Behind the Neck Shoulder Press

Barbell Shoulder Press is one of the best free weight exercises to strengthen and define your shoulder muscles.

It’s a compound exercise that means it works out all on all three heads of the shoulder which is front deltoid, side deltoid and rear deltoid plus it also works out works out your synergist muscles like your triceps, serratus anterior and lower/middle part of the trapezius muscle.

 Although this exercise has worked for me but it does a carry risk of injury.The movement involves external rotation of the shoulder because you are getting the bar behind your neck. If you have tight pectoral muscles or rounded shoulders it will limit the ability of your shoulder to rotate fully plus it will also limit your ability to retract your shoulders blades and that can put excessive strain on your rotator cuff tendon so its not recommended for everyone for example if you have any sort of neck pain then avoid this exercise, if you have any serious shoulder injury then avoid this exercise.

But personally it has worked very well for me worked very well for me and I started off this exercise with very lights and now of course I lift much heavier now. So let me try and tell you how to perform this exercise correctly –

So like me if you do not have a barbell rack then you need to lift the weight off the floor in a clean and press motion or in a snatch motion. Keep your hands more than shoulder width a part and get the bar straight above your head. Now squeeze your shoulder blades and lower back behind your neck in a slow and a controlled manner till it reaches a little below your ear level, from here press the weight up back to the overhead position by extending your arms fully.

Important points to keep in mind while performing this exercise-

 A) Please warm up before you start this exercise, working out a cold muscle is an open invitation to an  injury

B) Don’t let the bar come below your ear level  …yes doing a full range of motion of this exercise can put undue pressure on tendons and ligaments and can cause injury

C)If you are a beginner then avoid lifting heavy, take your own time in getting this movement right .If you injure your shoulder once then it can stay with you for a long time so be careful

D) As far as the breathing pattern goes -Inhale as you lower the bar (eccentric portion) and exhale as you raise the bar (concentric portion)

A lot people ask me why should we workout out shoulders we don’t want to become body builders.

Well the fact is shoulder is functionally involved in all the movements that we do in daily life, for example if you are trying to throw something, if you play a cricket shot, if you performing a golf swing, all these movements need you to have strong shoulder strength and that is why it is very important that you need to work out or strengthen your shoulders on regular basis.  

Besides this exercise this you can even you other exercises like shoulder press with dumbbell, shoulder press on a machine which are equally effective for strengthening your shoulder muscles.

Raghav Pande is New Delhi (India) based Fitness Consultant

He is a Certified Fitness Trainer,Sports Nutritionist and the Winner of “You Tube Next Trainer”

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