- Sit or stand being sure to keep the back straight and grasp the barbell with the palms facing forward. Note: A narrow grip (which naturally forces the elbows forward) puts focus on the front deltoids and the upper chest. A wide grip(which naturally forces the elbows to point to the sides) puts focus, again, on the front deltoids and also on the middle deltoids. If seated, the barbell will likely be on a rest well behind the body.
- From the seated position, if the weight is heavy, you may need a spot to get the weight into position overhead. Also, keep the core tight.
- Press the weight vertically until the arms are extended (or very near to being so), exhaling throughout the movement.
- Slowly lower the weight to until it reaches the collarbone, inhaling throughout the movement. Only allow the elbows to fall below a horizontal plain if it is comfortable to do so.
- Repeat steps 3-4 for as many repetitions as are desired. (Sets should generally fall between 3 to 6 with 6-12 repetitions.)
Using a back rest will help to prevent injury by providing lower back support and reducing improper arching of the back.
The farther the elbows move away from pointing forward - that is, each pointing in the direction of its respective side (left elbow to the left and right to the right) - the more the middle deltoids will be recruited.
It is possible to do barbell front presses from a standing position, but the core must be kept very tight so as not to strain the lower back. If the weight is heavy, a "clean" may be required (or something loosely resembling it). An actual Olympic style clean really should not be done for this exercise, however some of the techniques may be used to get the barbell in place resting on the clavicle. Though, in verbiage, the procedure is simple. With the barbell on the floor at one's feet, grasp the barbell shoulder width or wider. Now, using leg-power, explosively move the weight upward so that it rests on the clavicle and across the deltoids. This is a "clean". Note than both the "clean" or "clean and jerk" (another sort of movement) are difficult, technical procedures to do safely and master, especially with heavy weight.
Military barbell presses can stress the shoulder joint, though it is less common with this variation than with barbell back presses. Everybody has a unique body structure, so there is great variance in what is both possible and comfortable for different people. With this in mind, to help prevent injuries only lower the bar as far as is comfortable for your individual body structure.