4 Exercises Better Than the Overhead Press
Think traditional seated overhead barbell presses are your golden ticket to shoulder mass? Here are 4 variations that’ll do a better job of adding mass to your delts.
3. Behind-The-Neck Press
Your functional-minded personal trainer may want to cover his delicate ears or perhaps skip this section because we’ll be discussing the behind-the-neck press. Ready? Okay. So doing presses to the front, as in the standard overhead press, forces you to keep your elbows slightly forward, thus involving more of the front deltoid head and slightly less of the middle deltoid head. For those looking to gain width in their shoulders, helping provide a greater V-taper, putting more stress on the middle delts is actually the key factor.
Thus, when doing presses behind the neck, your elbows move out to your sides to a greater degree than with presses to the front, and because of this, the middle delts are involved to a much greater degree than they are with front barbell presses. Consider the front raise and lateral raise for a second. When you perform front raises, in which your elbows move in front of your body, you involve more of your front delts than your middle delts. When you do lateral raises, in which your elbows move out to your sides, you involve more of your middle delts. The same goes for the standard and behind-the-neck versions of the press, both having everything to do with the position of your elbows relative to your body.
Now, if you have pre-existing shoulder or cervical spine issues, you’ll obviously need to avoid this version, but for the healthy individual, the behind-the-neck overhead press is absolutely safe. The key is learning to incorporate both versions into your routine rather than sticking to just one.
Power Pointer: Because your arms are further out to your sides, more stress is placed on the middle delt.