T Nation

good substitute for overhead presses?

hey everybody - i’m in phase II of Ian King’s “Bring the Pain” series and have run into a stumbling block with overhead presses. I’m alternating with pull-ups, and going heavy with a 5/1/5/1 wave pattern. Behind the neck presses caused me shoulder pain the first week, so i took some advice i got here on the forum on did front-of-neck presses last week . . . and was hurting even worse. I can’t get too specific as to the particular nature of my shoulder vulnerability; i’m doing some external rotator work once a week or so and it seems to be improving. Still, i’d like to hear from some of you about which shoulder exercise i can more safely go heavy with, while staying within the spirit of this program. Thanks for your help.

bumping myself since i want to work out today . . . whaddaya say? Arnold Presses? it seems like somebody had one they thought was even more effective/low-risk with dumbells.

You need to let the shoulder heal. Kings talks about range of motion and how healthy your shoulder is. I would doubt that you can go heavy on any shoulder pressing exercise at this time not should you.

That does not sound too good. Assuming that you still look forward to many years of working out, it might not be a bad idea to cut back and fix that problem first. If you have problems with front overhead presses you might well have problems with the incline bench press or even the flat bench press. Or if you don’t have these problems yet, you might be on your way there. If you really want to continue working out you could either try overhead dumbbell presses or machine presses. Dumbbells allow for more freedom in the movement and may enable you to find a position where your shoulder doesn’t hurt. Machines on the other hand take a lot of stabilizing load off of the shoulder, i.e. only the muscles needed for moving your arms up and down will be needed, which may be good in your case?!? On the other hand machines force the movement in a fixed plane - again this may or may not be good. You’ll just have to try around a bit…

try pressing in front of your head. depending on your grip and arms, you don’t have to take it down to touch your shoulder. also, any db movement that doesn’t hurt. try one arm bent presses.

ditch the barbell presses for now. To be on the safe side, try one armed dumbbell presses. They require less shoulder flexibility than two armed pressing, and will help you attain more equal strength in each shoulder. One arm presses are good for the obliques too…

I have the same problem. With all the over head work in cheerleading, any more sends me over the edge. My shoulders will ache so bad i have to cross my arms and keep them there. I learned my lesson. I dont mix the two. Ive never really worked shoulders directly and have pretty good development.