T Nation

Behind the Neck Presses

I’ve heard many mixed things about this exercise, but I figured I’d try to see if it hurts too much or anything. First off it didn’t, unless it’s a gradual thing, but I didn’t really feel anything too uncomfortable in my shoulder joints.

Secondly, man I’ve never done a shoulder move that I felt more directly in my shoulders than this one. Any one else do this exercise? If no why not? I never did it before because of all the stuff surrounding it on how it can be bad for your shoulders, but I’ve heard other shit as well.

On a side note, does anyone do drop sets, they are kinda interesting as a burnout at the end of a workout.

an unfairly maligned exercise. they’ve been a part of my routine for a few years now. One of the greatest things I ever did for my bench was to do BTN presses more regularly. Both seated and behind the neck push presses. As long as you don’t dip the weight too far down your neck and use proper form your rotators will be fine.

It’s not that it will necessarily be painful the first time out the gates. It is more of a cumulative effect.

I just use common sense: do you really want a heavy weight bearing down on your shoulders in a less than ideal position, especially when presses to the front work just as well?

The key to BTN presses is:

  1. Remember to keep a neutral grip - not too wide, not too narrow.

  2. NEVER go all the way down to the shoulders. Only go down until you break parallel, or slightly past. I only go down to around my ears.

[quote]Fitnessdiva wrote:
It’s not that it will necessarily be painful the first time out the gates. It is more of a cumulative effect.

I just use common sense: do you really want a heavy weight bearing down on your shoulders in a less than ideal position, especially when presses to the front work just as well?[/quote]

To answer you, yes but it doesn’t seem like a less than ideal position to me. I’ve done these for years and never had a problem and I know others that have done the same.

Press to the front do work great. I use them but our bodies adapt. I use them to hit the muscle from a different angle so can re stimulate growth.

I added them back in slowly after building up my shoulder flexibility and rotator cuff strength. It really does hit the medial delts better than a standard press. Stop the bar at about mid-head height and use a wider grip to add an extra measure of safety to the lift.

Also, if you can’t touch your fingers behind your back with one hand over and one hand under (both combinations), you need to work on mobility before you do BTN work.

They’re a staple of my shoulder training. They’ve never hurt me at all. For some reason, I think they feel more “right” than military presses from the front, which tend to make my elbows and rotator cuff hurt a bit.

As for muscle recruitment, they seem to hit my triceps even more than my delts, at least with a closer grip.

I lower the barbell all the way to my shoulders, sometimes even lower, to where you would have the bar when doing a powerlifting-style squat. I don’t think the latter is really recommended, though…

I don’t go very heavy on them though. They’re usually my second shoulder exercise, after heavier seated dumbbell presses. I’ve done them with 135 lbs but usually more like 100 lbs these days. It may not be an ideal exercise to go low-rep. They sure do bring on the lactic acid when done for higher reps!

Interesting, thanks guys, I always have gone all the way down to my shoulders. I use the squat rack for it so the set starts with the barbell on my shoulders like I’m doing a squat.

I think I won’t come all the way down to my shoulders anymore and stop around my ears like one person said, that seems to make the most sense. One thing I always looked at when doing this one was that it’s not the most functional, how often do you lift something up over your head (say putting something heavy high up on a shelf) and do it behind your head.

I’ll do them for a bit, and then switch to one of the other many overhead pressing variations.

BN presses seem to isolate the front delt, where as military recruits the upper pec. With any type of shoulder press I have to use strict form with elbows and grip in just the right spot or weird shit starts happening to my joints. When everything is lined up right, I can go as heavy as I want with no probs.

My favorite shoulder press exercise is the Bradford press. It’s 50% btn and 50% seated military, in case you didn’t know. Something to consider if you’re concerned about btn being bad for shoulders over time.

[quote]2ms wrote:
My favorite shoulder press exercise is the Bradford press. It’s 50% btn and 50% seated military, in case you didn’t know. Something to consider if you’re concerned about btn being bad for shoulders over time.[/quote]

On this, you start with the bar in front, push the bar up till it clears the head then bring it behind and touch the back of the neck right? Kinda seems’ limited on the range of motion but I guess you can lift it a higher to compensate. I’ll have to try it

I use them as my main exercise. I only began to see shoulder growth when i began doing the BTN press on the smith.

I use a wide grip and lower just to ear level, and on the last heavier set, just above the ear.

I always warm up with very light weights in this exercise.