The military press is an old-timey strength builder, one that fell slightly out of fashion with the advent of the bench press but is slowly starting to come back. The military press is one of the most effective upper body grinding exercises found anywhere. It builds “real-world” overhead strength — some would call that “dad strength.”

The military press toughens the shoulders and brutalizes the abs in a way the bench press can’t. This movement is best performed with either one or two kettlebells or dumbbells or a barbell. Start out practicing this movement with a single kettlebell or dumbbell, and then work your way into double kettlebell/dumbbell and barbell pressing. All the same rules apply.

Here are the steps for the military press:


Clean a kettlebell or dumbbell up into the rack position.

Brace the abs, squeeze your butt, and take in a deep breath of air.


Begin to press the weight up overhead; try to keep your forearm vertical throughout the entire press.

Don’t lean back during the military press. Keep the abs tight and the spine neutral!


Press to a full lockout position.

Your bicep should be in line with, or slightly behind, your ear at the top position.

Pull the weight all the way back down to the rack position, and repeat.