BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS ----> FRONT OR BACK
11-09-2005 07:13 PM
BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS ----> FRONT OR BACK
We were having this debate in the gym about Barbell Shoulder Press. Yeah they would have this debate on my shoulder day. They were trying to sabotage my work. I work out with some real clowns.
Is it better to do barbell shoulders press from the back or the front?
I was kind of 50/50 with the guys in the gym because I really don't know.
11-09-2005 07:49 PM
I would say barbell shoulder presses to the rear are going to put much more stress on the rotator cuffs. Definately not something you want to do considering how fragile they can be. I would go ahead and continue pressing to the front. Injuring your rotator cuff/s can set you back for several months. Better safe than sorry.
11-09-2005 08:24 PM
Even with lat pulldowns my Chiropractor warns me to avoid the behind the head movements. I imagine it's the same for presses.
11-09-2005 08:27 PM
I think it is partially a genetic issue, but I know for sure that I can't do any behind the head movements. It always feels like I'm straining to keep my head out of the way, which is not where you want your focus to be. I remember reading about a study, I think it was published in an old issue of Muscle Media. It actually said that lat pd behind stimulates the lats LESS than to front.
IMO there is no reason to risk behind the head movements.
11-09-2005 08:55 PM
I am pretty sure that behind the neck pulldowns and presses have contributed to my shoulder problems, I used to do them all the time in highschool, that was how we were taught to do them, I now believe they are horrendous on your shoulder joints, puts the shoulders in bad angles.
11-09-2005 09:02 PM
I thought I read in a muscle magazine that behind the neck press stimulate more shoulder muscle. I don't remember the magazine but a couple of bodybuilders swear that behind the neck press is great for building thick shoulders.
I do my shoulder press from the front but I notice these two guys in the gym and they was doing their presses from the back and their shoulders look amazing in size and thickness. They swear that behind the neck presses is the best way to build thick shoulders, from all angles.
11-09-2005 10:31 PM
eh, I have always been a fan of front shoulder presses because it feels more stable for me. But then again, I have very lose shoulders. Earlier this year I did a bangup job dislocating my left shoulder in a strongman competition. That had me out of any upper body training for 3 months so I am very hesitant to do behind the head motions. That goes for behind the head lat pulldown also.
11-10-2005 05:38 AM
Quickryde, I know what you're saying. It seems like all the biggest guys in my gym do 'em behind the back. However, some of these guys probably take pain killers before workouts, and just cuz they're big doesn't mean they know what is best.
IMO, it just isn't worth the risk. If you want to hit it from different angles you should press to the front, dumbell presses (essentially to the middle), and Arnold Presses. That gives you 3 different shoulder press stimulation w/o the risk to your Rotators.
11-10-2005 12:02 PM
Behind the neck presses stimulate the rear delts more than front presses. The also stimulate less of the front delt than fromt presses.
Honestly if you want to hit the rear delt, just do reverse flyes and high rows.
11-12-2005 11:34 PM
For me, neither
I simply cant get the focus off my traps/tri's when I use a barbell, so 90% of the time I use DB's.
11-13-2005 01:44 PM
DB Arnolds are my new favorite. My traps seem to take a lot of focus away from most other shoulder excercises and were a tad disproportionate until I started doing arnolds and DB lat side raises. Lats seemed to respond best with parallel grip chins/pullups and heavy db rows..but then my upper back is not exactly in the best of alignment (ie lacks any curve).
11-13-2005 02:10 PM
What about the hammer strength machine? My gym has a Hammer Strength Behind the neck shoulder press machine. I've used it twice now and it didn't feel like I was straining anything or uncomfortable, but if they are just as bad or close, I will stay away from now on. thanks
11-17-2005 03:16 PM
Front! Don't do behind the neck pulldowns or presses. If you get more shoulder recruitment from behind the neck it is because you are cheating on the front presses and arching your back to use your chest. You can try tilting your head back and looking at the ceiling with a low backed bench, or with a high backed bench, the bar should be scraping your nose on the way up and down. But if you have a choice use the low backed bench so you can use the proper form.
I know people get injured from behind the neck stuff. IIRC- it is a problem with the rotator muscles. Plus it is quite unnatural for the joint to do this motion, and with the shoulder being as fragile and sensitive as it is, I wouldn't take the risk.
01-08-2006 05:19 PM
I feel that I get the best overall results by going behind the neck. However, I do not use excessive weights (105 lbs max, I'm not very strong anyways), use a spotter to get it off the rack (most unstable part for me) when I can, and never lower the bar lower than my ears.
Before making the switch if you've never done them, or haven't in ages, I would suggest starting with a low chair and a smith machine to get used to what it feels like to have a bar go behind your head. If it feels wrong, or hurts in a way it shouldn't stop and abort. Not everybody's joints are designed or capable of safely doing this.
No shoulder problems at 30 years old wheras I used to have shoulder problems a decade ago.
01-08-2006 05:55 PM
I luv my tee, thanks NP
I let a guy talk me into doing behind the neck presses about a year and half ago. At around 4 weeks into doing them, my shoulder was hurting so bad I couldn't work my chest. I had to take a long break to let it heal.
For me, dumbells are the best.
01-08-2006 06:27 PM
My body is weird. For the longest time, I just couldn't do any in front of the head presses with any decent weight. I was told and read constantly that it should be the behind the neck presses that hurt, but it really did hurt doing them on the front.
For comparison - I would max around 225lbs behind the neck, but couldn't do anything more than 115 in front.
My incline bench press was also much lower than my flat/decline bench. About 8 months ago, I've been concentrating a lot on my incline bench - and it has improved immensely.
I've also started doing more in front presses at the same time, and have noticed an improvement - and it doesn't hurt anymore. My behind the neck is still stronger, but only by about 25-30lbs or so. I'm going to continue to concentrate on front presses more still.
01-08-2006 07:02 PM
Both are useful, as are dbs and arnolds, but I'd stick with light weight when going behind the head for shoulder health and overall safety.
01-08-2006 07:37 PM
I've never done barbell shoulder presses -- either front or back. I just find that movement awkward with a barbell.
I've been doing heavy seated dumbbell shoulder presses for something like 10 to 12 years. I like how I can vary the range of motion (either clicking the bells together at lockout or pushing more 'straight up' as you would with a barbell). Plus, you don't need a spotter with the dumbbells.
If I were to do barbell presses I'd definitely do front ones. There's a good front shoulder press machine at my gym that I do use on occasion...
01-08-2006 09:13 PM
dead sexy wino
barbell to the front...definitely. But you should alternate between that, DB presses and Arnold's to get an all around shoulder development. DB presses aren't so much in front of you as is BB presses. Arnolds kick ass for front delts.
As stated already.....rear delts can be hit many other ways so why risk injury to your shoulders just to appease some clown at your gym.
01-08-2006 10:22 PM
hits delt heads differently. do both, mix it around. i dont like how a lot of people always jump to the behind the head shoulder press and lat pulldown as putting excess and 'bad' stress on the 4 rotators. unless you have injury to supra/infraspinatus and ligaments around the rotators, i say hit both exercises. just use good form.
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