I was thinking. If you only bring the bar to parallel or around the ears, would this not be more triceps than delts? Over the past 6 months I’ve found that the lower half of a shoulder press hits my delts much better than the top portion, and intentionally cut the top ROM out of the press for most reps.
I usually do SHIP’s ad Arnold presses which seem to allow for a decent ROM below parallel. And that portion seems to hit the delts before the tris really kick in on the upper portion. So would doing BTN presses with only parallel and up remove significant stress on the delts? benching to 90 deg. and back up (not necessarily to lockout) with a wide-enough grip will put a lot of stress on the pecs… Even overhead lockouts place a lot of pressure on the delts as long as your grip is not a narrow one. And depending on limb-length, going to 90 degrees can be pretty much around ear-level… So between 90 deg. and just shy of (or quite a few inches away from) lockout next time you train shoulders and see how that feels.
Of course mind-muscle connection and technique play a role here, too.
Seems sub-optimal to do those with the other choices out there.
In theory, you’re right. That being said, the bottom part of a military or push press (where you go down to your chest) doesn’t do anything for the delts (at least nothing good) as far as I can tell… So the very bottom is theoretically not all that useful either and not only does it keep your numbers low on delt movements (on a strict press, which quite frankly does not make shoulders strong), it also seems to be quite hard on the shoulders when trying to get your elbows under the bar, depending on how you’re built/structure-wise.
It’s a bit like the position you’re in in a low-bar squat? Not too nice on the shoulders for most people… And the BTN press actually mimicks that more than a front-press if you go all the way down.
If you look at guys like Ronnie, their favored part of ROM for an overhead press seems to be from about ear level to a few inches overhead or so. If you have long limbs, you may really end up in a higher range though… No shame in that.
Anyway, I overall prefer seated high incline work (usually in the smith), particularly for very strong guys as the backrest allows you to retract your scapulae and almost get a pl bench setup when pressing overhead. Much safer with 315+ on the bar than free-weight military or btn imo. Kind of like PL bench setup vs. beginner-scarecrow-shoulders-rising-off-bench-setup.
Most guys seem to have no clue what to do with their shoulders during a free-standing overhead press… And as I said, past a certain weight things get dangerous if you shoulders just sort of hang in the air while pressing.
I’ll give that a shot next time. I agree with the high incline and PL bench set up. Once I started doing that excercise, I almost immediately fell into retracting my scaps and it’s definitely allowed me to move more weight. In regards to the very bottom portion, close to chest: in your opinion, does that apply to the Arnold press as well? My elbows seem to come down AT LEAST as far as they would on a standing military. Would regular seated DB press with the above mentioned ROM be more effective?[/quote]
It should allow for more weight in the really effective part of ROM anyway, so theoretically it’s better for sheer delt size. Of course handling the heavier 'bells and setting up with them can become a problem, even in higher rep ranges… And you still have to just try it and see whether you like doing it or not.
(oh, and let’s not forget that Arnold’s shoulders were a weak point of his, particularly when standing relaxed. Sure, in a back-double-bi they looked nice due to his muscle-bellies etc, but really… They were far too small. They were somewhat decent when he was pumped only… So I don’t think his pressing variant did much. Too light. If you want to focus more on the lateral head, a mix between lateral raise and upright row is a better way, or even a good lateral raise machine. I’d rather maximize the overload in whatever part of ROM is the most effective for a certain muscle or part thereof rather than creating a new movement which trains more muscles but to a much lesser degree)