoids

Synergyst Muscles

  • Triceps
  • Pecs
  • Rear Deltoids

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Barbell Military Press work?
Barbell Military Press works traps, deltoids, front deltoids.
What is Barbell Military Press good for?
Barbell Military Press is beneficial for conditioning and to strengthen. It works the best for neck, shoulders, upper back and upper body, as it works traps, deltoids, front deltoids. Barbell Military Pres is a great strength exercise for men, men over 50, women and women over 50.
Is Barbell Military Pres a good exercise?
Barbell Military Pres is a popular strength exercise for traps, deltoids, front deltoids.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Barbell Military Press faster?

Barbell Military Press Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Barbell Military Press and how should you?

Barbell Military Press Standards and Averages


Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Barbell Military Press Alternatives


Wonder how to make Barbell Military Press either easier or more challenging?

Barbell Military Press Variations

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Type(s) Strength, Compound
Muscles Worked Trapezius, Triceps Brachii, Deltoids, Pectorals, Lateral Deltoids, Anterior Deltoids
Difficulty Level(s) Basic, Easy
Equipment Barbell
Location At Gym

Muscles Worked

Target muscle(s) Traps, Deltoids, Front Deltoids
Synergyst muscle(s) Triceps, Pecs, Rear Deltoids

Discover more