How The Viking Press Works To Enhance Those Boulder Shoulders

Viking Press_Athlete

Build Strongman-like shoulders with this massive exercise to not only boost your physique, but your confidence as well.

We’ve all seen those guys in the gym. Massive pecs, bulging biceps, everything we want most out of our training. But what makes that physique stand out are those boulder shoulders, those tiny mountains sitting beside their heads. It may seem easy to grow your shoulders, performing those staple exercises like front and side raises, a military press, or the upright row.

While those are great, looking towards more massive lifts can really work to create those boulder shoulders. The Viking Press is a monster shoulder workout to give you Strongman-like strength and those desired rounded delts to really add to your physique. Plus, you look like a beast doing this press.

When it comes to shoulder strength, there is way more to it than just looking good and pumping out that awesome physique and this viking exercise can help get you there. With strong, stable shoulders, you allow yourself to thrive with more functional movements, as well as those sport specific exercises we need most, especially out of a press. Anything from throwing a ball to carrying groceries, all the way to lifting massive weights with the overhead press will all be enhanced (1).

Preventing injuries is another key factor in shoulder strength and should not be overlooked, especially with this viking exercise. As connectors for our arms to our torso, keeping these muscles and the surrounding attachments stable and healthy is vital for really seeing that huge growth we want most out of a press. And to bring it back to physique, your confidence will improve with those boulders showing through.

Let’s take a look at the Viking Press and see what the hype is all about with this movement. From what it is, to muscles worked, the benefits involved, and how to perform it, this press is something you may want to try in the gym for people to envy. And trust us, they will as you’ll like a fierce Viking. A seriously monster lift, you will build your shoulders, as well as your confidence as you look to be the biggest one there. Don’t be afraid to show off with this press, for it will only increase your confidence.

Viking Press_Athlete

What Is The Viking Press?

The Viking press is one of those shoulder exercises you just can’t overlook. Perfect for those looking to master overhead training and the motion of a press, this requires range of motion as well as strength to really press that weight lifted overhead. What it can do is seriously build shoulder strength and work to increase overhead mobility. By adding stress on your core, this press requires that to be engaged so you can put the stress on your shoulders and not your low back (2).

This press can be used with either two barbells parallel to one another, or with a certain attachment called the Viking attachment. What this does is connects to the barbell and offers two handles so you are only moving one barbell with the press motion. Used for other exercises as well, the Viking attachment is not a bad piece of equipment to check out.

Muscles Worked During This Press

With this press, primarily you target the shoulders, working to really capitalize on those boulder shoulders. Along with upper body muscles, you get some good work with the triceps and back to help stabilize and provide for extra support with the press movement. Working to help stabilize, as well as working with a slight pumping motion, your legs will feel a slight burn which can be beneficial in the long run out of this press.

Viking Press_Athlete

Benefits Of The Viking Press

Build Serious Strength

It probably goes without saying but working with a monster exercise like the Viking press can really build strength and size for a number of benefits towards your training and performance, as well as everyday life. By adjusting the weight accordingly, you can also work on mind-muscle connection since this viking movement is relatively simple to perform.

With this really working those shoulder muscles, it will require a level of strength that your body needs to find, thus increasing growth maybe a bit faster than other exercises would. All in all, the Viking press can really build some serious strength.

Easy On Your Wrists For Protection

For those worried or struggling with wrist pain, your wrists stay in a fixed position so you don’t need to worry about any extra movements with this press. Another shoulder exercise like the Arnold Press is a great one, but tends to cause some wrist pain given the rotation. With this linear viking movement, you don’t have to worry. Our wrists tend to be quite vulnerable joints and keeping these healthy overall is something we shouldn’t take for granted. With this exercise, you can get some great work done while also really protecting against those potentially vulnerable wrists out of a good press exercise.

Stability & Added Upper Body Support

As mentioned before, strong shoulders can aid in stability and work to be helpful with upper body support, especially while you press. You don’t want those shoulder joints to be vulnerable as they are necessary for many workouts, so looking to be proactive with the viking now pays off in the long run (3). This is something we often take for granted and we really shouldn’t so don’t let this slide by and work to get stability at the forefront of your mind with this press.

Boost Your Aesthetic With Those Boulder Shoulders

This is what we all want and this press exercise can help us get there. Those massive shoulders to fill out that tight shirt and show off our gains. The Viking press can help round out your physique and offer great support for those gains we want to see most. While the benefits of strong shoulders help us physically, aesthetically the Viking press can be a great boost to that absolutely massive and shredded physique you want most.

shoulder mobility

How To Perform This Press

For those interested in the Viking attachment, definitely look into this and see what it can do for you. A great attachment, it can make this exercise and others more efficient to maximize gains. For this How-To, we’ll focus on if you don’t have the Viking attachment, so this requires two barbells.

Place your two barbells on the rack parallel to one another with the desired weight on each. As you grip each bar, engage your core and stand in between the two as you prepare to press upward. Giving a slight squat down, press the bars overhead, extending your arms and working to lock them out. Once at the top, hold for a brief pause and gently lower back to the starting position. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

Wrap It All Up

When it comes to those boulder shoulders we all know and love, there are countless exercises we can do to help us get there and this press is one of them. Some of the staples like a front raise, side raise, overhead press, and upright row are all great and should be included but the Viking press challenges you to get that Strongman-like strength and massive physique that people will envy.

Having strong shoulders works for your benefit in a number of ways but what is more than important is knowing how to effectively work these muscles so you see the growth you want most, especially out of a great press. Check out the Viking attachment if that interests you and look to add the Viking press into your routine. You won’t be disappointed that you did.

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*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Williams, Martin R. Jr.; Hendricks, Dustin S.; Dannen, Michael J.; Arnold, Andrea M.; Lawrence, Michael A. (2020). “Activity of Shoulder Stabilizers and Prime Movers During an Unstable Overhead Press”. (source)
  2. Ghigiarelli, Jamie J.; Berrios, Xavier M.; Prendergast, James M.; Gonzalez, Adam M. (2020). “The Viking Press”. (source)
  3. Jaggi, Anju; Alexander, Susan (2017). “Rehabilitation for Shoulder Instability – Current Approaches”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.