Why it's on the list: This press allows you to load up more weight, and do more reps, than just about any other overhead exercise, making it a great way to unlock new shoulder growth. It's rightfully considered a bit more of a whole-body movement than a pure shoulder move, since your lower body, core, delts, triceps, and upper pecs are all involved.
This isn't always a bad thing! Compound movements like this engage a great deal of muscle mass and boost muscle-building hormones better than movements that don't. It's a favorite of bodybuilders who are looking to build strength and athleticism in the offseason, like in Steve Cook's shoulder and arms workout.
Push-Press Variations for Shoulder Development:
- Barbell push-press
- Dumbbell clean and push-press
- Kettlebell push-press (double-arm or single-arm)
- Front squat push-press
- Dumbbell thruster
In your workout: This doesn't need to be an "every workout" move. When you do use it, perform it first in your workout, after warming up well, for 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps. Stop each set before fatigue causes your form to crack.
Protect Your Back on Shoulder Day
When doing explosive overhead work like push-presses, either a nylon or leather lifting belt can help you lift heavier more safely. Don't regret not having one in your gym bag.
10 Best Shoulder Workout Exercises for Building Muscle