When looking to target the shoulder muscles, many people turn to exercises like the shoulder press. This can be done with a barbell or dumbbells, but there is another option that some people may not know about – the shoulder press on the smith machine. In this article, we will discuss the best benefits of performing the shoulder press on the smith machine and why this variation can be more beneficial than others.
What muscles does the smith machine shoulder press work?
The shoulder press on the smith machine works the same muscle groups as the shoulder press with a barbell or dumbbells. These include the deltoids, trapezius, and triceps. However, because you are using a machine, there is less stability required. This can be beneficial for those who have shoulder pain or instability issues.
The deltoid muscles consist of the anterior, medial, and posterior heads. The shoulder press on the smith machine will target all three heads of the deltoid muscle. The anterior deltoid is used when you lift your arm forward, the medial deltoid is used when you lift your arm out to the side, and the posterior deltoid is used when you lift your arm backward.
The trapezius muscle is located in the upper back and is responsible for shoulder movement. Specifically, the trapezius muscle helps to stabilize the shoulder girdle and allows you to shrug your shoulders. The shoulder press on the smith machine will also work the trapezius muscle.
The triceps brachii is located on the back of the upper arm and consists of three heads – the lateral, medial, and long head. The lateral head is the outermost head of the muscle and is responsible for shoulder extension. The medial head is located in the middle of the muscle and is responsible for elbow extension. The long head is located on the inner side of the arm and is also responsible for shoulder extension. All three heads of the triceps brachii muscle will be worked with the shoulder press on the smith machine.
How to Perform the Shoulder Press on the Smith Machine?
Before beginning the shoulder press on the smith machine, it is important to perform an adequate warm-up. This can include light cardio and dynamic stretching. The shoulder joint is a delicate joint and needs to be properly prepared for the exercise.
Set the smith machine bar at shoulder height.
Load the desired amount of weight onto the bar.
If you are performing the seated variation of the shoulder press, adjust the seat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
If you are performing the standing variation of the shoulder press, place your feet shoulder-width apart.
How to Perform:
Step under the bar and position it so that it is resting on your upper traps.
Grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
Brace your core and press the bar overhead, extending your elbows.
Lower the bar back to the starting position and repeat.
Benefits of the Smith Machine Shoulder Press
Now that we know how to properly perform the shoulder press on the smith machine, let’s discuss some of the benefits of this exercise.
Less Stability Required
As we mentioned before, the shoulder press on the smith machine requires less stability than other variations. This can be beneficial for those who have shoulder pain or instability issues. It does this by taking the stabilizing muscles out of the equation using the guided path of the machine. This can also be beneficial for beginners who are still learning the exercise. It allows them to focus on movement and proper form without having to worry about stabilizing the weight.
Can Be Performed Seated or Standing
The shoulder press on the smith machine can be performed seated or standing. This can be beneficial depending on your goals. For example, if you are looking to add muscle mass, the standing variation may be a better option as it allows you to use more weight. However, if you are looking to put more load on the shoulders and take out any momentum, the seated variation may be a better option.
Another benefit of the shoulder press on the smith machine is that it can help improve your form. This is due to the fact that you are using a machine, which provides a set path of motion. This can help you to avoid any cheating motions and ensure that you are performing the exercise correctly.
Increased Range of Motion
The shoulder press on the smith machine also allows for a greater range of motion than other variations. This is due to the fact that there is no need to worry about balance, which allows you to lower the bar down further. This increased range of motion can lead to better muscle development over time.
You can use Heavier Weights
Another benefit of using a machine is that you can use heavier weights. This is because there is less stability required and you don’t have to worry about balancing the weight. Also, the weight tends to be lighter in general on shoulder press machines. This, in turn, allows you to use a heavier weight than you could with other variations.
Less Risk of Injury
The shoulder press on the smith machine is a great exercise for those who are looking to avoid injury. This is because there is less stress placed on the shoulder joint and connective tissues. This can help to reduce the risk of any shoulder injuries.
Works all Three Heads of the Deltoid Muscle
The shoulder press on the smith machine is an effective exercise for targeting all three heads of the deltoid muscle. The anterior, medial, and posterior heads of the deltoid are all worked with this exercise. This makes it a great option for those looking to develop their shoulder muscles.
Places the Muscles Under Constant Tension
Another benefit of the shoulder press on the smith machine is that it places the muscles under constant tension. This is due to the fact that you are using a machine, which provides a set path of motion. This can help to increase muscle growth over time as the muscles are constantly being worked.
Safer than other Shoulder Exercises
The smith machine shoulder press is a less risky shoulder exercise than other exercises. This is due to the fact that it places less stress on the shoulder joint and connective tissues. This may decrease the risk of any shoulder problems. Comparatively, free-weight shoulder exercises such as the overhead press can place more stress on the shoulder joint and connective tissues by using a greater range of motion and less stable base. Expert lifters often desire less stable shoulder exercises to build the strength of the stabilizer muscles, but these exercises are not recommended for beginners or those with shoulder problems.
Can be Used for Rehabilitation
The shoulder press on the smith machine can also be used for rehabilitation purposes. This is because it is a low-impact exercise that places less stress on the shoulder joint. This can be beneficial for those who are recovering from a shoulder injury.
The shoulder press on the smith machine is a great exercise for those looking to target their shoulder muscles. It has a number of benefits, including improved form, increased range of motion, and less risk of injury. Additionally, it can be used for rehabilitation purposes. If you are looking to add this exercise to your routine, be sure to start with a lighter weight and increase the weight gradually over time. As always, consult with your doctor or physical therapist before beginning any new exercise routine.
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