Thursday, November 12, 2009

Exercises I don't like... Vol 1

I am going to try to have one of these a month and am open to any suggestions of exercises at any time. I have told my personal training staff that if they ever read, see, hear about, or make up in their mind a "new" exercise, we can go over it and I would tell them if I thought it was worth anything or not. I will be watching for and going over exercises that I don't like and my reasons... rarely will I ever not like an exercise without any reason whatsoever... take from it what you want.

Behind the Neck Shoulder Press (BNSP)
This exercise is pretty popular in bodybuilding pics and magazines. You almost always see a huge guy with all kinds of vascularity in his shoulders pushing heavy weight from behind his neck to above his head. I realize these guys have diesel shoulders that make doorways always look too narrow.
BUT if you want to build up your shoulders, you need to focus on barbell shoulder press (in front of your face), dumbell shoulder press, straight arms raises, arnold press, and hit your other pressing movements, like those that involve your chest, hard. I am against BNSP because it is not a natural range of motion for the body to bring heavy weight behind the head while not keeping a neutral spine (i.e. ducking your head).

For beginners that have a low sense of proprioception (knowing what position your body is in without having to look and see it), moving a loaded barbell behind their head adds a huge risk to having them drill their cervical spine with the bar. Even with an experienced lifter, if you are pushing with all you have and miss a barbell shoulder press in front of your face (assuming your spotter blows), you can bring it down to your chest or rest it on your anterior delts like a front squat. If you miss a rep on BNSP and your spotter blows you aren't going to be able to sit far enough up fast enough to let it land on your traps like a back squat... the weight it going to hit your neck!

There are a ton of other shoulder exercises to hit that will give you the same gerthiness (said like EARTH-iness but with a GUH) and turn those shoulders into boulders without the risk of injury to your spine. Let me know what you think in the comments and go get huge(r).

1 comment:

Chance Cianciola, MS, CSCS, cPT said...

Not to mention the added stress that behind the neck presses add to the glenohumeral joint. Most people's humerus doesn't sit right in the joint anyway because of postural deficiencies. So why add to that? Listen to the man and stay away from behind the neck movements like presses and pulldowns.

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