How to Use the Overhead Press Machine

For shoulders and arms, few gym machines are more effective than the Overhead Press. It works the deltoid muscles, or the sides of your shoulders, which are good for lifting boxes from shelves or picking up a small child. If you’ve never used this popular piece of equipment, this should get you started.

In this exercise, you’ll be moving both your shoulders and your elbows.

The Setup
Adjust the seat height so the handles or bars are about even with your shoulders.

The Weight
Start small; for toning, add weight until you find a weight that allows you to do 8-12 repetitions before you start to lose proper form.

The Position
 Sit with your back up against the seat and your feet flat on the floor or firmly on a foot bar, if there is one.

The Move
Grasp the handles and press the weight up in a smooth, slow motion until your arms are extended, but don’t lock your elbows. Lower the weight back down to shoulder height, without allowing the lifted weight to rest on the weight stack. Be sure to breath; exhale on the lift up, inhale while bringing it down.

Body Benefit
Shapely shoulders that can carry boxes, grocery bags, or baby.
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Member Comments

Thanks for the info Report
Thanks Report
Some helpful information, thank-you. Report
i don't think i've ever used one Report
Our gym is closed right now but I will check this out when it re-opens. Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report


Great Tips! Thanks for sharing this one! Report
Thanks! Great info! Report
Good article. Report
Pictures would have helped. Report
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Thanks! Report


About The Author

Nicole Nichols
Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.