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Examining The Potential Benefits And Drawbacks Of Behind-The-Neck Pressing

A behind-the-neck press is a shoulder-targeting exercise that you may do at home. Another name for this exercise is a “overhead press.” It is a version of the “shoulder press.” As a result, it’s one of the most contentious exercises in the fitness industry because it has the ability to put an excessive amount of strain on your neck and shoulders.

While it is feasible to perform the exercise in a safe manner, it is not recommended for everyone. The use of a personal trainer is recommended even for advanced lifters in order to maintain their safety.

What Is The Procedure To Do The Exercises?

Behind The Neck Press - barbell neck press

Squatting or standing is required to complete the behind-the-neck press exercise properly. Start with the seated form of the workout on a weight bench if you’re new to the routine. A vertical back bench can also be used to provide additional support.

  1. Place the barbell across your traps and sit down. Place your feet firmly on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees to the floor.
  2. Grip the bar with your hands wider than your shoulder width and your palms facing forward, as shown. Maintain your core strength by squeezing your shoulder blades together while keeping your elbows under the barbell.
  3. Exhale and raise the bar straight up, aligning it with the top of your chin. Pause.
  4. Take a deep breath and slowly return to your starting posture.
  5. Begin with a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions.

If you are able to perform this exercise in a safe manner, you can move to the standing version. It entails the same exercise as before, but with a barbell on a rack. For either version, start with a light barbell and work your way up. A personal trainer can assist you in determining the proper weight for you.

What Muscles Does It Primarily Target?

The behind-the-neck press is used to work the following muscles:

  • The deltoids are divided into three groups: the frontal, outer, and posterior (shoulders)
  • Traps, sometimes known as trapezius (upper back)
  • Triceps brachii (biceps brachii) (back upper arm)
  • Serratus anterior (forehead serratus) (armpit over rib cage)

In addition to challenging your core and legs, the behind-the-neck press may be performed in a standing position.

What Are The Advantages Of Doing So?

Increased upper body strength can be achieved through strengthening your shoulders, upper back, and arms. It also improves the stability and mobility of the shoulder joint.

Shoulders that are strong allow you to do a variety of activities, including:

  1. Lifting exercises
  2. Pulling exercises
  3. Pushing exercises
  4. Punching exercises
Behind The Neck Press - Punching exercises

Furthermore, having adequate shoulder stability and mobility lowers your chances of suffering from shoulder pain and injury.

Isn’t It, However, A Dangerous Proposition?

A behind-the-neck press does, in fact, put a significant amount of strain on your rotator cuff muscles, which are responsible for stabilizing your shoulder joints. In addition, the situation is awkward. Your shoulder muscles may be torn if you have inadequate shoulder mobility or if you are carrying too much weight on your shoulders.

You can injure your neck as well. During the downward phase, the barbell has the potential to strike your neck or the back of your head, depending on your position. It also puts a strain on the muscles in your neck.

Because of these dangers, it’s better not to attempt a behind-the-neck press unless you have the following:

  • Sufficient mobility and stability of the shoulder
  • Stability of the trunk in the usual range
  • Excellent mobility in the thoracic (upper) spine

Not sure if you meet the qualifications? A personal trainer can assist you in making this decision. If you have had or are currently suffering from a shoulder injury, you should avoid making the maneuver.

Is It Possible To Find Alternatives That Have Similar Benefits?

There are a number of alternatives to the behind-the-neck press that provide similar advantages with less danger if you’re concerned about harming yourself during the exercise. The alternate exercises listed below will focus your shoulders without putting you at danger of injury.

In any case, if you have a history of shoulder difficulties, working with a personal trainer is highly recommended. They may be able to provide additional recommendations to keep you secure.

1. With Dumbbells Behind The Neck – Press.

The majority of people perform behind-the-neck presses using a barbell, however using individual dumbbells can help lower your chance of injury.

Dumbbells, in contrast to barbells, do not force your arms into a fixed position. Because you may move in a more natural manner, you will have less stress on your shoulders.

Your shoulders can also progressively move to a broader range of motion by using dumbbells. On the other hand, barbells require great extension and abduction to be used effectively.

The following is an example of how to perform the maneuver using dumbbells:

  1. Place your feet firmly on the floor and your knees at 90 degrees on a bench. The dumbbells should be resting on your thighs. With your palms facing forward, lift each dumbbell up to shoulder level one at a time.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and move your elbows back, keeping the dumbbells behind your ears while you perform this exercise:
  3. Prepare your core by tucking your shoulders in. Pulling the dumbbells straight up and keeping them in line with your shoulders requires an exhalation. Pause.
  4. Take a deep breath and gently return to the starting posture.
  5. Begin with a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions.

One dumbbell at a time can be used for a simpler form of this exercise. This is an excellent method of gradually increasing shoulder strength.

Behind The Neck Press - dumbbell neck press

The standing version is more difficult since it incorporates exercises for your core and legs. To do so, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and following the instructions above.

2. The Shoulder Press Exercises.

 Because you are holding the weight in front of your body, the basic shoulder press is a less dangerous exercise. Standard shoulder presses are a variation of the behind-the-neck exercise that stimulates the deltoids, triceps, and trapezoids. This exercise also strengthens the pectoral muscles in the chest area.

To get things moving:

  1. Place the barbell slightly above your front shoulders while sitting. Place your feet flat on the floor and your knees at 90 degrees to the floor. Grip the bar with your hands wider than your shoulder width and your palms facing forward, as shown.
  2. Remove the barbell from the rack and hold it at chin-level for the rest of the exercise. Brace your abdominal muscles, push your shoulder blades together, and extend your elbows forward to form a fist.
  3. Taking a deep breath, stretch your arms to press the barbell upward, aligning it with the top of your head. Pause.
  4. Take a deep breath and slowly return to your starting posture.
  5. Begin with a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions.

Alternatively, you can perform the shoulder press while standing with dumbbells.

The Bottom Line

The behind-the-neck press is a shoulder-targeting exercise that you may do at home. Many people, however, advise against doing so because it might place additional tension on your neck and shoulders.

If you have limited shoulder mobility and stability, you should avoid performing this maneuver. You might wish to experiment with some alternative exercises that will work your shoulders without putting yourself in danger.

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