When safety's the name of the game, positioning is everything. If
you've got a history of shoulder issues, or your skeletal build
doesn't allow you to perform classic shoulder movements like
overhead presses and lateral raises without pain, then it's a good
idea to change your setup by shifting your hand and arm position.
The proper anatomical position for shoulder work is with the
shoulders pulled back and the palms facing forward. (Think of
opening a trench coat to show off the goods—your shoulders pull back
and your palms face forward.) With this in mind, the safest position
for our shoulders is actually the farthest away from the internally
rotated position people typically establish when doing the shoulder
press, upright row, and lateral raise.
To achieve a safe and stable overhead press position, use dumbbells
instead of a barbell, and lift with a neutral grip. Reverse flyes
can also be done with a neutral grip so the thumbs point up at the
top of the lift. These changes roll the head of the humerus behind
the clavicle where it belongs and isolate the deltoids without as
much stress or abrasion to the rotator cuff structures.
Shoulder instability is also solved by attacking the upper back for
increased strength and size. This helps stabilize the shoulders and
tightens the scapular muscles to alleviate pressing problems. Try
this workout to improve your own pressing power!