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Posted Apr 24 2008 6:00pm
Question #1: "Just wanted to say thanks for the article. My shoulders are my weakest point. I started in the gym 4 months ago, but I'm working them hard and keen to make progress.

"So your article was very interesting for me. Thanks! By the way what do u think of the standing military press for shoulders? I've heard that it's bad for your back, compared to the seated one. I also saw a guy doing behind-the-head seated military press. Is the idea that this one is better for the middle/rear delts, compared to in-front? Cheers"

My Answer: The military press is not inherently bad for your back. I prefer the standing military press as opposed to seated, because the standing version will engage your whole entire body. The problem is that people use crappy form and start overarching their backs. They don't know how to tighten their abs and lats and push the barbell up in a straight line with their torsos. Form and posture are very important for the standing MP. If you don't maintain them, then you'll stress the lower back. Posture is so important for strength and looks, that I devote a whole chapter to it in Strength and Physique V1.

Nevertheless, the standing MP develops far greater "real world strength" than the seated. The seated version teaches you poor form. You can rely on the back support, and in doing so you arch your back. There is also a tendency to relax your abs.

You should ask yourself what your goal is in training. Do you want to develop the look of your shoulders or is it for an athletic reason? If it's for looks, then I wouldn't worry about the MP. It develops the front deltoids, but does absolutely nothing for your lateral or posterior heads. It doesn't matter if you perform with the bar behind your neck. You're better off doing a combination of incline presses and laterals.

Question #2: "I checked your web site. It is great. I love it.

I have another question and hope that it won't bother your time. Can I use this idea (descending sets) for other parts of body like chest, back, arm etc?"

My Answer: Descending sets are great for any body part. It's really the logistics that you have to think about when you do them. In other words, use machines and dumbbell racks, since it allows you to drop weight quickly.
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