Proper Neck Position During The Overhead Press

This is the last barbell tip by @barbellrehab, who wants to remind you to avoid an excessive forward head posture during the press. We want to add that it’s just as important to avoid excessive cervical spine extension when performing deadlifts or squats! It’s okay to look up (or down) with your eyes, but avoid cranking that neck all the way back! In the physical therapy world, we deal with the issue of forward head posture on a daily basis. Due to a multitude of reasons including weak deep neck flexors and tight/short levator scapulae, forward head posture can lead to issues such as tension headaches and even shoulder pain. Why is it that we typically allow forward head posture during the overhead press?...We shouldn’t! During the overhead press, the bar is lifted from a shelf created by the anterior deltoids to a locked out position overhead. A common cue coaches may use to finish the press includes “push you head under the bar.” While this intent may be good, many lifters will overcompensate and go into TOO MUCH neck protraction and essentially end range forward head posture! If sitting at a desk with forward head posture is frowned upon, lifting a heavy bar overhead with this technique should be too! As you can see in the video, the first three reps are performed with excessive neck protraction (the wrong way) while the final three reps are performed with better technique utilizing a neutral to slightly protracted cervical spine. Excessive forward head protraction during the overhead press is usually a compensation for lack of mobility elsewhere, such as the shoulder or thoracic spine. Improve mobility in those areas and ensure to finish this movement with a NEUTRAL to slightly protracted cervical spine to maximize performance and reduce the risk of injury.
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