How To Do Neutral Grip Shoulder Press Properly

The neutral grip shoulder press is possibly one of the most common upper torso drills in the gym today. And for good reasons.

It targets the hamstrings and the upper body and provides overall muscle strength and stability. Neutral grip shoulder presses also work the deep core and upper back and tricep muscles as well.

This drill demands unlimited shoulder mobility. If you have had shoulder injuries before, be sure to consult your physician before you give it a go.

Also known as Neutral grip dumbbell overhead press.

Targeted muscles: Anterior and medial deltoids, Shoulders, Hamstrings.

Requirements: Dumbbells, Bench (optional)

Level: Beginner

Steps:

Starting position

  • Grab a dumbbell in both hands and sit on a bench. Put the dumbbells on your knees.
  • Using your knees, push the dumbbells up one at a time. Tuck your elbows on your sides and place the dumbbells in front of your shoulders. Ensure your elbows are below your wrists and your arms are parallel to each other.

Procedure

  • Breath out as you lift the dumbbells over your head. Ensure your arms are extended fully.
  • Breathe in and lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  • Repeat until you get the desired number of reps.

Tips:

  • Ensure your back and neck are in a neutral position.
  • Avoid locking your elbows out. Instead, keep them to your sides. Keeping your elbows to your sides applies less tension to your shoulder joints. This shoulder press variation is more convenient for anyone who has experienced shoulder pain before.
  • Sit on a bench to keep your body in a stationary position to avoid cheating.

MUSCLES WORKED BY NEUTRAL GRIP SHOULDER PRESS

The neutral grip shoulder press grows the shoulder, upper torso, and triceps significantly. Depending on the angling, type of grip used, and some characteristics of the posterior and anterior, the emphasis point of the shoulder can be isolated.  Some of the muscles worked by this exercise include:

  • The anterior and medial deltoids
  • Upper torso
  • Traps
  • Triceps

BENEFITS OF NEUTRAL GRIP SHOULDER PRESS

IMPROVED MUSCLE MASS

Neutral grip shoulder pressing is a good way of improving muscle activation and building hypertrophy.

The dumbbells engage many muscle fibers and improve motion coordination along with other independent training benefits.

JOINT AND MOVEMENT INTEGRITY

When you correctly perform the neutral grip shoulder press with either dumbbells or one at the same time, you improve your joint and movement integrity immensely.

In the process, you will be training your body to increase motion coordination without relying on return means in case one shoulder is more mobile than the other.

STRONGER UPPER BODY MUSCLES

The neutral grip shoulder press targets the anterior, medial, and posterior deltoids but mainly focuses on the anterior and medial deltoids.

These muscles are engaged in daily activities like lifting boxes or putting on a t-shirt. Building your shoulder strength contributes to making your daily activities much easier.

CORE STABILITY

Every time you lift anything over your head, your core muscles work together to give you back stability.

Be sure to tuck your tailbone and press your lower back behind when performing this drill to achieve the most core benefits from your shoulder presses.

MUSCLE SYMMETRY

You may have one arm that is usually more dominant than the other.

Such muscle imbalances can result in poor posture over time, especially if your workout routine does not have many single side drills.

When you perform this drill, the dumbbell presses put weight on the arms separately to even out the imbalances.

ALTERNATIVES TO NEUTRAL GRIP SHOULDER PRESS

STANDING NEUTRAL DUMBBELL PRESS

Skill level: Beginner.

Steps:

  • Stand and secure your feet strongly on the ground and hold a dumbbell in both hands.
  • Hold the dumbbells on your sides. Make sure your forearms are straight and facing each other. Move your arms slightly in front of you and engage your core.
  • Breathe out as you push the dumbbells up towards each other.
  • Pull the weights back down to the starting position and be sure to control the motion.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING NEUTRAL GRIP SHOULDER PRESS.

WRONG ELBOW POSITIONING

This is one mistake that most beginners tend to make. You may have a habit of racking the barbell frontwards, holding it high up on your chest with your upper arm straight.

You don’t want your elbows to stick out hen performing this exercise. If you notice your elbows are facing straight ahead or to the outside directly, you will be straining your shoulder joints.

Ensure your elbow point out at a 30-degree angle from your side. Doing so will minimize injury probability and get you the best results.

BENDING YOUR LOWER BACK

If you don’t usually do overhead presses, you may often lean back and over arch your lower back.

If you have weak shoulders, your chest muscles tend to overwork to incapacitate the weight of the lift, consequently causing you to arch your back.

Poor overhead motion range also causes you to arch your back since it will be taking more of the load.

Before you do an overhead press, ensure you engage your abdominal muscles to avoid bending your lower back too much.

DITCHING YOUR WARM-UP

Your normal posture when you sit in a chair for long hours flexes your spine because you will be tilting your shoulders forward.

Warming up before the exercise will help you get the most out of your workout.

Take your time to warm up and stretch your shoulders back to prime your muscles and lose any tightness there may be. Doing this will smoothen your presses and free up your motion range.

CONCLUSION

The neutral grip shoulder press involves pushing weight straight overhead. This drill mainly works the deltoid muscles as well as the upper back and triceps.

It is a versatile exercise and can be performed by anyone. Remember to keep your shoulder blades back and down and use the grips that feel comfortable for you.

The neutral grip shoulder press is a great drill to start from. Consistency is key for this exercise. You will witness the best results in due time.

All the best!