Smith Machine Overhead Press exercise is a compound movement that effectively builds size for the entire shoulder complex.

Primary muscle involved is the front or anterior head and the upper chest but the lateral head also gets worked in this exercise.

Smith Machine Overhead Presses are a safer alternative to the traditional Standing Shoulder Press because you do not have to stabilise the weight as much.

Smith Machine Overhead Press How To

  • Take a wider than shoulder width overhand grip on the bar of a Smith machine.
  • Position your upper chest under the bar; your shoulders and wrist must be in line with the bar.
  • Place one foot forward for better balance and stability. Tighten your core, keep a flat back and push your chest out throughout the exercise.
  • Take a deep breath, exhale then press the weight straight up. Do not lock your elbows at the top. Maintain a slight bend in your arms.
  • Resist the weight on the way back to starting position.
  • When the bar touches your upper chest, press the weight back up again.
  • Repeat the exercise until you have completed the targeted number of reps.

Form and Technique

Always wrap your thumbs around the bar to get a secure grip.

Alignment is very important to make the Smith Machine Overhead Press effective and safe.

The wrist, shoulders and elbows must be in line with the bar.

Otherwise, there would be greater shoulder rotation and more compression forces on the rotator cuff.

Variations: Standing Shoulder Press, Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Routine for Strength: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Routine for Muscle Gains: 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps

How To Do Smith Machine Overhead Press