T Nation

Behind the Neck Press Hate


It seems as a looked through alot of the threads on the internet about behind neck press 95 percent of them were negative

I was just wondering why theres so much hate against them

Maybe I'm wrong but wasnt behind the neck press a staple in a lot of the old powerlifitng, strongman, and throwing(shout,disc,jav) routines

From my personal experience behind the neck has more carryover to bench than ohp



It gets hate because it has a tendency to lead to shoulder impingement. I don't know how you could get more carryover to bench with it since it is less similar. Why do you think you get more?


I used to do them when I first started lifting as a teenager. But they never really did me any good, so I dropped them.
At the time my father saw me doing them and said, "When the hell are you ever going to have to lift something behind your head?"
I don't hate on the lift. If it helps other guys increase their press, great, just didn't work for me.


When it was more a staple exercise, a significantly smaller portion of peoples lives were spent seated and posture was better for it. More specifically, shoulder positioning was better.

Most [untrained] people these days have a posture with shoulder positioning where BTN pressing will likely lead to impingement. With a shallow ROM (like, to the top of the head, or even top of the ears), I'd say it's a fairly safe movement... but all the way to the traps can be problematic.

I think it's still a great exercise, once your posture is good.


looking back my lack of middle delt hindered my overall shoulder strength and thus hindered my bench...im sure i got more carryover also because when my benchg first hit 275 i only behind the neck pressed 95 compared to now when it is 185, i just think its easier to progress than ohp for some reason

when my behind neck goes up ohp goes up, but not vice versa


good point, all of my shoulder presses (dumbell and barbell) are standing,,,and i also did btn push presses while training for track ,,,which as you said prolly makes me less prone to uncomfort compared to the regular gym goer


Exactly this. It's not a bad exercise at all; it's only bad when people jump into it without having an appropriate level of mobility.

Ed Coan used to do them every week.


There are three types of acromiom that people are born with which dictates how much space you have for the rotator cuff tendons and subacromial bursa to fit in. If you have type 1, you can pretty much get away with any shoulder movement without impingement, Type 3 should steer clear of behind the neck pressing, and even normal OHP can be problematic, Type 2 is somewhere in between, and can work on mobility to be able to do certain high risk activities such as BTN press.


I'm almost 100% sure that Heavytriple must be type 3 then lol.


Lolllll. Yes, that's the conclusion I reached long ago. Mayyyybe advanced type 2, since I've been able to incorporate unilateral overhead stuff for several weeks without issue SO FAR.


I get a pretty rad groove going on with seated BTN...the increased emphasis on the side delt is also nice. All around great exercise for shoulder development and strength for me. Never get shoulder issues from it, and my shoulders suck.