This instagram post shows cyclist Robert Förstemann doing deep behind-the-neck presses (touching but not resting on the traps) with a wide grip, about the grip I would use for a back squat (but narrower than a snatch grip). The elbow joint is making a 90 degree angle at the point the upper arms are parallel to the floor.

I really like doing these deep, slow, controlled behind-the-neck presses touching but not resting on the traps. I used to have some shoulder pain doing heavy overhead pressing but after a couple months of behind the neck pressing like this (starting with low weight of course), I've never again had any shoulder pain doing heavy overhead presses of any type. But I've never seen anybody on YouTube or Instagram except Förstemann doing this kind of behind-the-neck press.

  • 2
    I'd recommend you watch this video before continuing to do behind-the-neck presses
    – Frank
    Jun 23, 2018 at 8:12
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    People who do behind-the-neck presses are just demonstrating their lack of knowledge of the anatomy around the shoulders. This is possibly why you aren't seeing too many people do it.
    – Alec
    Jun 23, 2018 at 11:26
  • Klokov does deep snatch grip behind-the-neck presses. I believe he started doing them after a should injury to help recover from it.
    – J. Heller
    Jun 23, 2018 at 16:02
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    Klokov has also said that he doesn't intend to avoid long-term injury. He wants to perform the best he can given the time he has. It was pretty harrowing stuff, to be honest. I can't remember where he said it. I think it was on one of Bradley Martyn's videos, where he visited that guy's gym.
    – Alec
    Jun 23, 2018 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


Here is a partial answer describing what I know.

Olympic weightlifters do BTN presses similar to this. This video from an "olympic weightlifting exercise library" shows a lifter using a "squat width" grip for deep BTN presses. Former world champion Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov can be seen using a snatch grip for deep BTN presses in this video. US Olympic weightlifter Donny Shankle does 5 reps with 345 pounds of deep BTN push presses with "squat grip" in this video.

Strength coach Chris Wilson from Critical Bench does slow and controlled BTN presses with a pause at the bottom (almost touching the traps) using a "squat grip" in this video. There are a few "commentators" on this video stating that they have used this style of BTN pressing for rehabbing or "prehabbing" shoulder injuries.

The fitness experts producing the YouTube channel Mind Pump TV discuss the BTN press in this video. They use the exact same technique that Förstemann is using in his Instagram video. They mention that they were influenced by seeing Mariusz Pudzianowski (5 time World's Strongest Man champion) doing deep BTN push presses with a "squat grip".

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