Do Your Best Strongman Impression With the Single-arm, Neutral-grip Barbell Press

Single arm bb shoulder press main

Nothing makes you feel more like Atlas than hoisting a barbell with one arm. Not only does it look seriously cool, the balancing act of completing a set of single-arm, neutral-grip barbell presses trains some serious shoulder and core stability, not to mention grip strength.

You can also scale it down (slightly) with a bottoms-up kettlebell overhead press or waiter press.

How do you do a single-arm neutral-grip barbell press?

Start with an empty barbell, racked just below shoulder height. Position yourself so your hand grasps the bar at its center, and so your shoulder is just behind it and under the bar. Unrack the bar and step away so you won’t catch the hooks. Maintaining a neutral grip, press the bar up overhead, keeping your arm close in. Keep your elbow pointing straight ahead of you, not out to the side, as you lower the barbell.

Do up to 8 controlled reps with an empty barbell before you add any weight (and keep low reps in general on this move).

For the bottoms-up kettlebell press, grasp the handle firmly, with the bell aimed up overhead. In the waiter kettlebell press, hold the bottom of the kettlebell in your open palm so you’re supporting the bell from below, as if it’s a cocktail tray.

What’s so great about the single-arm neutral-grip barbell press?

Balancing anything that’s both heavy and unwieldy makes many muscles work hard to stabilize; doing it on one side only forces your entire core to work, too.

How can you use it?

Replace your unilateral overhead presses or military with this more challenging version, keeping your reps low—this move is for strength, not endurance.

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