T Nation

Shoulder Press: Behind the Neck?


What's the difference between doing a shoulder press with the bar in front of my head and doing the press with the bar behind my head? I'm seeing it both ways all over the place and it's confusing me.


I tend to get more pain and injuries when doing behind the neck presses. It is not a natural pathway for you arms to move. If you must do them make sure you warm up very well. I do not recommend them at all. But good luck.


A Physical Trainer once told me that going behind your neck is very very bad for you.


I heard the same thing many times.
Let's see what the "pros" have to say....


Behind the neck puts your rotator cuffs in a disadvantaged position and makes it easier for them to get hurt. It's kinda like hyperextending your arms or legs...with weight.


you hit the three heads of the delt differently on each exercise. BTN presses are a bit riskier on the shoulder girdle but the risk has been well worth the results for me.


If they don't hurt your shoulders, it's okay to go behind the neck and to use the full range of motion. Front of the neck hits the posterior deltoids more and behind the neck hits the anterior more.


behing the neck tend to hit the lateral delt better then the front press which seems to hit my front delt more. Also i can use more weight on front presses


Are you sure about this? I feel like front presses are way more anterior delt while behind the necks give me a little more side and rear delt action.


First off doing these presses behind the neck will put alot of strain on your rotator cuffs. I wouldn't recommend doing any serious/heavy weight btn. Presses in front are great for building front delts but there are much better ways to hit rear delts.


like what?


Whatever you do, don't go low with BTN presses

f you fuck off your rotator cuff, it might not fully heal again, ever

i would advise to stay above your ears


any type of row (esp. chest supportet BB/DB rowing), chin-/pullups, bent over DB raise...


I strongly disagree that chins or rows will build your rear delts. You pretty much need to isolate them in order to make them grow in proportion to your body.

Either rows done to your neck or forehead and bent over Dumbbell Laterals are the best way to hit the rear delts. Or the rear delt machine. Or band pull-aparts done in front of your face or neck.


David Henry... Rear Delts built by deads and rows.


Second what fighting scott said, try face pulls. Also high cable pulley crossover delt laterals are pretty mean too.

            I used to love doing behind the neck presses when I first learned them from my friends bodybuilder/powerlifter dad, who showed us how to do the movement correctly, but don't do them anymore because of middle age and knowing when it's better to be safe than sorry..



all those exercises are great, but wide grip rows hit the rear delts really well


Everything about that man's back is fully developed but is rear delts. His medial and anteriors are huge but his rear delt isn't in proportion.