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Behind the Neck Shoulder Press - Instructions, Variations & Alternatives

Muscles involved

  • Deltoids
  • Triceps
  • Trapezes

Also known as

  • Rear Shoulder Press

How to perform

Neck Press - Starting position

Neck Press - Starting position

Neck Press - Muscle Under Tension

Neck Press - Muscle Under Tension

  1. Set up & Starting position (standing, seated (recommended variant for beginner))

    Set the bar high on a rack to start the exercise with your arms overhead instead of starting with the bar across your shoulders.

    With your back straight and your feet firmly grounded, grab the bar with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width. Unrack the bar and hold it over your head without fully locking out your arms. Brace your core and squeeze your shoulder blades together, keeping your elbows under the bar.

  2. Eccentric phase
    Lower the bar toward the base of your neck and pull your head slightly forward to allow space for the bar to move. Go only as far as your flexibility allow you to do comfortably.

  3. Concentric phase
    Press the bar straight up without fully locking out your arms, lining it up with your head.
    Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

The Behind the Neck Press is a controversial exercise as it places a lot of stress on your rotator cuff muscles. Note that the “standard” (front) version of the shoulder press can be just as effective for those who lack flexibility in the shoulders.

Exercise Alternatives