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Friday, February 26, 2010

In Defense of the Press Behind the Neck - By Bradley J. Steiner


The idea that presses behind the neck are "dangerous" is a new one for me! I have been using this exercise and teaching it since the 1960's, and the only result for myself and others has been . . . GOOD RESULTS!

Of course it is possible to train improperly on the press behind neck, or on any other exercise. That could cause problems. But that does not make the movement per se "dangerous"; it only means that you should learn how to do it properly, and then train correctly on it.

My tips would be:

• Learn how to do the press behind neck correctly
• Use weights that are manageable and that you can exercise with correctly in good form
• DO NOT drop, "jerk", or bounce the weight (your head might suffer!)
• Progress gradually — never hurry and do not "cheat" in order to hoist weights that are too heavy for correct performance
• Stop immediately if pain is felt; pain is not the same thing as "effort", or as the fatigue you ought to experience after working a muscle group properly
• If — for whatever reason — the press behind neck feels awkward for you even after learning its correct performance and trying it with a light and reasonable poundage at first, use another exercise. Maybe regular pressing or dumbell pressing suits your personal physiology better.

I rate the press behind neck as one of the finest BASIC EXERCISES. And I have never known any reason to change this opinion.

Professor Steiner's American Combato Site