A shoulder press done behind the head doesn't have any added benefits from a regular shoulder press, only increased risk," says Rick Richey, a master instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine and owner of R2Fitness in New York City. Even for people with optimal range of motion, the behind-the-head shoulder press puts the shoulder joint at a highly disadvantageous and dangerous position that locks down joints at the sternum, collarbone, and shoulder blades and inhibits arm movement, he adds.
To do standard dumbbell shoulder presses (pictured), stand holding a pair dumbbells, engage abs, and curl weights in front of shoulders. Extend arms overhead, keeping dumbbells slightly in front of head, rotating palms outward. Bend arms and return to start.
In addition to shoulder presses that avoid going behind the head, I also recommend scaption exercises since they create minimal pain or trauma and allow for greater range of motion under resistance, Richey says.