T Nation

Thibs vs King (Military Press)

Alright, first off this isn’t one of those who’s better posts!

i remember reading a little while back that Thibs saying that the best way to do military press was by the bar going in front of your head, and ive just read Kings ‘Ians top 10 mass makers, the best exercises for scary size gains’ and he suggests to do it from behind the head!

so i was wondering what you guys thought on the subject and which is better for shoulder development?

seeing as im can someone let me know what primary muscles the chin-up (with palms in and shoulder width apart) uses? does it primarily use he biceps or the back?

MMG

Maybe behind is better, but at what cost. If you lack external range of motion in the shoulder joint then press to the front. At the end of the day are you going to notice the difference between front and back?

Consider the palms in chin up a biceps exercise. The lats will still work, but being an internal rotator of the humerus it makes sense that palms away will recruit more lats. Plus the biceps brachi is less active with palms away.

I would do a mixture of palms in, palms facing and palms out. Never tried a knuckels facing variation, but it might be interesting.

[quote]MMG wrote:
Alright, first off this isn’t one of those who’s better posts!

i remember reading a little while back that Thibs saying that the best way to do military press was by the bar going in front of your head, and ive just read Kings ‘Ians top 10 mass makers, the best exercises for scary size gains’ and he suggests to do it from behind the head!

so i was wondering what you guys thought on the subject and which is better for shoulder development?

seeing as im can someone let me know what primary muscles the chin-up (with palms in and shoulder width apart) uses? does it primarily use he biceps or the back?

MMG[/quote]

Depends on your structure and injury history. For me behind the necks(no lower than ear level though) are a slightly better variation than to the front presses. For me, I wanted to repeated that. If it hurts in any way to do presses behind the neck don’t think that it’s worth it. I’d say a 10-15% improvement in side delt involvement of front presses.

The back will almost always be the prime mover but with your hands positioned that way you are hitting the biceps effectively as well.

so, would i be able to do chin-ups and then tricep dips as isolation exercises in this routine;

bench-press 8x4
rows 8x4
military press 8x4
chin-ups 8x4
tricep-dips 8x4

or do the above routine and then add skull crushers and standing bicep curls as the isolation. Or to make things even more confusing do the routine written above and replace the chin-ups for wide-grip chin-ups and do standing bicep curls as well, but then ive got 2 back exercises!

i’m lucky (so far) in that i can do behind presses and am able to have the bar touch my traps. i love the feel of the stretch and such range of motion. i’ve had guys come up to me and ask how the hell i can go that low. no idea.

i’ve been doing it that way for years with no pain or problems. occasionally i’ll do an alternating set where i’ll do both behind and to the front in the same set just for good measure.

If you want to work your biceps, then do biceps exercises. Chin-ups of any sort are meant to be back exercises.

Andrew is right that the supinated (palms facing you) variation will allow the biceps to come more into play. However, it is still a back exercise and you should be feeling it in your back. Or, better yet, you should be using your back muscles for the exercise, not your arm muscles.

The above routine is fine if you’re looking to do an upper body routine (I’d personally add the standing biceps curl or another biceps curl variation for the biceps). You’ve basically got a vertical pull, vertical push, horizontal pull, horizontal push, and an isolation exercise for your biceps and triceps.

As far as the original question. There is no “better” way across the board. Behind the neck presses are a good exercise, but you rarely see people with the shoulder flexibility to do them full ROM. Notice the starting (bottom) position of the exercise in Mr. King’s recent article.

And beyond that it’s really just a matter of personal preference. I personally prefer either barbell shoulder presses to the front, or dumbbell shoulder presses. The former allows me to load up on the weight. While the latter allows me to get a similar ROM as in BTN presses without the shoulder strain.

But to each their own.

Good training,

Sentoguy

alright cheers for that!
so, is this ok

bench-press 8x4
rows 8x4
military press 8x4
chin-ups (palms facing in)8x4
skull crusher 8x3
standing bicep curls 8x3

or do you think i should change the skull crusher to tricep dips?

I would always err with Ian King, but I’m biased in that aspect…his workouts always work for me!

[quote]MMG wrote:

or do you think i should change the skull crusher to tricep dips?

[/quote]

Which ever exercise you feel more in your triceps, choose that one. If you feel both equally, then choose the one that allows you to use more weight on (both short term and long term).

Good training,

Sentoguy