Tip: The Shoulder Exercise You Haven't Tried

Build your shoulders, spare your joints. Try this alternative to the standard overhead press.


Seasoned lifters often develop cranky shoulders and lose the ability to press overhead without pain. While dumbbells are a fine alternative, there's just something special about pushing a barbell overhead.

Try the seated sliding strict press, sometimes call the scrape-the-rack press:

It's similar to the Smith machine OHP, but even better. Here are the major benefits:

  1. The added friction of sliding the bar against the rack increases the lift's resistance. It also forces you to press with a perfectly vertical bar path.
  2. You can increase the mechanical tension without actually increasing weight.
  3. It isolates the delts better since you eliminate any cheating or compensation from other muscles like your pecs.
  4. You'll probably be able to press the bar in a pain-free range of motion.

If you love overhead pressing, but the traditional military press hurts, use this variation to build some boulder shoulders.

Tanner Shuck is a former Division 1A football player and accomplished CrossFit athlete. He specializes in competitive fitness, with emphasis on training absolute and relative strength. Tanner is an online coach and personal trainer based out of Dubai, UAE. Follow on Instagram