Behind The Head Shoulder Press
Primary Muscle Group: Deltoids
Secondary Muscle Group: Trapezius, Triceps
Equipment Needed: Barbell, Weighted Plates
The Benefits of Behind The Head Shoulder Press
The Behind The Neck Press is an exercise that targets your shoulders, specifically your deltoids. It’s a variation of the ‘standard shoulder press’, also known as an ‘overhead press’.
This movement also has a reputation of being one of the most controversial exercises in the fitness industry because it can potentially place too much stress on your neck and shoulders. To be clear, with good technique this exercise can be perfectly safe but it still isn’t for everyone. Even the most advanced lifters still work with personal trainers to stay safe by correcting the form of exercises like Behind The Head Shoulder Press.
Behind The Neck Press is one o the best exercises for developing your shoulders, upper back, and upper arms is an excellent way to improve upper body strength. It also increases shoulder stability and mobility.
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The Risks of doing Behind The Head Shoulder Press
A behind-the-neck press does place a lot of stress on your rotator cuff muscles, which stabilize your shoulder joints. If you have poor shoulder mobility, or if your weight is too heavy, you could tear a shoulder muscle.
When doing the behind the head shoulder press you can hurt your neck, too. During the downward phase, the barbell could hit your neck or the back of your head. It also places strain on your neck muscles. Due to these risks, it’s best to only attempt a behind-the-neck press if you have:
1. Adequate shoulder mobility and stability.
2. Normal core stability.
3. Good thoracic (upper) spine mobility.
Not sure if the behind the head shoulder press id right for you? A personal trainer can help you make the call.
So before giving behind the head shoulder press a go, here's exactly how to do them without risking pain or injury.
How To Do Behind The Head Shoulder Press
1. Sit with the barbell across your traps. Plant your feet on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees.
2. Grip the bar, hands wider than shoulder-width and palms facing forward. Brace your core and squeeze your shoulder blades together, keeping your elbows under the bar.
3. Exhale and press the bar straight up, lining it up with your head. Pause.
4. Inhale and slowly return to the starting position.
For Perfect Technique
During the upward phase, avoid moving your head or back forward.
The downward phase should be a slow and controlled movement.
Avoid letting the bar fall back into starting position.
Once you have mastered the Behind The Head Shoulder Press exercise you can try alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups such as;
How To Do Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
1. First, select your dumbbells.
2. Hold the dumbbells by your shoulders with your palms facing forwards and your elbows out to the sides and bent at a 90° angle.
3. Without leaning back, extend through your elbows to press the weights above your head.
4. Then slowly return to the starting position.
How To Do Dumbbell Lateral Raises
1. Firstly, grab a set of dumbbells and stand straight up with the dumbbells at your sides.
2. Your palms should be facing your body. You should be holding the dumbbells slightly off your body, as this keeps the tension on the side deltoids. This is your starting position for the exercise.
3. To execute, slowly raise the dumbbells up to around shoulder height. It's important that you do not let your wrists go above your elbows while raising the weight, as this will take the work off the side delts and put it on the front delts.
4. Pause at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
5. Do not let the dumbbells touch your body, and then raise them for the next rep.