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April 17, 2024

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Action Over Emotion: Why What You Do Matters More Than How You Feel

In a world where emotions often take center stage, there exists a profound truth: it doesn’t really matter how you…

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The Cuban Press, also known as the Cuban Rotation Press or Cuban Press and Rotate, is a dynamic shoulder exercise that targets the deltoid muscles, specifically the front and side deltoids. This compound movement not only helps build shoulder strength but also enhances shoulder mobility and stability. Named after the legendary Cuban weightlifters, the Cuban Press has become a popular exercise in strength training and bodybuilding routines. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to perform the Cuban Press effectively and safely.

Step 1: Warm-Up

Before diving into any exercise, it’s crucial to warm up your shoulders and surrounding muscles to prevent injury. Perform light shoulder circles, arm swings, and stretches to increase blood flow and loosen up the joints. Spend at least 5-10 minutes on your warm-up routine.

Step 2: Set Up Properly

To perform the Cuban Press, you will need a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. Here’s how to set up:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, maintaining a straight posture.
  • Hold the barbell or dumbbells with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Let the weight hang in front of your thighs, with your palms facing down.

Step 3: The Lifting Phase

  1. Start by lifting the weight to shoulder height. Maintain a firm grip on the barbell or dumbbells, and keep your elbows pointed forward. This is the starting position.
  2. From here, press the weight overhead by extending your arms fully. Your palms should still be facing down during this phase. Keep your core engaged and your back straight to ensure stability.

Step 4: The Cuban Rotation

  1. Once the weight is overhead, it’s time to initiate the rotation. Begin by externally rotating your shoulders, so your palms start facing forward instead of down. This movement engages the front deltoids.
  2. Now, continue the rotation by bringing the weight behind your head. Your palms should face upward as you do this, and your elbows should point forward. This engages the side deltoids.

Step 5: The Return

  1. After completing the rotation, reverse the movement. Start by internally rotating your shoulders, bringing your palms back to facing forward.
  2. Lower the weight back to shoulder height by bending your elbows. Your elbows should still be pointed forward.

Step 6: Repeat

Repeat the Cuban Press for the desired number of reps, typically 8-12 repetitions per set, depending on your fitness level and goals. Perform 2-4 sets with a rest interval of 1-2 minutes between sets.

Tips for Success

  1. Start with a light weight to master the form and gradually increase the load as you become more comfortable.
  2. Keep the movement controlled and avoid using momentum. Focus on using your shoulder muscles to perform the rotation.
  3. Pay attention to your breathing. Inhale as you lift the weight, exhale as you press it overhead, and control your breath throughout the movement.
  4. If you’re new to this exercise, consider seeking guidance from a fitness professional to ensure you’re performing it correctly and safely.


The Cuban Press is an excellent exercise for developing shoulder strength, mobility, and stability. By following these steps and incorporating it into your fitness routine, you can effectively target your deltoid muscles and work towards building a more well-rounded upper body. Remember to start with lighter weights, prioritize proper form, and gradually increase the load as you progress. With dedication and consistency, you’ll soon reap the benefits of this classic shoulder exercise.


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