The behind the neck press, a movement that has been building championship shoulders for over 70 years,. Yet in a world full of immobility, the majority of the population inactive, and proper instruction rare has this classic staple became a curse?
The truth is, 90% of pain from the behind the neck press stems from the trainees inability to keep their forearms perpendicular to the floor. You see when you internally or externally rotate your shoulder by letting your forearm fall forwards or backwards it places great stress on the rotator cuff. And anyone who has done rotator cuff rehabilitation or strengthening work knows it cannot handle much weight.
With just a empty bar internally rotating your shoulder while pressing behind the neck for a few sets can cause a great deal of discomfort , if you are using say 135 pounds you will swear the exercise was designed to rip your shoulders out of socket.
So why do guys like me still recommend the BTN press? Because if performed properly with forearms perpendicular to the ground it has been proven in modern EMG studies to be a superior pressing movement activation wise .
Bret’s Study: http://goo.gl/sCfVAy
But, remember if you lack the shoulder mobility and can not maintain perpendicular forearms it is not worth the pain, nothing is. Some people forget training optimally also entails training safe, because if you are injured your optimal results cease,
On that note some individuals can’t even perform standard overhead presses without letting their shoulders internally rotate. These trainees get pain no matter how they press overhead and should preform all overhead work on a incline bench so they can keep their forearms perpendicular.