Press Behind The Neck
AKA Behind the neck press
The behind the neck press is a variation of the press that can be used in training to assist in the overhead position, mobility and upper back strength.
Secure the bar behind the neck as you would for a back squat with the hands in the jerk-width grip, the feet at approximately hip-width and the toes turned out slightly. Keep the weight balanced on the heels while maintaining full foot contact with the floor and stabilize the trunk with air pressure and strong muscular tension. Drive the bar up aggressively and directly vertically with the arms into a fully locked overhead position as you would in the jerk.
If an athlete can’t press from behind the neck comfortably with proper thoracic spine position and arm movement, this exercise shouldn’t be used until mobility is improved. When performing multiple rep sets of the press, reps after the first can be touch-and-go as long as they remain full range of motion (bar contacts the traps at the start of each rep).
Because the bar and the trunk begin in the same place and orientation respectively that they should be in when the bar is overhead, the bar path should be perfectly vertical and the trunk should remain in the same orientation (inclined forward very slightly).
The press behind the neck serves like the press as basic upper body and overhead strength exercise, but emphasizes upper back strength and mobility more than the press. It can also be used to teach the proper overhead position for the jerk.
Sets of 1-10 reps can be used depending on the timing and the specific need. 6-10 reps will help more with hypertrophy and some strength; 3-5 reps will be generally the most effective for strength work and some hypertrophy; 1-2 reps will usually be used for testing maximum lifts but will also improve strength. For use teaching and reinforcing proper overhead position for the jerk, light weights and 3-5 reps should be used.
The press behind the neck can be performed with a snatch-width grip, known as a snatch press.