Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 40

Your shoulders are too important to fall prey to shoddy technique, especially with the behind-the-neck press. Time for a form check!

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The behind-the-neck barbell press doesn't get the love it did in Arnold's heyday, as a number of trainers have decided it is either dangerous or not as effective as the barbell military press. Arnold, on the other hand, considered this movement an "old standby" and said it has remained one of his favorite shoulder movements throughout his competitive years.

So is this simply a case where Arnold's freaky strength and athleticism allow him to do what others can't? Not necessarily. Arnold knew that this movement worked best, and most safely, when performed in the strictest manner possible. No cheating here! Approach it with care, even at light weights, and do what is necessary to keep form tight.

For Arnold, this often meant performing the lift seated on an incline bench rather than standing, "since it makes the movement stricter," he wrote in "The Encyclopedia." He added in "The Education of a Bodybuilder" that "presses behind the neck should be done in front of a mirror, so you can correct yourself."

From this basis, simply take a medium-wide grip, keep the bar straight throughout the movement, and use a full range of motion, letting the bar come all the way down and pressing it all the way to lockout. Do it right, and you may find this to be as great an all-around shoulder developer as Arnold did.

Shoulders, Arms and Abs
Standing Barbell Press Behind Neck Standing Barbell Press Behind Neck


Arnold Dumbbell Press

5 sets of 8 reps
Arnold Dumbbell Press Arnold Dumbbell Press

Side Lateral Raise

5 sets of 8 reps
Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise

Standing Dumbbell Upright Row Standing Dumbbell Upright Row
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise


Barbell Curl

5 sets of 8 reps then 3 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Curl Barbell Curl


Concentration Curls

5 sets of 6 reps
Concentration Curls Concentration Curls

Seated Dumbbell Curl

5 sets of 6 reps
Seated Dumbbell Curl Seated Dumbbell Curl

Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
1-10 method: After 1-2 warm-up sets, choose a weight that you're only able to lift for 1 rep. After you perform that 1 rep, take just enough weight off to perform 2 reps. From there, do the same for 3 reps and 4 reps, going all the way up to 10 reps. This is brutal because you take no rest between sets. The only rest you get is when you're unloading the weights. I loved this technique, and it's a total shock to the muscle.


EZ-Bar Skullcrusher

5 sets of 15 reps
EZ-Bar Skullcrusher EZ-Bar Skullcrusher
Dumbbell One-Arm Triceps Extension Dumbbell One-Arm Triceps Extension

Palms-Up Barbell Wrist Curl Over A Bench Palms-Up Barbell Wrist Curl Over A Bench
Palms-Down Wrist Curl Over A Bench Palms-Down Wrist Curl Over A Bench

Sit-Up Sit-Up

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