HEALTHY LIVING
11/13/2012 08:46 am ET

Fix Your Form: How To Do The Perfect Shoulder Press

If you don't know your way around a weight room, heading to the gym can be intimidating -- and even dangerous. But paying attention to a few simple rules of proper technique can make you slimmer, stronger and healthier all over.

We spent an afternoon at Equinox with trainer and manager Rebecca Woll, learning the ins and outs of some of the most popular strength-training machines.

We've been sharing Woll's thoughts on the biggest mistakes we all make while building muscle, plus her tips and tricks for better form. This week, we're perfecting the shoulder press.

The Faux Pas: Woll says she sees many people set up this machine so that the handles are too high. "You would never pick something up, bring it to 90 degrees, and then press it -- imagine carrying your laundry bag and then giving it to someone else," she says. "You want every [exercise] to be functional."
2012-11-12-shoulderpressbefore.jpg

The Fix: Set up the bench so that the handles fall slightly below your shoulders, she says. Then press up so that the elbows are right by your ears. For a little added bonus, Woll suggests pulling slightly away on the handles to activate smaller parts of your muscles that aren't as developed.
2012-11-12-shoulderpressafter.jpg

Tell us how it goes in the comments below!

Check out more in our Fix Your Form series below:

PHOTO GALLERIES
Fix Your Form

Photos by Damon Dahlen, AOL

For more on fitness and exercise, click here.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.

CONVERSATIONS