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Arched back with Shoulder Press

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Devoted17
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2011/04/05 19:55:11 (permalink)
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Arched back with Shoulder Press

Hi all,
Brought the shoulder press into my routine last week, i started with 10kg in each arm (which lets be honest isnt a massive starting amount) and my back just arched as i finished the movment at the top, i then went down and down ending up with 4kg in each hand but just could not keep my back straight i don't understand I just seem not to be able to get the movement and form correct without my back beginning to arch and i just have to stop, i think i got one set right but i was tensing my abs so much i could barely breathe throughout and so i just counted that as failure as well... I really need help any tips or advice or a replacment free weight lift would be great as I'm not sure if i agree with this at all.
All the weights were easily enough to lift and i didnt FEEL the need to put my back into it it yet it did, really pretty confused as I used to do this excersise time after time about 2 years ago without an arch in my back.. Really looking for some help!!
 
Thanks, Dev.
 
EDIT: sorry these are SEATED shoulder presses.
post edited by Devoted17 - 2011/04/05 20:03:10
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18 Replies Related Threads

    sharpy_18
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/05 20:08:26 (permalink)
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    hi mate
    you see a lot of people woth this problem! the reason you have an arched back is due to your core (not just your abs but lower back region aswell) not being strong enough. As you said in your post that you were tensing your abs in one set and your back was fine, this is the feeling you need in each of your sets. Maybe not tensing so hard it hurts but you need to feel a slight tense. Look at strengthening your core before going on to lift anything heavy because it can cause long term damage!
     
    hope this helps
     
     

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    #2
    GT_PT
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/05 20:49:59 (permalink)
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    Does the seat you're using have a back rest or are you sitting on a flat bench?
     
    If the first is the case then really push your lower back into the bench and brace, for both learn to switch on your Transverse abs (front) and Multifidus (crossing each vertebrae in your spine).  You know how to contract your abs as you've said, but switching the back on is slightly hardewr if your 'core' is weak.  Try placing two fingers either side of your most prominent vertebrae around your lower back region and see if you can fire the muscles up in the same way you do with your abs.
     
    If you cant get someone else to do it for you so that you can feel where abouts it should be, and they should feel a little pulse when engaging.  If oyu have problems doing this then it may be back to basics.
     
    Cheers
    GT

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    #3
    infidel
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/05 21:28:53 (permalink)
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    you are over thinking this.
    it really, really does not matter if you arch your back.
    the target muscles will still get hit.
    albert beccles had some  of the finest shoulders the world has seen, and he arched his back to a startling degree.
     
    or are you planning to be the next mr. olympia?
    if not, stop worrying.
     
    #4
    SecondRow
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/05 22:23:11 (permalink)
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    I arch my back.

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    Rachfit
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/05 22:23:37 (permalink)
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    There is never a safe way to lift overhead with an arched back due to the excessive loading of the facet joints in the spine. The joints protect the discs and if loaded like this repetatively, over time you will have a much higher risk of disc damage.
    So you are right ot question it and as GT_PT has suggested it maybe that you need to regress for a period of time until you have the capacity to fire the core as neceesary for this lift

    "If you cant explain it simply, you dont understand it well enough" Albert Einstein
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    #6
    Bertstare
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/05 22:47:28 (permalink)
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    I'm having a similar problem with the standing military press.
     Iv been doing this lift for a while, always with my feet together from day 1 I thought that it would help strengthen the core so that when I got to heavier weights my lower back would be able to handle it.
     Now I'm repping with 65kg, my back arches terribly towards the end of a set, its not quite a "standing chest press" as you see some guys doing, but its still enough to worry me.
    I might start doing them seated, in the smith machine, seems like the only way for me to do this lift safely and with significant weight .
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    Devoted17
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/05 23:52:36 (permalink)
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    Thanks for all the replys everyone! On my next shoulder sesh going too try a few different things out might try a military press on a stan smith see if thats any different... But I have already been doing it with a bench upright so just going to have to try a few different things plus get my core strengthened! Thanks, Dev.
    post edited by Devoted17 - 2011/04/05 23:54:27
    #8
    selector
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/06 20:52:22 (permalink)
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    I have been arching my back on this exercise for the last 7 years and find it far more comfortable.  To be honest, once you start shifting some serious weight (I only use 32-34 kg per arm), Its actually near impossbile not to slightly arch (if you are truly seated upright, not on a very high incline).  I would worry more about dropping the weight if I was not arching my back.

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    Rachfit
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/06 22:00:02 (permalink)
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    Having done 25 years of research into the effects of spinal alignment during exercise and what can happen if you over load the facet joints we have some interesting evidence that proves  that compressive loads on the spine from lifting are pretty damaging if you move out of 'neutral' alignment. i.e. arch the back during over head lifting. 
    If you read some of Stuart McGills work he also has researched into this subject. His latest book 'Ultimate back fitness and performance' is a good read.
    You are very lucky Sel (up to now) if you are injury free and with no aches and pains at all while lifting with an arched back mate :)

    "If you cant explain it simply, you dont understand it well enough" Albert Einstein
    Rach
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    Rachfit
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/06 22:01:39 (permalink)
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    Having done 25 years of research into the effects of spinal alignment during exercise and what can happen if you over load the facet joints we have some interesting evidence that proves  that compressive loads on the spine from lifting are pretty damaging if you move out of 'neutral' alignment. i.e. arch the back during over head lifting. 
    If you read some of Stuart McGills work he also has researched into this subject. His latest book 'Ultimate back fitness and performance' is a good read.
    You are very lucky Sel (up to now) if you are injury free and with no aches and pains at all while lifting with an arched back mate :)

    "If you cant explain it simply, you dont understand it well enough" Albert Einstein
    Rach
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    Big Fat Chris
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/06 22:10:08 (permalink)
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    Tight hip flexors and lats are a likely cause. These, in turn, inhibit your ability to fire core stabilisers.
     
    Google hip flexor stretching, overhead lat stretching and 4 point vacuums to begin with.
     
    The 4 point position has the hips pre flexed allowing you to learn to engage abs and as your hip flexors and lats lengthen then it'll become possible in the hips extended position too.
     
    As ever, this is pretty much educated guessing and competent hands-on assistance would be best, the challenge is in finding it.
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    SecondRow
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/06 22:11:58 (permalink)
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    I'm not trying to pick a fight honest Rach :) but I do kind of agree with selector; I shift a decent amount of weight overhead, and with seated dumbells I would find it very difficult not to arch my back. That might be down to me not having the flexibility to get my arms back that far, I'm not sure.

    Also, with a barbell standing press, unless you have no chin how do you not clatter yourself in the jaw unless you arch your back at least a little bit??

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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/06 22:18:34 (permalink)
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    SecondRow

    I'm not trying to pick a fight honest Rach :) but I do kind of agree with selector; I shift a decent amount of weight overhead, and with seated dumbells I would find it very difficult not to arch my back. That might be down to me not having the flexibility to get my arms back that far, I'm not sure.

    Also, with a barbell standing press, unless you have no chin how do you not clatter yourself in the jaw unless you arch your back at least a little bit??


    haha all respect to you secondrow and I appreciate the comment mate.
    If you guys are having success with this move while arching your backs then who am I to tell you not to? We are all entitled to our own opinions and what works for us is fine. I am happy to share my expriences with yours and I am always open to a friendly debate!
    The body is very complex and we are all so very different that what is good for one is not necessarily right for another.
    When I post, I post from my own research and experience and with safety of the OP in mind but if you have opposing input that is fine by me and the OP can choose to heed which ever advice he feels is best for him/her.
     
    May I ask secondrow and selector if you have ever had any injuries or if you suffer  any recurring problems at all just out of interest?

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    SecondRow
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/06 22:24:45 (permalink)
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    Touch wood my back's been fine, I've had many a niggle in my time but that's been A-OK. Now watch me slip a disc tomorrow night...
     
    I do definitely feel pressure in my spine though, I won't deny that, and it makes sense that it wouldn't be good for you to arch your spine whilst putting it under load - I have tried to pull my back into the seat more but I can't really get the weight up overhead without coming forward in the seat. As I said perhaps it's a flexibility issue, or maybe a weakness in whatever muscle keeps the weight from coming forward?

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    Big Fat Chris
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/06 22:41:46 (permalink)
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    To answer your question SR, to miss your chin OH pressing  a bar you can fully extend your hips (with sufficient and generally lacking hip flexor flexibility) and if your abs and deep core muscles are strong enough you can keep the distance between the front of the pelvis and the bottom or the ribcage constant and therefore the spine 'neutral'. The core remains a unit. As you press past your head the hips can flex a touch back to their 'normal' position.
     
    As I said earlier, often a hip flexibiltiy and core stability inter related issue.
     
    Chris
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    SecondRow
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/06 22:46:42 (permalink)
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    Sounds about right, I shall look into it..

    Current training: 6-day split
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    Current stats:
    Height : 192cm
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    #17
    Rachfit
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/07 22:08:22 (permalink)
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    Hip flexors or psoas attach to the lumbar spine so they are directly related in mechanical terms.
    Over active hip flexor's are very common and can cause reciprocal inhibition with their antagonists - all of this adds to an unstable core. However it is not a 'weak' core that would be the cause (that is the symptom) it is the muscular spasm that is causing the core to not have the capacity to engage as it needs to to stabilise you.
     
    hope that makes sense!?
    p.s. this is just one possibility by the way
    post edited by Rachfit - 2011/04/07 22:09:35

    "If you cant explain it simply, you dont understand it well enough" Albert Einstein
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    Drew Price
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    Re:Arched back with Shoulder Press 2011/04/08 10:27:55 (permalink)
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    SecondRow
    Also, with a barbell standing press, unless you have no chin how do you not clatter yourself in the jaw unless you arch your back at least a little bit??

     
    By doing it right!

    Assuming hands are in a safe position i.e. just outside the shoulders (the safest position and one where you can train heaviest safely all the way through the movement) and your head is the right position - level gaze and no leading chin - as you raise the bar off the top of your chest it will come out slightly - you then lean back slightly to counter this torque BUT not with your lumbar but with your whole body from the heels > legs and torso keeping them rigid and neutral all the time.
     
    This lean is minute though 1/2 cm's at most.
     
    At the end of the day if you're arching your back at the top of the movement you're not achieving an active shoulder and not training the shoulders and importantly the shoulder girdle fully.
    post edited by Drew Price - 2011/04/08 10:28:57
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