On top of looking impressive, log presses can also offer many benefits. Discover what these are and whether this exercise is for you.
Before going into the positive points, you also need to know that strongman log presses can be challenging in areas like your shoulders and wrist.
Make sure you can do the log press safely and potentially start with light weights, controlled motions, and/or potentially other exercises first.
1. Log presses can grow and strengthen muscles
The strongman log press may look different from most gym exercises but it is still mostly a resistance training exercise.
This means it can help improve muscle strength and endurance in a few different areas. In turn, these things can benefit your health and look.
Some of the primary muscles worked with log presses include:
- Deltoids (mostly front and side parts)
- Triceps (back upper arm)
- Upper trapezius (upper shoulders and neck)
On top of that, a variety of other muscles have to work to get the log in position and keep your body in position. Some of these secondary muscles include:
- Scapular muscles
- Latissimus dorsi
- Core muscles
- Forearm muscles
You should mostly expect actual muscle growth in the primary muscles.
The secondary muscles can still experience endurance improvements which can be helpful too.
Keep in mind that you still need to do strongman log presses with enough resistance and repetitions to see these results.
2. Log bar handles keep your upper arms at safer angles
Pointing your upper arms forward enough is something you need to keep in mind during the regular shoulder press exercise.
Flaring these outward too much increases the injury risk in your shoulders.
One of the benefits of strongman log press bars regarding this is that they have neutral handles (horizontal to each other).
These neutral handles guide your upper arms to an angle that is generally considered safer for your shoulders.
Some people will also prefer the strongman log bar handles in terms of wrist comfort.
Another side effect of the neutral handles is that you likely work your muscles in slightly different ratios than a regular shoulder press.
More specifically, you will likely work the front parts of your deltoids (main shoulder muscle) more and the middle parts less. This can be good or bad depending on what you want to work more.
3. Log presses offer instability training
You don’t need to take a look at the inch-by-inch strongman log bar dimensions to realize that this is a bulky piece of fitness equipment.
It will definitely require extra muscle engagement to keep the bar moving along the desired trajectory.
As long as you do it at a challenge level that is not too hard, an unstable weight like a log bar can offer valuable benefits.
More specifically, log presses can help you strengthen a variety of shoulder-stabilizing scapular muscles more than something like a barbell shoulder press.
Stronger shoulder stabilizing muscles can make certain daily activities easier, can improve exercise performance, and generally reduce your injury risk.
4. Log presses can add variety to your workouts
Two ways to make your workouts more fun and interesting are using unusual pieces of fitness equipment and trying different exercises.
While log presses are some form of shoulder press, the extra “racking” part makes it so they check off both the boxes above.
Making your workouts more fun can be a valuable benefit in itself but this could also help you stay more consistent with your exercise routine.
Additionally, the shoulder stabilizing muscle training and the neutral grips from log bars tend to reduce your injury risk.
This can make it so you have to take breaks from one of your favorite and/or healthy habits less often.
5. Log presses can improve balance and coordination
Engaging your shoulder stabilization muscles more is not the only result of the instability that comes from pressing a bulky piece of fitness equipment like the log bar.
You will also notice that strongman log presses will train your coordination and balancing skills more than shoulder presses and many other exercises.
As long as you don’t overdo it, challenging yourself in these areas can actually improve your balance and coordination.
In turn, this can make your log press sessions and more importantly, daily activities like climbing stairs and carrying things easier.
6. Log presses can improve your posture
Strengthening your shoulder stabilization muscles with log presses can help you avoid suboptimal posture.
While there may not be something like perfect posture, it does look like carrying your body in a suboptimal way can lead to injuries. Avoiding this can be helpful.
7. Log presses can improve your bone density
Similar to many other body parts, you can strengthen your bones by putting them under enough (but safe amounts of) pressure.
Having denser bones is good because it reduces your risk of breaking these.
Many people, especially younger individuals, underestimate how valuable this benefit can be.
You need to know that improving bone density becomes harder and harder as you get older.
Additionally, the consequences of breaking certain bones like your hips are very bad.
In short, doing log presses can help improve your bone density in certain areas.
Generally, the heavier the weight of the log bar and weight plates you (safely) use, the more you get this effect.
8. You can grow different muscle fibers with log presses
There are many types of resistance training and these are not just there to make workouts more enjoyable.
The way you train your muscles can influence what types of muscle fibers you grow the most (4).
These types have their advantages and disadvantages so it can sometimes be helpful to pay attention to these differences.
For example, by doing log presses with lower weights and higher repetition ranges, you would focus more on growing type 1 slow-twitch muscle fibers.
These are helpful for generating force over longer periods of time.
You can also lean more toward a few log presses per set with very heavy weights.
These will promote type 2 fast-twitch muscle fiber growth which tends to be helpful for generating a lot of force in short bursts.
This customizability of your workouts is definitely not unique to the log press exercise but it can still be helpful in certain situations.