Workout Tips

Protect Your Shoulders With Scrape-the-Rack Presses

One small tweak to your overhead press can create a more joint-friendly training session.

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Scrape The Rack Press
Edgar Artiga

The scrape-the-rack press is a very similar move to the standard overhead press—a great exercise for packing on slabs of upper-body mass and building strength. But there’s one main difference: Lifting with the barbell pressed against the rack increases the stability of the movement.

For lifters with a lot of gym miles on them or guys with preexisting shoulder injuries, this means a more joint-friendly lift, as the smaller, more sensitive shoulder muscles aren’t working as hard to stabilize the joint. Also, the positioning recruits different muscle fibers, specifically in the front of your delts. What’s more, the move turns into a plateau buster to boot.

How To Do It:

  1. Begin with the bar against the rack. Choose a weight that will let you focus on pressing up and against the rack at the same time. Go light.
  2. As you press the bar up, drive your elbows forward. This lets you activate your midback.
  3. Lock out the elbows and push the head forward, through "the hole." Then return the bar back to chin level and perform the next rep.
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