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DEFINITION. The MILITARY PRESS is a barbell press above the head.
It is a variant of the behind the neck press which is demonstrated on the site.
The difference is that the bar goes in front of the face.
Behind the neck press.
DANGERS. Also widely practised by a large number of athletes, this exercise may incur serious dangers for the lumbar and dorsal spine.

Brief reminder, This was one of the three weightlifting movements:
  • Snatch.
  • Clean and jerk.
  • Clean and press.
The clean and press was stopped since the weightlifters no longer developed anything.
The trick was to raise the shoulders as high as possible then move underneath by arching the back as much as possible and as quickly as possible.
Once the bar was held with the arms stretched, the athlete simply had to stand straight.

The risks are twofold, depending on whether the movement is executed:
  • Sitting down:     Risk of damaging the dorsal spine.
  • Standing up:      Risk of damaging the lumbar spine.
In both cases, to avoid taking the slightest risk, it would be sufficient to:
  • Block the chin on the chest to protect the dorsal spine.
  • Pull in the stomach.
  • Contract the glutei to tilt the pelvis.
Obvious in theory, but unrealistic in practice.

I challenge anyone to push a bar vertically above the shoulders keeping the chin against the chest!

The bar is forced to leave the vertical axis of the shoulder joint.
With a stick it is child's play, but with a loaded bar it is quite another matter when it has to move past the nose!

OTHER PROBLEM. We have considered the movement executed by a perfect athlete.
Unfortunately, not everyone is perfect.
    Very few people are able to stand with the spine from the buttocks to the shoulders against a wall, pulling back the chin and then raising the arms above the head to touch the wall with the back of the hands!

    And once again, it is not a question of load!
Frequently, it is impossible to position the humerus vertically with respect to the chest.

To execute this movement, we generally cheat in everyday life by "playing" on the flexibility of the spine to avoid being accused of making the Nazi salute.
A game that you end up paying for sooner or later by pains along the spine as the years go by.

But in bodybuilding, CHEATING = DANGER.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS? For the out-and-out enthusiasts of this "wonderful and catastrophic" movement, I suggest :
  • Working with dumbbells.
    This avoids the difficulty of moving the barbell in front of the nose.
  • Using a slightly inclined bench, as shown below:
    Incline bench.
    the demonstration is not a military press.
    Simply note the inclination of the backrest.
    Never use the vertical bench at 90°.
MORAL OF THE STORY: If you think that life on Earth is possible without this movement,


Many other exercises are available to work the lateral deltoids and the triceps.

Read the page dedicated to working the SHOULDERS.