Give it a Go - Squat to Shoulder Press

Squats with Shoulder Presses will help to build up your lower and upper body strength, provide a great core workout and challenge your Cardiovascular System. Squats with Shoulder Presses is a challenging compound exercise because the exercise if done correctly utilises a wide range of upper, mid and lower body muscles and joints simultaneously.

This exercise will challenge your cardiovascular system, will help you to burn calories and will provide you with a fantastic core workout because you have to transfer the force from you lower body through your core to your upper body and vice versa. Are you up for a challenge? The lower part of your body is doing a squat, the upper part of your body a shoulder press and the middle part of your body being engaged in both.

This blog will look at incorporating two compound exercises into one: the Squat and the Shoulder Press. Therefore, please see my previous blogs on 'Give it a Go - Squat' and 'Give it a Go - Shoulder Presses' before attempting the Squat with Shoulder Presses.

Poor squat to shoulder press technique is common, and can result in shoulder, knee, ankle, hip and/or lower back injuries. The following are a few tips on how to perform the exercise safely and correctly:

  • Keep your chest lifted and body upright as possible, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don't keep looking down). Ensure your core is fully engaged (abdominals contracted) throughout the exercise and that you don’t arch your back. Your legs should be approximately shoulder width apart and your feet firmly on the floor.
  • Grasp a dumbbell (or whatever resistance object you are using) in each hand and lift them so that they are approximately in line with your shoulders, palms facing forward.
  • Bend the knees by leading with the hips and lowering towards the floor. Do not bend further than 90 degrees at the knees. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground still holding the dumbbells at shoulder height.
  • Pause slightly and then powerfully push back up from the feet through the knees and hips and at the same time press the dumbbells upwards by extending the arms and then arc them inwards so the dumbbells come towards each other. Don't lock your arms out fully on extension.
  • Pause for a second at the top and then with control lower the dumbbells (or whatever resistance object you are using) back down to shoulder height. That is 1 repetition. Repeat for the desired repetitions.
  • Using a smooth motion, breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.
  • Avoid bouncing off the floor, letting your heels rise off the floor and your knees pushing out in front of your toes. Avoid letting your elbows lock out at the top, your upper body bending forward/back or your arms falling down quickly on the downward phase of the shoulder press

As a starter, aim to complete 8-10 repetitions and see if you can do this 2-3 times. If you can't don't worry. Build up to it. You are best doing 6 correct squats with shoulder presses with safe and proper technique rather than 10 incorrect ones. Please see my bank of 'Give it a Go - Shoulder Press Exercises' and 'Give it a Go - Squat Exercises'.

Please remember to warm up thoroughly before exercising and to speak to your GP before starting any exercise programme. Should you require any help, advice or information please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to discuss with you the tried and tested methods and lifestyle changes that I have developed to help people achieve their health and fitness goals.

Keep up the great work,

Live life actively,


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