T Nation

Standing Military Presses


I love doing this exercise and realize their is probably no better workout for your shoulders. However, everytime I do this workout, the next day my neck is fucked up. I get some kind of pinched nerve or something that last for about a week. I go to the chiropractor and it helps a little but that gets expensive.

I do them the exercise with the weight going in front of my face but have tried them behind the neck too--same problem.

Any suggestions? It's not too bad if I do dumbells or I am sitting but I don't feel like I am getting a good a workout. Maybe I am doing something wrong on the technique?



Try handstand push-ups instead. Just as good, if not better, but no spinal compression, which is probably the cause.


make sure your shoulders aren't shrugging, and do pullups (opposite movement in the same plane)

thats all i can think of.


I was having this same problem. I know this probably isn't what you were looking for but, the first thing I did was to buy a new pillow. That by itself made a world of difference. Then I started bridging to strengthen my neck (just started). It seems with each workout my neck feels better and better. Hope this helps


Olympiclifter offers good advice.

Also, remember that your traps are involved in overhead pressing and run up your neck. If you shift your head a little to one side, too far forward, etc. while working hard in overhead movements, you can throw things out of wack. Try keeping your head and neck bolt upright in a neutral anatomical position for a few pressing workouts and see if your neck doesn't hurt afterwards.



Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

Buffalo, the problem when I keep my head "bolt upright", like you said, is that my head/face will be in the way when I bring the bar down the front, no? Am I going to far down?


What are you looking at as you raise the bar over your head?

If you are looking at the bar go up I think that could be your problem.

Also if you are leaning back as some people do when the weight gets heavy this too could be your problem as leaning back with a heavy weight overhead puts a tremendous stress on your neck.

Hope you can figure out what's wrong as the overhead press is indeed a great movement.


Zeb, I am looking at the bar going overhead, even though I never thought about before now.

I'll try it looking straight ahead but like you said, with heavy weight, that may be difficult...


Work on your posture. Make sure it remains perfect throughout the entire lift.

Also, reduce weight slightly and increase TUT.

If it still hurts, quit presses and do lateral raises instead.

Do you do much pulling and rotation work? If not, ditching the presses for a while and strengthening the other muscles will help as well.


zeb, can you seriously do handstand push-ups??? Sounds like something out of cirque du soleil.


Well...I think that is probably your problem. Some hard core guys make fun of mirrors in a Gym, but they serve a purpose at times. Look straight into the mirror, not up at the bar. This will keep your neck straight and also stop you from leaning backward.

If you have no mirror you can do the same thing by picking a spot on the wall directly in front of you and avoid looking at the bar.

I'm not a fan of TUT for barbell presses. I think you need to move that weight at a good speed and not worry about counting seconds

I bet this solves your problem!


If I have a wall to put my feet against for balance I can rip off some serious handstand Push-ups. I'm no acrobat...nope..


My question should've gone to MortalKombat but I guess he'd have the same answer.

Man I wish I could see a Cirque du Soleil show... I wanna see someone do push-ups in the air with a straight body by placing his hands on something like a dip-bar. Damn I wish I could do taht.