Bench press for the head - the right technique, variations

The barbell press behind the head is a basic exercise for training the shoulders. This exercise can primarily develop the upper or middle bundle of deltoid muscles. Additionally, the top of the trapezoid and triceps is involved in the movement. It is recommended for both beginners and people who have been engaged in the gym for a long time.

Deltoid muscles

Deltoid muscles cover the shoulder joint like a shoulder pad.

They consist of 3 large bundles: front, back and middle. With a small thickness of the fat layer, you can see them when you take your hand sideways, back and forth. The middle (target in this exercise) beam forms a rounded shape of the shoulders, visually increasing their width.

Bench press for the head - the right technique, variations

Delta is a very vulnerable muscle, it gets injured most often. Therefore, pay attention to the recommendations in this article regarding this exercise!

Options for execution

The exercise can be performed in different variations.

Here are the main ones:

  1. If you have problems with your back, then the bench press from behind the sitting head is suitable. It is better to use a sports bench with a removable back angle.
  2. If you have no injuries and your back is healthy - you can perform the exercise while sitting, but without resting on the back.
  3. For experienced athletes, the bench press is suitable for standing up from behind the head, but it’s safer to still do it on the bench.

Bench press for the head - the right technique, variations

You can use the bar mounted on racks (free weight) or do the exercise in Smith.

Smith's simulator is a kind of stand for the bar, in which the movement of the projectile is possible strictly up and down. The second option is perfect for beginners who need to work out the right technique. Choose an option that allows your health and gym capabilities.

Bench press for the head - the right technique, variations

Exercise Technique

This type of bench press should be performed first in your shoulder training. Then "finish off" the muscles with isolated exercises.

In Smith, sitting on a sports bench

Performing exercises in Smith's simulator and with a free barbell are technically no different. However, Smith allows beginners to avoid mistakes and isolates the muscles you need. You can use the free bar later when you learn to do the exercise in a simplified form.

  1. We install the bench in Smith's frame so that the neck is strictly above the seat. We set the back angle to 90 degrees.

    We sit down, press our back against the bench. For the first warm-up approach, we use a small weight.

  2. The bar should be just above the head and located a few centimeters behind it. We take it with a wide grip (slightly wider than the shoulders) so that a right angle forms in the elbows.
  3. Turning the bar, remove it from the racks and lift it up as far as possible.

    In this case, the arms at the elbows will not be fully extended.

  4. Lower the bar back to the back of the head. Repeat 10-15 times, and put the bar in its original position. It will be a workout.
  5. We hang the right weight and work, depending on your goals.

By lowering the bar as low as possible, you additionally engage the top of the trapezoid. If you lower the bar to the level of the earlobes or the middle of the neck (your shoulders will be on one straight line), only deltoids work. Choose what you need.

Features of the free bar press

The free bar is, first of all, more difficult to hold in case of an unforeseen situation. When you removed it from the racks and started doing bench press, you can stop only if you return the bar back.

In the middle of the road you have nowhere to leave it. If you suddenly did not squeeze, or something else happened, you will have to drop the bar. And it’s not always possible to do this safely for oneself and others.

Bench press for the head - the right technique, variations

Therefore, in this case, you will need insurance. Exercise should be done in pairs in pairs.

The exception is small weights that do not pose any danger.

Performing a standing exercise

This is a complicated version of the bench press that is only suitable for a free barbell. Smith's simulator is not so high as to allow you to straighten your arms from a standing position.

There are two options for the original stances: legs shoulder-width apart and on the same line, or one leg extended forward, the second back for greater stability.

The technique is as follows:

  1. We remove the bar and stand in one of the racks proposed above.

  2. We are doing the same thing as for the seated version of the exercise.

Standing position is more suitable for army bench press and has one advantage - you can help yourself lift the barbell with a slight push from the legs. Thus, your working weight may be more than in a sedentary version of the exercise.

The bench press for standing up is not recommended for beginners!

Vital recommendations

The following rules will help you avoid very unpleasant injuries:

  1. We raise the bar on the exhale, lower it on the inhale. Slow pace and smooth movements - the best load on the muscles.

    No jerking - you can pull the deltas.

  2. We hold the arch in the lower back, the back is straight, we look only forward (no lowering of the gaze or viewing of mosquitoes on the ceiling).
  3. A correctly selected weight is one that you can lift the required number of times with the right technique, but no more. If you can do a few more reps, the weight is light.
  4. If you have osteochondrosis of the lower back, hernia, or protrusion, use the orthopedic belt whenever you are standing or sitting under a working weight.

    This is the prevention of complications and exacerbations of back diseases.

  5. To perform the exercise, clinging to the upright back of the bench - is easier, in fact, as in Smith. Your body does not need to strain to maintain balance. Therefore, for beginners this is the best option. Smith also allows you to secure the exercise - you can do it without insurance.

  6. If the weight of an empty bar (usually 20 kg for a free bar, and 20-25 for a Smith trainer) is too large for a warm-up, use dumbbells or lighter bars (ask the trainer if there are any in the gym). It’s better not to approach the working balance without a warm-up!


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