Behind-The-Neck Overhead Press

Isolation exercise, Free weights




Required equipment

Main muscles

  • Shoulder: Posterior deltoid muscle
    (Musculus deltoideus, posterior deltoid muscle)
  • Shoulder: Medial deltoid muscle
    (Musculus deltoideus, Pars acromialis)
  • Shoulder: Anterior deltoid muscle
    (Musculus deltoideus, Pars clavicularis)

Training plans

Here you can find example plans for behind-the-neck overhead press training:

Behind-The-Neck Overhead Press: Basics and alternatives

: Involved main muscle groups Behind-The-Neck Overhead Press

Involved main muscle groups:
Behind-The-Neck Overhead Press

The Behind-The-Neck Overhead Press is a well-liked exercise that targets the lateral and rear deltoid muscles. You’ll press a barbell overhead behind your head and then lower it behind your head once more.

Another option is the Shoulder Press using a barbell, where you hold the barbell in front of you instead of behind your head. It’s easier on the joints, but the rear deltoid muscle gets less of a workout.

The Dumbbell Shoulder Press might be your best bet since it’s potentially easier on your joints due to the free movement. You could also try the Arnold Press for better muscle activation. Or, give isolation exercises like the front or lateral raise a go.

Correct execution

You can do the Behind-The-Neck Overhead Press either sitting or standing.

The standing version lets you lift the barbell straight from the squat rack to start the exercise, which makes it a bit simpler. In the end, though, it’s up to you since the movement and muscle load are the same either way.

Video tutorial

Snatch-Grip Behind The Neck Overhead Press | Exercise Guide

Step-by-step instructions

Position the barbell in the rack at chest height.

Stand in front of the bar and grasp it with a relaxed, wide grip.

Duck under the bar and place it on your neck. Keep your hands in the same position and secure your grip.

Firmly grip the bar, lift it from the holder, and step away from the rack.

Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.

Tilt your head slightly forward.

Raise the barbell to your ear level. This is your starting position.

Straighten your arms, lifting the bar behind your head. Pause briefly, then lower the weight back to the starting position under control.

Common mistakes

The Behind-The-Neck Overhead Press can put a lot of stress on your shoulder joints since the weight’s movement behind the head isn’t natural. If you experience pain, switch to other shoulder exercises.

To prevent pain or joint issues, don’t lower the weight below ear level. If you still feel pain at that height, stop the exercise and try the dumbbell shoulder press instead.