Bradford Press: What It Is, Muscles Worked, Benefits Of It & More


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Work your shoulders, and even triceps, with the Bradford press.

Working our shoulders can be challenging, but with a unique exercise like the Bradford press, you never have to worry about wasting your time again. Named after a well-known American weightlifter, this exercise is one to help with overall shoulder gains, while also seeing those triceps get work done. A cross between two popular exercises you know, by combining into one exercise, you double up on the gains. A movement designed for intensity and results, this is one to consider in your routine.

As vital connecting points to our arms and trunks, our shoulders are incredibly important to keep strong and stable. With the right exercises, we can build better development overall while also affecting strength, size, and shape. The right approach will improve gains and having something like the Bradford press in your routine is a no brainer, especially once we tell you the benefits.

Let’s take a look at the Bradford press and see what makes this exercise so great. From what it is, to those muscles worked, the benefits of it, and how best to perform it, you will walk away from here with a complete guide into just how to see gains with the Bradford press.

Bradford press

What Is The Bradford Press?

The Bradford press is named after an American weightlifter by the name of James Bradford. A world champion, and Olympic champion, Bradford earned the respect of those around him and this exercise was named after him in his honor.

What makes this exercise so interesting is that it is a continuous movement of two common exercises: the military press and behind the neck press. By watching someone perform this exercise, you realize that it is a killer for those delts and is perfect for anyone looking to build those boulder shoulders. A bit of a compound movement, you will find this exercise to be highly effective in helping you see those gains you want most, especially those upper body muscles.

Muscles Worked

This exercise is predominantly a shoulder exercise, really working on overall delt development and improving strength, size, and shape. Given that the Bradford press is essentially two shoulder exercises into one, there is no excuse for not seeing real gains to those shoulder muscles. Your triceps also see work done and what you will find is that all three heads may be engaged given the nature of this movement.

Bradford press

Benefits Of The Bradford Press

The benefits of the Bradford are hard to ignore and can benefit you greatly when it comes to muscle growth, but also to other areas you seek to improve as well. Once you hear what this exercise can do, there’s no turning back and it will become a real staple in your routine.

Benefits of the Bradford press include:

  • Greater shoulder development: With better activation of your delt muscles, you will see an increase to strength and size, while also better overall delt development from movement and range of motion.
  • Triceps work: Since your triceps are targeted during this exercise, you start to see some growth as well. While it may not be as much as a triceps isolation exercise, it’s still something!
  • Better stability: By increasing your shoulder development, you start to feel more stable. Stronger, more stable shoulders are exactly what you need to see the best gains.
  • Plenty of variations: What you will find with this exercise is that there are plenty of variations to help you which can lead to even more growth.

How To Perform It

Here the steps for performing the Bradford press. By knowing the proper technique, you better set yourself up to see those gains you want most while doing so safely and effectively.

  1. Set your desired amount of weight onto the barbell. Hold the bar at about shoulder level height, but with your grip slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. When ready, engage your core and lift the barbell overhead.
  3. Now comes the second portion of this exercise. Lower the bar but this time it will be behind your head.
  4. Lift the bar back overhead and switch to repeat from the beginning, bringing the bar back down but in front of you.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of sets and reps.

Bradford press

Best Bradford Press Variations

Bradford press variations are great for they will offer a variety of exercises to diversify your workouts while also keeping them fun and engaging. The nice part about these is that you can still see growth through muscle confusion thus optimizing the effectiveness of all your workouts.

Bradford press variations include:

  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Thrusters
  • Arnold Press
  • Landmine Press
  • Military Press
  • Behind-The-Neck Shoulder Press

Best Exercises To Pair With

As an effective exercise, knowing which exercises pair well with the Bradford press can help you see only the best gains especially when it comes to your shoulder development and triceps growth. Looking to exercises like the front raise or lateral side raise offer the chance to perform simple yet effective exercises. Something like the Viking press will be more unique but can be a game changer as well.

Those triceps deserve some love and your classic triceps kickbacks or triceps pulldowns are awesome for seeing those gains you want most so that horseshoe-shape really starts to take shape. By combining with your shoulders, you get a great workout for those pushing muscles to amplify sport specific or more functional movements for the better.

Wrap Up

The Bradford press is a great exercise to see gains to your shoulder development and triceps growth and is a unique way to challenge your muscles during the workout. With tons of benefits, plenty of variations, and being rather simple to perform, you will find this exercise can be very useful in your routine. Give the Bradford press a try and see what this can do for all your muscle building goals today.

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