Shoulder presses or military presses are one of the most popular exercises for your deltoids. They're also one of the most effective! After all, they push your anterior and lateral deltoids hard, and you can even work the posterior deltoids by doing a "Behind the Neck Press". But if you don't have a full range of motion in your arms and shoulders, other muscles end up compensating for the work. Your lower back ends up taking A LOT of the stress of the exercise. Your upper back engages to do the press, but your lower back has to support the weight of your upper body and the barbell you're pressing because your shoulders can't do the job alone. How can you tell if your range of motion isn't enough to do shoulder presses properly? Here's a simple test: Extend your arms directly over your head. Hold the position, and study your body in the mirror.
- Does your lower back arch when your arms are fully extended?
- Are your elbows bent?
- Are your shoulders rolled forward?