Shoulder Overhead Press - Muscles Involve

Shoulder Overhead Press - Muscles Involve

Raising the arm to the side (shoulder-joint abduction) during the shoulder overhead press - as in the behind neck press - involves the middle deltoid and supraspinatus, the latter a relatively small rotator cuff muscle. The main action of the supraspinatus is to raise the arm from alongside the body to the level and overhead position, then to pull the humerus (upper arm bone) up into the shoulder joint. If this muscle is weak, the humerus may become depressed, especially if the pull of the latissimus dorsi - which pulls the arm down - is very strong. When the humerus isn't fully rotated in the shoulder joint, it can create problems when raising the arm.

As the supraspinatus and deltoid contract to raise the arm, the scapula rotates upward via contraction of the upper and lower portions of the trapezius and the serratus anterior. The serratus anterior pulls the lower outer border of the scapula forward (sliding it around the ribcage and out to the sides). The upper trapezius pulls the top of the scapula inward; the lower trapezius pulls the inner border of the scapula downward. As a result of these three forces, the scapula rotates around an axis through its center. Synchronization of these muscles in rotating the scapula, together with synchronized action of the deltoid and supraspinatus in raising the arm, is critical for safe, full range shoulder overhead press movements. 

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