T Nation

behind neck press

Are these bad for the shoulders? They do kind of put them at an awkward angle.

If not doing behind the neck, how (where) should you go with regular military presses? Should you go as far down as your adam’s apple? Lower? Or stop at about your chin?

Any preference for doing them in a chair/rack versus just standing? You can handle more weight in a seated rack…but maybe stabalizers are used more while standing.

Ultimately, I’m trying to get a better bench…my sticking point is about 3 inches above my chest. I think my triceps are strong enough…but if I can’t get through the sticking point…then I can’t do it. Any ideas? Thanks.

First off yes you can do them BUT you need to have the ROMto do them. If you feel discomfort of any kind OR you need to adjust your head to push the bar up, you do NOT have the proper ROM to do them. The problem with the behind the neck press isn’t the movement, its the person not being flexible enough to do them.

If you’re sticking point is the first three inches then work the first three inches. If you indeed have a sticking point in your bench then work that sticking point. Instead of doing full bench presses do a few week isolating the sticking point. That should being it up to where you want it.

your triceps are never strong enough. What are your training goals i.e. powerlifter etc.? That will have a big impact on how you train to get through your sticking point.

Thanks for replies.

I have good ROM I think, in that I can do behind next presses, with back arched, in a rack/chair and bring the bar down behind my neck without it hurting. It feels a little cleaner to do in front of the neck, though.

My goals are to bench much more. Part of the problem is speed. I bench and do everything really, glacially slow. I do this to avoid injury and because I want to make sure I have it under control. I don’t want to jerk the weights around.

You’re right, you can never have strong enough triceps…I’m not sure that’s where my sticking point is though.

If you are weak 3 in. off your chest then speed is one factor. The faster the eccentric the faster the concentric due to the build up of kinetic energy. Of course that means lowering as fast as possible while under control like you said. First you should check your technique. Your weak point could be your lats and you may not be staying tight at the bottom. So really concentrate on that and pulling the bar apart and driving your head and traps into the bench while pushing the bar away from you. I have some other ideas on attacking your sticking point specifically but you may have the same ideas so let me know if you want to toss some ideas around. Hope that helps.

Brian,
You cited a very slow speed in your lifting; that results in less strength. According to Westside principles and say, Adam Archuleta’s training (speed lifting), neural recruitment of fast-twitch fiber is predicated on performing fast reps. If you’re involved in sports, I would particularly use this technique largely and also stand while you press.

How much can u bench right now? To pirate someone elses thoughts, no one who is trying to lift a bunch of weight intentionally tries to do it slowly. Moving big weight is very much about being able to recruit more muscle fiber at the same time. Think explosion, “fire all of your guns at once”…You need to practice to get fast… the info is all here on this site. Your concern about injury is noted but my suggestion is not that you go load the big bar up to 165 pounds and do some huge double body cheat curls, but that you get whats heavy for you in the rack, get your head right, and take the bar off the rack, lower it quickly but under control until it just touches your chest and then “EXPLODE”. Also, other days do light weight sets of 3, with the same tempo and timing and work on moving the bar as fast as possible–muscle recruitment. I bet your numbers go up.

Read up on Westside Barbell training. You will then understand the importance of speed to carry momentum through the sticking points of your lifts. Try incorporating a dynamic day into your bench training. Choose weight between 55-70% of your one rep max and do 8-9 sets of 3 reps as fast as possible! If the weight doesn’t move fast then lower it until it does. Speed is more important than load in this instance.

Also to directly train your sticking point try 1 and 2 board presses. The boards should be each 2" thick. These will really help. You can do pin presses set at the height of your sticking point but these aren’t as good.

Bill Starr has a good article in this issue of Milo if you can grab a copy, of exercises he would’nt recommend to strength athletes and b. neck press was one of them.He said to do front b.b.press instead.