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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!





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