Every month we ask our panel of experts their opinion on what’s hot in health and fitness. This month we ask: Is it safe to do lat pulldowns and shoulder presses behind your head?
I would not recommend it as it stresses the supporting muscles of your shoulders (rotator cuff) since you have to externally rotate your shoulders behind you. Also, another thing to consider is flexibility of your shoulders. If you lack flexibility, you will put stress on your neck in effort to make up for it.
You could perform these movements behind your head but it would make your rotator cu s vulnerable to injury. I’m sure there are less risky exercises you can do to hit the same muscles.
It is important to work every angle of your shoulder to get the perfect pumpkin delts. Working behind your head can be beneficial, as long as you don’t have any restrictions from injury.
It is difficult enough to hold a neutral spine when doing these exercises the traditional way. Stretching your shoulders beyond the point of their regular range of motion and trying to maintain correct alignment with heavy weight is just too much of a risk.
For a beginner, this may do more harm than good if you aren’t careful. Starting o with lighter weight and building the muscle up first before jumping into the movement will help keep the lifter safe when performing this exercise.
– RELATED: Should You Be Using Machines In The Gym? –
All the trainers I have hired have also always had me go in front and not behind. I have tried behind and it feels awkward and I cannot get a full range of motion.
If you have adequate shoulder and thoracic spinal mobility, then behind the neck pressing and pulling (with light weight; never heavy weight) can be an excellent corrective exercise for developing shoulder and thoracic strength, for postural strength and for increased proprioceptive awareness.
For expert opinions and a 12 month free digital subscription, sign up to the TRAIN for HER newsletter.