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  1. #1
    Registered User beq1991's Avatar
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    Bad idea to do seated Smith machine shoulder press while my back heals?

    I am following a routine that has the standing barbell overhead press as a staple of the upper-body routine. The person who created this routine said to not swap it out unless you're going to do the seated DB overhead press. I've been dealing with periodic lower back issues lately and am trying to work through the pain as it gets better. I noticed that I don't have any issues with upper-body exercises except for the bent over row and possibly the barbell overhead press. I was considering playing it safe and doing the Smith machine shoulder press instead of the standing overhead barbell press for the time being. Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    HeMB's Avatar
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    "possibly the barbell overhead press."

    Do you really feel it aggravates your back? Or just thinking?
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    Registered User beq1991's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    "possibly the barbell overhead press."

    Do you really feel it aggravates your back? Or just thinking?
    I have nothing to prove it and have never thrown out my back after doing the standing overhead press, but I've read in several places that lifting weight over your head without anything supporting the back is not good when you're experiencing back pain. I've already eliminated the conventional deadlift and back squat from my routine because they were definitely triggers for the back pain.
    Last edited by beq1991; 10-11-2019 at 08:10 AM.
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  4. #4
    HeMB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by beq1991 View Post
    I have nothing to prove it and have never thrown out my back after doing the standing overhead press, but I've read in several places that lifting weight over your head without anything supporting the back is not good when you're experiencing back pain.
    Firstly, seated actually puts more compressive forces on the spine than standing.

    Moreover, doing it stading you can brace core and especially glutes/quads way more effective than in the seated position. Which means more support.

    And if you want any support from the bench while seating, you have to slightly lean back which turns into a high incline...

    So from that perspective, I'd say stading is better, but do what you wanna do and YMMV.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    I would wait until the back issue is totally healed myself.
    As mentioned above^^^ there are compression forces that still could effect your issue even if you don't feel it.
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    Registered User DCSpartan's Avatar
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    you are probably using poor form. You need to be tight in the OHP. Squeeze the hell out of your glutes and brace your abs (even using a belt if that helps).
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    Registered User melpa64's Avatar
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    You sound similar to me, I have had on and off lower back issues myself, the good news is you dont have to go super heavy for OHP for shoulder growth, remember benching will grow your shoulders as well, there are actually a lot of people that only do bench pressing and lateral raises instead of OHP and have great shoulders.

    I do medium weight dumbbell overhead press standing for about 8-10 reps and my back seems okay with that but am wondering whether lateral raises paired with heavy benching is the way to go ..
    Last edited by melpa64; 10-12-2019 at 08:52 AM.
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  8. #8
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    I like the Smith for many things however with a compromised back I'd probably stay away. Use dumbells and do it unilaterally as it's easier to position yourself more comfortably with proper angles plus you're only putting half the weight overhead.
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    HeMB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    I like the Smith for many things however with a compromised back I'd probably stay away. Use dumbells and do it unilaterally as it's easier to position yourself more comfortably with proper angles plus you're only putting half the weight overhead.
    A good point.

    However still I' d say it depends - e.g. although unilateral press needs less weight but now we have some inevitable lateral flexion as a result of not equal loading; and my back does not tolerate this as much as bb OHP, funny enough.
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  10. #10
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    A good point.

    However still I' d say it depends - e.g. although unilateral press needs less weight but now we have some inevitable lateral flexion as a result of not equal loading; and my back does not tolerate this as much as bb OHP, funny enough.
    Then you need to do what feels right to you, personally. What's good for someone else may not be good for you so it's an individual matter
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  11. #11
    HeMB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    Then you need to do what feels right to you, personally. What's good for someone else may not be good for you so it's an individual matter
    Yeah, that's the most important thing - to try something yourself
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