Smith Machine Behind the Neck Press Exercise Guide & Video

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Smith Machine Behind the Neck Press

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Step 1. Take the bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width and remove it from the rack. (Using a spotter is recommended for this exercise)

Step 2. Lower the weight behind your head until your elbows are perpendicular. Any further in the movement and the risk of injury to the shoulder increases greatly.

Step 3. Press the weight back up exhaling as you go. When finished with your repetitions re-rack the weight.


The smith machine behind the neck press is a size and strength building deltoid exercise. By performing this exercise behind the neck, the deltoid is more isolated than if the press was performed in front of the neck. The disadvantage to performing the press behind the neck is that you can not achieve the same deep stretch as if the exercise was performed in front of the neck. This exercise can be a tough exercise to feel comfortable with. First, it can be tough to unhook the weight from the bar while reaching behind your head. While the smith machine is usually used in place of a spotter, one can be helpful when unhooking and rehooking the weight. Second, because the weight is on a track, this strict motion may cause shoulder pain for those who are not as flexible in their shoulders.

Smith Machine Behind the Neck Press 4
Smith Machine Behind the Neck Press 3

Updated: March 30th, 2015