To shoulder a barbell is to get it in place by one shoulder. It is a setup for a one-handed barbell lift which includes the bent press but could also be used for side or push presses or jerks.
You don’t often see shouldering a barbell anymore. This is because few people engage in one arm lifts of barbells period. But that doesn’t mean this oldtime lift can’t be a great one to do.
• Make sure your collars can hold the weight when the barbell is vertical.
• Line up your hand in the center of the barbell. Being off a bit can throw the whole exercise off. For this reason, I mark the center of my barbell with a piece of tape to make it easy to find.
• Rest the barbell against the trap and support from there. While a light weight can be manhandled into place, a heavy weight needs this extra support, so it is best to begin with the technique right from the start.
• Avoid the barbell resting on the collarbone or shoulder bones. It’s painful!
• The other arm goes as far down the barbell as possible, lifting from there.
• Squat down as much as possible to get the barbell in place then stand up.
This is a full-body exercise with emphasis on core stability, with a good amount of leg work too.
Like this exercise? Find many more like it inside of Deceptive Strength: Becoming Strong While Staying Small.
Is it alright to do this with just entirely one arm? I have severe weakness in my left arm due to traumatic brain injury, and likely won’t be able to involve that arm to assist. But still want to get as strong as possible on my unaffected side, would you suggest that I start with an empty barbell, and shoulder it, then add an overhead press or bent press (which I would love to work up to)or just stick with heavy dumbbells?
Thanks in advance,.
Haven’t tried it but should be feasible.