The Cuban Press - Muscles Worked And How to Do Cuban Presses?

The Cuban Press is an exercise that works the muscles of the shoulder including the rotator cuff and deltoid. The triceps and biceps are also worked as stabilizers. This exercise is often used as a rehabilitative tool following an injury to the shoulder.

How does the Cuban press work?
The Cuban press is a weightlifting move that was popularized by Cuban Olympic athletes in the 1950s. The move targets all three heads of the deltoid muscle simultaneously which results in more balanced and symmetrical development of the shoulders. While the move can be performed with a barbell dumbbell or kettlebells it is most commonly done with a barbell. The exercise can be done either seated or standing but most people prefer to do it seated because it is easier to maintain good form.

Is the Cuban press a good exercise?
The Cuban press is a good exercise for the deltoid muscle. It is performed by pressing a weight overhead while standing with the feet shoulder-width apart. The palms of the hands should be facing each other. The weight should be lifted until the arms are extended fully overhead. The elbows should be kept close to the head throughout the movement.

Cuban Press – Muscles Worked

The Cuban press is not just a compound exercise; it’s a combination of three individual exercises rolled into one. As such it requires a lot of different muscle groups to be exercised. The main muscles exercised by the Cuban press are:

The trapezius and rhomboids cover a large area of your upper back. The trapezius is a diamond-shaped muscle responsible for the elevation and retraction of your shoulder girdle as well as the Cuban press. The traps are involved in all three phases of the press.

There are three deltoid heads and each one has a specific function. The anterior deltoids flex the shoulder joint and rotate it medially while the posterior delts control shoulder extension and external rotation. The medial or middle deltoids abduct the shoulder joint. Cuban presses involve all three deltoid heads.

The rotator cuff is responsible for keeping your shoulder joint stable and assisting in movements such as abduction and rotation. The muscles that make up the rotator cuff are the supraspinatus infraspinatus teres minor and subscapularis.

Biceps – while Cuban presses won’t help you build towering biceps they are a part of the shoulder complex. The biceps are responsible for elbow flexion and supination of the forearm.

The triceps are located on the back of your upper arm extending your elbow in the last part of the Cuban press. This exercise is meant to be done with lighter weights so you won’t feel your biceps working that much.

How to Do Cuban Presses

By following these guidelines you can enjoy the benefits of Cuban presses without risking injury.

Here’s how to hold a barbell correctly. Place the barbell in front of your hips with an overhand grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder-width. You can also use a thumbless or false grip if you prefer. Stand with your feet hip-width apart knees slightly bent and core braced. Pull your shoulders down and back to ensure proper form.

When it comes to rowing a barbell keep your arms parallel to the floor and bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle. This will help you lift the barbell up to your sternum/lower chest.

To perform this exercise first lower your arms so that they are externally rotated and raise the bar up so that it is just above your head. Once the bar is in this position rotate your shoulders and raise the bar back to its starting position.

Press the bar up to arm's length.

Reverse the movement to lower the bar back to its start by rotating the bar down to your sternum and returning it to hip height.

Start with a lightweight and perfect the movement before adding more weight. An empty barbell or even a broomstick will do. Do each movement smoothly and with complete control. This isn’t an exercise for people who want to lift heavy weights and cheat reps.

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