How safe is shoulder press behind the neck (BTN)?

  • Goodluckyman

    Posts: 104

    Jul 08, 2015 7:49 AM GMT
    Today at the gym, I overheard a personal trainer mention to her client never to perform shoulder press behind the neck and this is something I have seen numerous people do- am guilty too ha ha ha.

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    Jul 08, 2015 9:03 AM GMT
    Not safe at all. It extends your shoulders beyond their natural range of motion. Sure you can do it, but you'll have shoulder problems later.

    Well, that's my experience with trying them for a while (along with other incorrect techniques that I later fixed after learning the hard way). Maybe someone knows a different/safer way to do them that I haven't learned?
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    Jul 08, 2015 3:07 PM GMT
    Form is everything when lifting weights. Hate to say it, but I would suggest you plop some bucks down and hire the personal trainer for a few sessions to make sure your technique is right. What I have learned is that the guys who use faulty technique may show bulky muscles, but they are generally restricted in the range of where the actual strength from those muscles can be applied. If your goal is bulk, ignore me; if your goal is strength, time to review technique.
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    Jul 08, 2015 3:30 PM GMT
    General rules of thumb.

    1. Always warm up the shoulders and the delicate rotator cuff muscles first with light weights, I prefer cables to do this. (all you're looking to do is get the muscles taught)

    2. If you do behind the neck presses keep your head straight and when lowering the bar do not break the plane of the middle of your ears.
  • Joeyphx444

    Posts: 2382

    Jul 08, 2015 4:29 PM GMT
    It looks like it would hurt and it is one of those exercises, like squats or deadlifts, if you aren't in perfect form, you can majorly injure yourself short term and long term
  • training_guy

    Posts: 270

    Jul 08, 2015 6:57 PM GMT
    Depends on shoulder mobility! If you have the range of movement & are not experiencing any pain then I can't see a problem.. icon_wink.gif

    I love using the trap bar for over head press, if your gym has one, really hits the delts nicely..
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    Jul 08, 2015 7:47 PM GMT
    training_guy saidDepends on shoulder mobility! If you have the range of movement & are not experiencing any pain then I can't see a problem.. icon_wink.gif

    I love using the trap bar for over head press, if your gym has one, really hits the delts nicely..

    Good point. I think behind the neck is inherently not as safe, but understanding the potential risks and maintaining excellent form goes a long way to reducing the risks. As with other exercises, it's always a good idea to look at the risks and rewards before selecting a particular exercise or variation.
  • Goodluckyman

    Posts: 104

    Jul 08, 2015 8:32 PM GMT
    I think I will never do it again. Glad I overheard the conversation. Its self defeating to exercise for health and you end up with poor health, especially later in life. I will seek to be informed as much as possible.
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    Jul 08, 2015 9:10 PM GMT
    I heard that before and a trainer showed me face pulls and free weight shrugs and 45 degree hand position pull ups which all seem to feel better anyway.
  • training_guy

    Posts: 270

    Jul 08, 2015 9:36 PM GMT
    Arnie included them in his excellent book & he was the king of exercise physiology.....
    Unfortunately, I think, people over develop the pecs which shorten and pull the humeral head anteriorly...in that case they would find behind the head shoulder press difficult, I would have thought.
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    Jul 08, 2015 10:13 PM GMT
    Goodluckyman saidToday at the gym, I overheard a personal trainer mention to her client never to perform shoulder press behind the neck and this is something I have seen numerous people do- am guilty too ha ha ha.



    The personal trainer is an idiot and doesn't understand how your shoulders work.

    A full range of motion (not 1/2 reps, is EXACTLY what's NEEDED.) Why? To keep the muscles involved stretched and prevent injury. Any person who does chest needs to be doing posterior delts, and, a full range of motion, to avoid should impingment. Ever see the airheads at the gym rubbing the front of their shoulders? Guess what. Their anterior side is overdeveloped, tight, pulling forward, and impinging their shoulder because they train like idiots.

    In this case, the lats, posterior delt, and terres get involved in shoulder abduction. You can study it all on a muscular anatomy chart for more.
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    Jul 09, 2015 3:52 AM GMT
    Goodluckyman saidToday at the gym, I overheard a personal trainer mention to her client never to perform shoulder press behind the neck and this is something I have seen numerous people do- am guilty too ha ha ha.





    I used to do this, as well as behind-the-neck pulldowns. I had shoulder problems for years and never knew what to attribute it to. One day a trainer also mentioned to me that you should do presses/pulldowns behind the neck because of potential shoulder injuries.

    I stopped doing these and my shoulder injuries have gone away. My lats aren't as big as they used to be, but my shoulders sure feel better!
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    Jul 09, 2015 3:53 AM GMT
    Sorry, I meant "shouldn't" do these. icon_smile.gif
  • training_guy

    Posts: 270

    Jul 09, 2015 8:26 AM GMT
    The point is though that you might have had a structural imbalance or anomaly in the first place, which those exercises may have aggravated. Thats why training all body parts consistently, maintaining full range of movement throughout all joints, & stretching, will all help avoid the likelihood of those problems to start with!
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    Jul 09, 2015 5:15 PM GMT
    Proper form is the key in this and any other exercise. If you can lift only 100 lbs why to try with 150 lbs? Proper form and proper weight. Don't try to make urself look stronger than you are, you will look bad with an injury
  • jimcinla

    Posts: 7

    Aug 25, 2015 4:20 AM GMT
    As someone who used to pride himself by doing 4 sets of 12 of these damn exercises with 315 on the bar, and this was with warming up, etc. and someone who has had 3 rotator cuff repairs on one side and a total replacement on the other, stay away from these, and use seated dumb bell presses with a spot and strict form and you will get massive - that's what the pros of today do.