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Behind the Neck Presses

Q: I’ve seen you recommend behind-the-neck pulldowns in your training blog, but you never include behind-the-neck presses. Is the behind-the-neck press not a good shoulder exercise?

A: First understand that any behind-the-neck move—pulldown or press—can overstress the shoulder capsule. It’s not a natural position, but the behind-the-neck position can provide a unique angle of pull on the target muscle fibers for new development.

That said, you can use behind-the-neck moves every so often—as long as they don’t hurt, you control the weight, and you do not go heavy. In fact, to ensure all of that, use the X-centric method—one second on the positive and six seconds on the negative for about seven reps.

A negative-accentuated style like that requires a lighter weight than a standard eight-rep set and still provides a double dose of muscle growth. The slow negatives stimulate the myofibrils, the actin and myosin strands that generate force. The longer tension time—50 seconds—helps spur expansion in the sarcoplasm, the fibers’ endurance fluid.

Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on the POF DVD and Size Surge programs, visit Also visit and for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM


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