Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Traps, Triceps
Target Muscle Group


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Seated Behind the Neck Shoulder Press Overview

The seated behind the neck barbell shoulder press is a variation of the overhead press and an exercise used to build shoulder strength and muscle.

Vertical press variations are crucial movement patterns to train and should be incorporated into your workout routines. So, experiment with the variations until you find one that feels comfortable for you to perform and continue to work on it.

That said, behind the neck press variations are often seen as a dated practice since they can put the shoulder in a compromised position, increasing the risk of injury.

If you do not have a fair amount of shoulder mobility, it is not recommended to perform this variation. And even if you do, depending on your reasoning behind the use of this exercise, there may be better variations available for you to use.

Seated Behind the Neck Shoulder Press Instructions

  1. Adjust the barbell to just below shoulder height while standing then load the desired weight onto the bar.
  2. Place an adjustable bench beneath the bar in an upright position.
  3. Sit down on the bench and unrack the bar using a pronated grip.
  4. Inhale, brace, tuck the chin, then lower the bar to the back of your neck.
  5. Exhale and press the bar back to lockout.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Seated Behind the Neck Shoulder Press Tips

  1. Reach tall at the top and don’t worry about keeping the shoulders packed down and back.
  2. Allow the elbows to rotate and point outward at the top of the movement but tuck them tight to the ribcage at the bottom.
  3. Fight to control the bar from rolling your wrists into extension and think about “rolling your knuckles toward the ceiling.”
  4. Brace your abs as you press, you shouldn’t be leaning back excessively.
  5. Imagine you’re trying to look out a window at the top, your ears should be in line with your biceps.
  6. If your shoulders are bothering you during the movement, consider experimenting with a wider grip or utilizing some of the vertical pressing progressions listed on the site.
Jayson Cathuray
Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 03:57

is there any alternatives to this workout?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:08

Shoulder Press to the front or seated dumbbell press.

vikas kumar gupta
Posted on: Fri, 10/16/2020 - 10:44

Can you please upload a workout using dumbell and barbell with push pull leg split

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 10/19/2020 - 09:21
Posted on: Sun, 03/24/2019 - 19:29

i need to know this This exercise is dangerous????????????? any one help

Posted on: Mon, 07/20/2020 - 02:33

It risks damaging your rotator cuffs. Use dumbbells instead so that you can bail if you need to or work with a spotter. Or do a normal shoulder press.

Posted on: Thu, 03/13/2014 - 03:57

Is it possible to set up a bench under a smith-machine to do this exercise?

Posted on: Wed, 07/08/2015 - 21:00

I would say it is more than reasonable to use a smith machine. It with give you smooth movement and fixed travel. It will take away some of the stabilizer muscles work but should allow for smoother reps. Just ensure you set your safety stops at or slightly above your should blades to avoid injury on a missed rep when not using a spotter.

Posted on: Thu, 03/13/2014 - 03:55

Is it possible to set up a bench under a smith-machine to do this exercise? In my gym we have only bench press without adjustable backs.

Posted on: Wed, 02/10/2016 - 13:24

change ur gym.