Exercise Number One Exercise for Shoulder Development

Read these three reasons why Standing Barbell Shoulder Press is the best exercise for shoulder development!

Number One Exercise for Shoulder Development

There are numerous ways in which the deltoid (including the posterior, lateral and anterior muscles) muscle can be trained. Various exercises include the use of dumbbells or barbells and can be isolation or compound exercises. Personally, there is always one exercise which comes out on top both for improving strength and size. In recent months I’ve developed a greater interest in strength training, however this exercise can most certainly benefit you if your focus is hypertrophy and building size. Below I outline three reasons why standing barbell shoulder press deserves its rightful place at the top of the pecking order!

3 Undeniable Benefits of the Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

1. Activates Your Core

Compared to any other exercises that train your shoulder muscles, barbell shoulder press is by far the best at doing this. As you are performing this exercise stood up, you don’t have the support of a bench to put your back and head against. Instead, you have to not only lift the weight, but also remain balanced and stable throughout the movement. This requires a lot of core strength and balance. It forces your body to recruit more stabilizer muscles in comparison to the seated version of this exercise. Specifically, it activates your rectus abdominus, external obliques and erector spinae.

Tired at the end of your workout but know the importance of core strength? Don’t worry! Doing this exercise will ensure your core gets worked whilst still being a killer shoulder exercise!

2. Makes Bench Press Stronger

This is a biggie. Standing overhead press requires a bit more of the upper back musculature to play a role in pressing, which can help strengthen the bench press’s eccentric movement.

As a reminder, the eccentric phase of any movement is the non-contraction phase. So for barbell bench press, this would be when the weight is being lowered towards your chest.

3. Develops Humongous Deltoids

The overhead press will strengthen the posterior deltoids. A lot of upper body exercises such as barbell bench press or any isolation exercises for your shoulders fail to do so. It’s common to incorporate all of the deltoid heads in various pressing movements, but not necessarily equally in a given exercise (e.g. barbell bench press).

In terms of standing overhead barbell shoulder press, your anterior deltoid initiates the movement. The medial/lateral deltoid continues the lift, and the posterior finishes the movement enabling lockout at the elbows to occur. You can’t have good strength on pressing movements if you don’t have well developed shoulders.


I hope this helped make things clearer for you in terms of choosing shoulder exercises going forwards!

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