Seated Behind the Neck Shoulder Press

Exercise / Shoulders

Seated Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Press overview

The Seated Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Press is a compound exercise that targets the deltoids, trapezius, and triceps. This movement helps develop overall shoulder strength and muscle mass. Proper form and careful execution are essential to ensure safety and effectiveness. Explore the specifications, step-by-step instructions, and variations to optimize the benefits of the Seated Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Press in your strength training routine.

The Seated Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Press primarily targets the deltoids and trapezius muscles.

Seated Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Press how to perform

  • Step 1: Sit on a bench with a straight back, placing a barbell on a squat rack at a height just above head level.
  • Step 2: Position yourself under the barbell, grasping it with a pronated (overhand) grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Step 3: Unrack the barbell and lower it behind your head, bringing it down to the level of your traps.
  • Step 4: Keep your core engaged, chest up, and maintain a neutral spine.
  • Step 5: Press the barbell overhead by extending your arms, fully locking out at the top.
  • Step 6: Lower the barbell back down behind your head with control to the starting position.


Perform each repetition with controlled movements, focusing on the engagement of the deltoids and trapezius.

Starting position

Final position

CAUTION: Rember to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Exercise Tips

  • Ensure a comfortable grip width, typically wider than shoulder-width for most individuals.
  • Keep your chest up and avoid leaning forward excessively.
  • Engage your core muscles to maintain stability throughout the movement.
  • Control the descent of the barbell to avoid unnecessary stress on the shoulders.


  1. Smith Machine Seated Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Press: Use a Smith machine for added stability and control.
  2. Dumbbell Seated Behind-the-Neck Press: Perform the exercise with dumbbells for individual arm engagement.
  3. Standing Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Press: Execute the movement while standing for increased stability and core engagement.
  4. Front-Facing Seated Shoulder Press: Press the barbell in front of your head for a different angle of engagement.