How to Do Back Press Properly

The back press is an upper body exercise that targets the shoulders.

It can be done on a bench with weights such as barbells. It is one of the best exercises to gain muscles and build shoulder strength.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit on a bench with back support.
  • Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip.
  • Hold the weights above your shoulders slightly in front of you with your elbows pointing to the floor.
  • Push the barbell up and overhead so that your arms are completely straightened.
  • Hold the position then lower to starting position.
  • Repeat for twelve to fifteen reps for one set.

WHAT MUSCLES DO BACK PRESS WORK?

The back press is a compound press. It can work on multiple parts of the upper body.

It targets the shoulders, triceps, traps and abs.

1.      SHOULDER MUSCLES

The front deltoid is the largest of the muscles that sit on the shoulder. The anterior deltoid is the muscle that is activated when lifting.

The lateral deltoid is found on the side of the shoulder. It is the second most activated deltoid during back press. This muscle helps you lift your arms to your side.

Posterior deltoid is located opposite the anterior deltoid. It is found on the back of the shoulder. Back press helps build this muscle and avoid any muscle imbalances.

2.      BACK MUSCLES

Trapezoids are back muscles that help stabilize the shoulders. These muscles are used in pulling and lifting exercises. Back press exercises help stabilize the shoulder joint when doing the motion.

3.      CORE MUSCLES

Pectoralis major is the muscles that are found at the breastbone. They are engaged when you puff your chest when doing back press exercises. However, if you want to focus on the pecs, you should do bench press exercises.

Abs These are the abdominal muscles found from the diaphragm to the pelvis. Doing standing back press helps engage your abs.

4.      ARM MUSCLES

Triceps are the muscles found on the back of the arm. Back press exercises activate the triceps when the weights are lifted.

However, if you want to build your triceps, you should do isolated exercises such as skull crushers and push-ups.

5.      SUPPORTING MUSCLES

The back press exercise also targets several secondary support muscles. They are the serratus anterior which is a muscle that originates on the surface of the 1st to the 8th ribs at the side of the chest.

The second postural muscle is the teres minor which is a muscle that contributes to the rotator cuff. It helps modulate the action of the deltoid and runs from the armpit to the breast.

The final muscles are the infraspinatus and supraspinatus. The infraspinatus is a thick triangular muscle that contributes a major part of the rotator cuff.

The supraspinatus is a small muscle in the upper back that is also part of the rotator cuff. These muscles help abduct the arm at the shoulder.

Back press exercise helps stabilise these muscles.

BACK PRESS BENEFITS

There are multiple benefits to the back press.

1.      STRONGER SHOULDERS

The back press ensures that the biggest load is moved by your shoulders. The increased stress placed on your shoulder muscles helps them grow.

Back press helps improve shoulder health and helps reduce the risk of injury when doing other exercises.

2.      INCREASE BONE DENSITY

The back press is an effective weight-bearing upper body exercise.

Stronger weight loads help improve density which will be of great benefit as you age.

3.      IMPROVED BODY FUNCTIONALITY

Your daily life includes a lot of movement. In one day you will bend, lift, walk, or run multiple times.

Back press helps improve your core strength which improves your body stability and makes it easier to perform these functions.

4.      REDUCE SHOULDER PAIN

As mentioned earlier, keeping the muscles in your shoulders strong and well used helps ensure your shoulders remain strong and healthy.

In addition to improving shoulder strength and function, the back press ensures that you reduce the risk of shoulder pain when you do upper body exercises and other daily activities.

ALTERNATIVES TO BACK PRESS

There are many exercises you can use to mix up your routine.

1.      BEHIND-THE-NECK PRESS WITH DUMBBELLS

Dumbbells don’t keep your arms in a fixed position. This can help reduce stress on your shoulders.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit on a bench with your knees 90 degrees to the floor.
  • Rest the dumbbells on your thighs. Lift the dumbbells to shoulder level one at a time.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and move your elbows back and hold the dumbbells behind your ears.
  • Exhale and lift the dumbbells straight up while keeping them in line with your shoulders.
  • Hold position then inhale and return to starting position.
  • Repeat 12-15 times for one set.

2.      MILITARY PRESS

To do this exercise:

  • Grab the barbell with your hands positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width. Use an overhand grip and keep your feet close together.
  • Start with the bar at your upper chest.
  • Press up until your arms are straightened.
  • Slowly lower to starting position.
  • You can also use kettlebells, dumbbells or resistance bands.

BACK PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID

Don’t lean back when doing the back press. Ensure your back is straight in the neutral position with your core engaged.

If you are doing a standing back press, tighten your glutes to keep your back straight.

Ensure you keep your core engaged. It helps to inhale before you start lifting the weight to help engage your core.

Don’t tilt your head backwards when doing the back press. Look straight ahead.

If you are doing standing back press, make sure you don’t lift with your legs. If you need to use your legs to help lift the weights you should reduce the weights.

Don’t do the back press without warming up your shoulder.

Ensure your grip is proper when lifting the bar. You should use a full grip with your hands wrapped around the bar. Squeeze the bar as you press up. This will help you avoid slips.

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