by Mike Scialabba

At one point, a good percentage of you have probably dealt with or will probably deal with some sort of shoulder pain. Depending on the shoulder pain, a lot of times you're no longer able to do any barbell pressing, or perhaps even dumbbell pressing! I know what you're thinking, not cool!

So what the hell are you supposed to do to maintain some of your mass in your chest and shoulders, while still allowing yourself to recover from the injury at hand?

Well depending on the shoulder issue, here's one pressing movement you may still be able to perform quite well, and perhaps even see some improvement along the way within your pressing strength and technique.

The Neutral Grip Dumbbell Press

The neutral press is an auxiliary lift to most powerlifters, which they utilize effectively to increase tricep strength and pressing technique. In your case, this could simply prove to be your saving grace when nursing a sore shoulder.

How to do it: The set up

This is where many of you may struggle. You're going to set up like a powerlifter would set up for the bench press, which you should be doing anyways, but I wont go there. However if you want to truly avoid the shoulder pain, this set up will be crucial.

Stand over the bench with your feet grounded tight to the sides of the bench. Sit your hips onto the bench directly above the toes allowing the heels to come off the ground. Lay back onto the bench while hugging it with your hips. Arch your lower back up trying to keep it off the bench, only creating contact to the bench with your hips, upper shoulder blades and traps. Retract your shoulder blades as tight as possible. You'll notice your elbows are almost in your ribs.

For newb's this may create a little muscular pain in your lower back, and feel like you're hip flexors are going to come unattached. Don't worry, this will get better, and it's not going to hurt you, unless you go into a full out back spasm, which can sometimes happen.

The Press

Once you're set up, you'll have your dumbbells gripped tightly into your sides. You'll keep your lower back arched and your shoulder blades tight together throughout the press. You'll press with an arching motion, nearly finishing with the weights directly above the chin. You'll 'pull' the load back down in towards your ribs and fire it off again with the same arching motion.

Feel the movement out for a few weeks with a low load and see if you can pull it off without experiencing the same nagging shoulder pain. If you can, get in there and get after it! It'll keep you pressing while you recover and keep you from throwing out all your hard work!

We found a pretty good example of a The Neutral Grip Dumbbell Press on YouTube (thanks to for the steal) - check it out:



This exclusive article (and others) can be found in the latest Wannabebig Serious About Muscle Newsletter - September 15th, 2010

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