The behind the head military press is an exercise still commonly performed as a better way to isolate the shoulders and reduce pec involvement from a conventional military press. Unfortunately, the BHMT causes a multitude of problems for most lifters, especially those with limited shoulder and thoracic mobility. In other words, this is a shit exercise for about 95% percent of the population because kyphotic posture is so rampant due to sedentary desk jobs.

 Okay smart guy well why is the exercise bad?

 Well, when the barbell is lowered behind the head the shoulders move into an extreme external rotation, placing a boat-load of stress on the joint and rotator cuff muscles. In addition, the neck is flexed to move the head forward to create more room for the bar to pass behind the head, adding to the postural issues most face already with neck muscles.

Why people put their shoulders at an increased risk is beyond me

Although the BHMT does stress the muscles to a great degree, the risk is not worth the reward. If you want beat up shoulders, a damaged rotator cuff, and to further emphasize poor posture this exercise may be for you. If not, never do them again.

 Better Exercise: Perform a standard military press, which you can learn more about here**. This hits the shoulders, upper back, triceps, and core without the increased risk of severe shoulder injuries.

About Eric Bach Performance

Eric Bach is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Precision Nutrition Level 1 (PN1) with a degree in Kinesiology Concentrated in Human Performance and Emphasizing Sports Performance from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. A former collegiate Strength Coach Eric now resides in Denver, Colorado. Eric coaches clients at Forza Fitness and Performance Center and trains everyone from weekend warriors and post rehabilitation patients to professional athletes. Eric developed his passion for fitness through a competitive sports career which included competitive Olympic lifting, Football, Track and Field, and Powerlifting. Eric is a self proclaimed fitness nerd who enjoys reading, eating, deadlifting, and living a healthy and fullfilling life while helping others dominant their lives in and out of the gym. Eric can be contacted at for all consultations and questions

6 responses »

  1. Stopped performing these years ago & so glad I did

  2. bezzymates says:

    Don’t do these anymore. I heard they were nothing but trouble a while ago.

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