Why Is Shoulder Press So Hard? All The Answers For Rapid Progress

L J Kudos

Why Is Shoulder Press So Hard? All The Answers For Rapid Progress

Shoulder Press is a popular exercise that people use to work their deltoid muscles, but it can be quite challenging.

This leaves you asking the question “why is shoulder press so hard”.

There are a few reasons why the shoulder press may seem harder than other exercises.

Hopefully, after reading this you will be better equipped to improve your shoulder press.

Why is shoulder press so hard?

There are a few reasons why the shoulder press may seem harder than other exercises. First, the shoulder is a small joint with a large range of motion. This can make it difficult to control the weight and keep it stable throughout the exercise. Second, the shoulder muscles are relatively small and can tire quickly when working against heavy resistance. Finally, the shoulder press requires good coordination and stability from the core muscles, which can be difficult to maintain when fatigued. All of these factors can make the shoulder press a challenging exercise, but also a great way to build strength and muscle in the shoulders.

The rotator cuff and deltoid muscle group

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that attach the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone.

The four muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis.

The rotator cuff muscles and tendons surround the shoulder joint and help to stabilize the ball-and-socket joint.

They are responsible for keeping the ball of the upper arm bone (humerus) in the socket of the shoulder blade (scapula).

The rotator cuff is a delicate joint and the muscles that surround it are relatively small. This can make it difficult to control the weight when performing the shoulder press.

The rotator cuff can also be easily injured, so it is important to use caution when performing this exercise.

The deltoid muscle is a large, triangular muscle that covers the shoulder joint, which has three heads: the anterior (front), middle, and posterior (rear).

The deltoid muscle is responsible for lifting the arm away from the body.

This muscle can also be easily injured, so it is important to use caution when performing the shoulder press.

Not using the entire body

If you aren’t using your entire body for the movement, meaning your legs, hips and glutes are not engaged, then the weight will be unevenly distributed and put more strain on your shoulders.

Your entire body should be involved in the movement, especially when using heavier weights.

If you find that your shoulders are doing most of the work, then try lightening the load and focus on engaging your entire body.

Why is shoulder press so hard?

Are you standing or sitting?

When performing the shoulder press, you can either be standing or sitting.

If you are sitting, then you will want to make sure that your back is against the back of the chair in an upright position and that your feet are flat on the ground for stability.

You will also want to make sure that the weight is evenly distributed between your feet.

If you are standing, then you will want to make sure that your feet are shoulder-width apart and that you are not swaying from side to side.

You will also want to tighten your core muscles to help stabilize your body.

If you are doing only one or the other, try changing the way you do the exercise with a lighter weight to see if that helps improve your performance.

Related: Why Are My Shoulders Never Sore? 16 Crucial Factors To Consider

Using a weight that is too heavy

If the weight you are using is too heavy, then it will be difficult to control the movement and you will likely use momentum to assist you in lifting the weight.

If you find that you are using momentum to lift the weight, then try lightening the load and focus on using slow, controlled movements.

Going too heavy can lead to injury, so it is important to use a weight that you can control throughout the entire range of motion.

Trying to lift a weight that’s too heavy, especially with how important the rotator cuff is to this exercise, you’re just asking for an injury.

Shoulder injuries can be difficult to rehab 100% due to the nature and complexities of the ball joint and how much we use our shoulders in our everyday lives.

So be sure to use a weight that you can handle with proper form.

Form

Proper form is essential when performing the shoulder press.

If you are using a weight that is too heavy, then you will likely sacrifice form in order to lift the weight.

This can lead to injury, so it is important to use a weight that you can control with good form.

Some common mistakes that people make when performing the shoulder press are as follows…

Not having a strong core

A strong and stable core is essential for any type of lifting exercise, but it is especially important for the shoulder press.

The shoulder press requires good coordination and stability from the core muscles, which can be difficult to maintain when fatigued.

If you find that your shoulders are wobbling or you are losing your balance, then try lightening the load and focus on engaging your core muscles.

You may not have thought a strong core was that important for this exercise, but it will improve your shoulder press considerably if you work on improving your core strength.

Angle of press

The angle of the press is important in order to target the different muscles of the shoulder.

If you press directly overhead, then you will primarily target the deltoid muscle, but can feel cumbersome and uncomfortable if you are sitting completely upright.

Especially if you are using a smith machine or barbell.

If you press at an angle, then you will target the deltoid muscle as well as the rotator cuff muscles.

To target the rotator cuff muscles, try pressing at a 45-degree angle, although this is falling into incline bench press territory.

Pressing at an angle is a great way to target the different muscles of the shoulder, but it can also be difficult to control the weight.

If you find that you are struggling to control the weight, then try lightening the load and focus on using slow, controlled movements.

I prefer to do shoulder press at a slight angle in between the two variations here, as it feels more comfortable and doesn’t put pressure on my shoulder joints. However, see what works for you.

Not engaging the lats

The latissimus dorsi (or lats) are a large muscle group that runs along the sides of the back.

They are important for stabilizing the shoulder joint and helping to control the weight during the shoulder press.

If you find that you are struggling to control the weight, then try focusing on engaging your lats.

To do this, try to keep your elbows close to your sides and focus on squeezing your lats throughout the entire range of motion.

Arching lower back

Another common mistake people make when performing the shoulder press is arching their lower back.

This can put unnecessary stress on the lower back and can lead to injury.

To avoid this, be sure to keep your lower back pressed firmly into the bench by using your legs to keep you firmly planted in position and focus on engaging your core muscles.

If you find that your lower back is arching, then try lightening the load and focus on using slow, controlled movements.

Why is shoulder press so hard?

Clench bottom

When we clench our bottom, it can help to stabilize the pelvis and lower back, which can then help to stabilize the shoulder joint.

This is especially important when pressing at an angle, as it can be easy to lose balance and stability.

To clench your bottom, simply tighten your gluteal muscles and hold them in place throughout the entire range of motion.

You should feel a nice, deep squeeze in your glutes when you do this correctly.

Are you using momentum?

If you are using momentum to lift the weight, then you are not only putting yourself at risk for injury, but you are also not working the muscles as effectively.

The goal of the exercise is to use your muscles, not momentum, to lift the weight.

You should be able to control the weight throughout the entire range of motion and should not be using momentum to swing the weight up.

If you find that you are using momentum, then try lightening the load and focus on using slow, controlled movements.

Related: Why Am I Weaker Than My Last Workout? All You Need To Know To Get Back On Track Fast

Allowing knees to cave in

When our knees cave in, it can put unnecessary stress on the joints and muscles, which can lead to injury.

To avoid this, be sure to keep your knees tracking in line with your toes and focus on engaging your glutes and core muscles.

If you find that your knees are caving in, then try lightening the load and focus on using slow, controlled movements.

All of these mistakes can put unnecessary stress on the joints and muscles, which can lead to injury.

Switch to dumbbells

If you are finding the shoulder press hard, have you thought about using dumbbells? The type of weight you use for the shoulder press can also make a difference in how challenging the exercise is.

Barbells tend to be more stable, which can make them easier to control. However, they also require more coordination and stability from the core muscles.

On the other hand, some people find barbells uncomfortable to handle, especially with heavier weights as your range of motion is restricted.

Dumbbells, on the other hand, are less stable, which can make them more challenging to control. However, they also tend to be more comfortable to handle and allow for a greater range of motion.

Some people find that they can press more weight with dumbbells than they can with barbells.

So, if you are finding the shoulder press hard, then you may want to try using dumbbells instead of barbells.

Why is shoulder press so hard?

Type of grip

The type of grip you use can also make the shoulder press more or less challenging.

A pronated grip (palms facing down) is the most common grip used for the shoulder press.

This grip tends to be more stable and allows you to press more weight.

However, some people find this grip uncomfortable, especially if they have wrist pain.

You may want to try using a neutral grip (palms facing each other) with dumbbells. This grip can be more comfortable for some people and may also allow you to press more weight.

So, if you are finding the shoulder press hard, then you may want to experiment with different grips to find one that is more comfortable for you.

Lack of mobility in the shoulder

Another reason why the shoulder press may seem difficult is because of a lack of mobility in the shoulder.

This can make it difficult to raise the weight all the way up and may also cause pain in the shoulder joint.

Use a light weight and focus on perfecting your form for the exercise if you don’t have full mobility in your shoulder.

You may also want to try some mobility exercises for the shoulder, such as the pec stretch, to help improve your range of motion.

Limited Scapula movement

If you have limited scapula movement, it can make the shoulder press more difficult.

The scapula is a large, flat bone that sits at the back of the shoulder. It is responsible for stabilizing the shoulder joint.

If you have limited scapula movement, it can make it difficult to control the weight and may also cause pain in the shoulder.

Use a lighter weight and focus on your form if you have limited scapula movement.

You may also want to try some scapula mobility exercises, such as the scapular shrug, to help improve your range of motion.

Poor posture

If you have poor posture, it can make the shoulder press more difficult.

Poor posture can cause the shoulders to round forward and the head to lean forward. This can put unnecessary strain on the muscles and joints, which can lead to pain.

If you have poor posture, then you may want to focus on correcting your posture before doing the shoulder press.

You may also want to try some posture-correcting exercises, such as the wall slide, to help improve your posture.

Why is shoulder press so hard?

Not using a full range of motion

If you are not using a full range of motion, then you are not getting the most out of the exercise and you are also putting yourself at risk for injury.

A full range of motion means that you are lowering the weight all the way down to your shoulders and then pressing it all the way back up.

If you’re not utilizing a full range of motion, concentrate on using a lighter weight and perfecting your technique.

Exercises that improve your range of motion, such as the overhead reach, may also be beneficial.

Weak muscles in and around the shoulders 

If you have weak muscles in and around the shoulders, it can make the shoulder press more difficult.

The muscles that are responsible for stabilizing the shoulder joint, such as the rotator cuff muscles, can become weak with age or from disuse.

If these muscles are weak, it can make it difficult to control the weight and may also cause pain in the shoulder.

You may want to focus on strengthening these muscles with exercises such as the rotator cuff strengthening exercises.

In addition, you may also want to try using a lighter weight and perfecting your technique.

Not warm up properly

If you do not warm up properly, it can make the shoulder press more difficult and may also lead to injury.

Make sure to do some light cardio and dynamic stretching before doing the shoulder press. This will help increase your heart rate and loosen up your muscles.

You may also want to try doing the exercise with a lighter weight to help get your muscles warm.

Final thoughts…

The shoulder press is a great exercise for building strength in the shoulders, but it can be challenging.

There are a few reasons why the shoulder press may seem difficult, such as a lack of mobility in the shoulder, limited scapula movement, poor posture, or weak muscles in and around the shoulder.

To make the shoulder press easier, focus on using a lighter weight and perfecting your technique.

In addition, make sure to warm up properly and focus on strengthening the muscles in and around the shoulder.

Have your experienced this issue when working your shoulders, how did you get back on track? Let me know in the comments section below.

If you enjoy sport and use CBD to help with your recovery in between gruelling workouts, then you are in the right place. Here at Sport CBDs, we train hard and recover the best way possible…

We have regular workouts (check out the YouTube channel), CBD news and CBD products to help you gain that edge! 

If you wanted to check out the reputable CBD we have on offer here at the site, then please head to the Sport CBDs Store (CLICK HERE). We also do fitness clothing and yoga accessories too. 

Until next time, all the best…

Beginners Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Lee

Founder – Sport CBDs

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