Old School Controversial but Effective Exercises

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Controversial but effective Exercises….Old School

Like some hair styles and bad fashion, some exercises go out of style… Let’s get back to the basics with old-school movements and lifts. Every single exercise you perform in the gym has a risk-reward attached to it, and if your goal is to maximize your muscle gains and ensure that remain injury free you must have proper form

Behind the neck pull downs

It’s a good exercise when preformed with proper form, a good squeeze and only with light weights. This exercise is done to work the muscles of the back. Any behind-the-neck moves pull down or press—can overstress the shoulder capsule. It’s not a natural position, but the behind-the-neck position can provide a unique angle of pull on the target muscle fibers for new development.  The problem with the behind-the-neck Pulldowns lies in the external rotation; rotate your arms backward so that your palms are facing up.

It’s basically the opposite movement to internal rotation. To do the behind-the-neck pull down as normally instructed, you must externally rotate your shoulders as much as possible. This is a very delicate position for your shoulders. This is the main reason heavy weights are not advisable. The supporting muscles of the shoulders (known as the rotator cuff) are not in a good position to stabilize the joint and injury to those supporting muscles can result, which can lead to further injury in the connective tissue of the joint.

Since most people do not have enough shoulder flexibility to get a straight line of pull behind the neck, they must bend their neck forward to do this movement; this can result in neck strain on top of shoulder strain. When performing the exercise, keep your back straight, stare fixed forward and abs pulled tight as you steadily pull the bar down behind your neck. When you pull down, do not bend your head forward as this can cause tension in your neck. Stop when the bar is close to the base of your neck and SQUEEZE your shoulder blades together. Hold for a second, slowly raise the bar back up and repeat.

Behind-The-Neck Press

This exercise targets the deltoids, trapezius, serratus anterior and triceps. It has been used and liked by many people over the decades.  It is a favorite among power lifting champions

Again you must use proper form because the exercise has the same shoulder issues associated with the Behind-The-Neck Pulldowns. When performing; the arms are bent, lift the barbell over the head to rest on the shoulders behind the neck. The grip for this exercise is wider, with hands placed approximately 5 to 6 inches to the side of the shoulder for better stability and support. When lifting, you need to tilt your body slightly forward so you don’t bang the bar against the back of your head. Because of the additional strain on the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder joint, start with low weights to determine your strength before moving on to heavier weights.


Train safe, train smart, train for result
joeeuropa2 2007Ifbb Pro Joe Palumbo
IFBB Professional Bodybuilder
Director of Physical Performance Infinite Labs Orlando FL
Certified Trainer
Advance Sports Nutrition Specialist  (ASNS)
Certified Navy Seal Fitness Instructor
Freelance writer: Workouts and Training Techniques, Strength Training and Conditioning, General Fitness, Weight Loss and Nutritional Needs.

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