T Nation

Standing Military Press


Making this thread to see how many people do standing military press (freeweight barbell, no smith machine), I stand with my left leg slightly ahead of the plane of my body and the right leg slightly behind, I drop the bar to the top of my chest and up (not behind the neck), I enjoy the workout but read about it doing damage to the lumbar vertebrae, any seasoned veterans agree with this?

looking forward to your oppinions,


i like the standing military press way better then the seated version. I also bring the bar down to my chest instead of behind the head.

I would like to hear about the damage it can cause also.


I was taught to put it on my chest....when did they say bring it behind your neck?Better question,who would want weight resting on your neck like that?


Yeah, I do them too. To the front instead of the back. I haven't been doing them for very long yet though...


I do them.


I do them standing and to the front as well. I have no scientific backing, but I feel it is better on your back to do them standing; while standing, your back can provide support, while seated, your back has no 'wiggle room' and gets compressed between the seat and the bar.

I try to keep my feet even, but sometimes, I'll lurch forward and have to put a foot ahead of the other for support and balance.
I rarely use perfect form for these. I find it most effective for all around strength to combine it with a clean, or leg drive.


When I discovered that seated presses allowed me to do at least 10-15% more weight than when standing, I realized that I was using the seat for leverage, not my body for strength.

Now I do all shoulder presses standing. When I get to the heavier weights, I also brace myself with one foot forward and one slightly back.


I do standing and seated, alternating every so often, and doing it behind my head. When i first started, i did em behind the neck and it feels awkward to do them in the front. I guess it wouldnt hurt switching up though...


When I do them with a BB, I prefer front over behind the neck, im able to lift more this way. But currently ive been doing them with DB's, one arm at a time, side press mainly & sometimes a little front, but mainly side. Never had any problem with them yet.


I do them. I think the possibility of it being hard on your lumbar region would be the result of leaning back and/or not bracing your midsection. The temptation to lean back of course comes when the weight gets too heavy.

It's definitely an exercise to be careful with, but I like them.


I like standing presses with dumbbells, as there's none of this question of in front/in back. They stay in the same plane as my body, and I suppose are therefore easier on the shoulders.

Actually, I don't have large enough dumbbells to do overhead presses anymore. So I'm up to 16 handstand push-ups, supported by the wall (not with the chairs).


I think if you use the offset stance with one leg in front you take a lot of pressure off of the lumbar region. That's exactly how I do them.


Just got back form doing these and rarely a week goes by I dont do them. I to clean the weight. feel if you cant clean it you have NO business lifting it above your head. To the fornt also but have done to the back and alternated. puts a LOT of stress on shoulders but never had a problem from them.

To add standing ANYTHING is going to give more bang for the training buck. using the core and stabilizers etc to balance and hold that weight.

I to will alternate some days using strict presses some days More wieght and push presses nice controlled negative.

Etc Etc.


Sounds fine to me - just switch your leg position every set or workout.


I re-injured a herniated disc exactly a year ago doing standing presses. Since actually being injured doing this exercise I'll give my input on this exercise.

This exercise is NOT dangerous if done properly. My mistake was doing a standing press for reps with something like 90% of my max (185 at that time) when my back was not properly healed. Talk about dumb, but you live and learn.

One year later I can do these with no problem, even after a herniated disc.

For me, the proper way to do these is to have a strong lower back, work with no more than 85% of my max and if I struggle to lock out just release back to the starting position. Struggling to lock out and fighting it up is where most injuries occur during this exercise (I think, that was my case though), most likely because during the struggle you may put your back in a vulnerable position.

Even after a herniated disc, I rehab'd and now hoist heavy objects over my head. It's nice to be young (25).


I do the standing press. I feel like it's harder when you stand, plus I always had trouble not hitting the bar on the resting fixture so I don't like it. You get more freedom when you are standing. I like to use the shortened bar sometimes too. I do a lot of variations as well in addition to the standard bar lift. Dumbbells, dumbbells with twists (both ways, the arnold press i think its called?), bar in front, bar in back (standard method), combinations of front and back

I wouldn't be suprised about the possiblity of damaging your vertebrae when sitting also. There is a lot of pressure put on it when you are sitting.


Hmm...I also did/do them standing. Now my back is injured so I'm taking a break. Sorry for the hijack, but think it would be a good idea to stick (when I begin to again press overhead) to one arm DB presses, at least most of the time? This goes by the logic that the obliques would take a lot of the load when working unilaterally, not to mention that I would be using about half the weight.


with lighter weights I would imagine you would be fine, and smart idea on the 1 handed , less weight compressing your back, and an oblique (isometric) workout as well, a few friends of mine do the one handed military press with DBs, they seem to enjoy it,


I do alot of push presses from behind the neck. I basically unrack the bar like a squat and press. I also throw in dumbell and seated. Push presses from the front cause too much shoulder pain if I bench heavy in the same week.


The Military press is a very satisfying exercise.....it just feels good.

I prefer sets of 5.