Neutral Grip VS Pronated Shoulder Press

Working out your shoulders is very important as they are connected to so many body parts so when you keep them strong it helps against future injuries. I have personally had many issues with my shoulders over the years included separated, dislocated, rotator cuff, AC separations among many other injuries. It wasn't until I started taking my shoulder workouts very serious that I started having much better results and less injuries throughout my workouts and fitness goals.

We will be going through many different scenarios where you should use a Neutral Grip VS A Pronated Grip for shoulder press. Also have gone out and asked many weightlifters what they prefer and when to use it as well that data can be found below too.

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prorated and neutral grip

Is Neutral Grip Shoulder Press Better?

Neutral grip shoulder press is better for when you have a more tender shoulder like you would get from past injuries. With the neutral grip after recovering from shoulder most shoulder injuries you can get back to working out fulltime by implementing Neutral Grips to exercises like the Shoulder press.

How Do You Do A Neutral Grip On Shoulder Press?

The great thing about shoulder presses is you can do them sitting or standing so whatever is most comfortable for you start there. I used to work in an office all day long so when I went to the gym any exercise I could do standing I did it that way. I suggest you do the same as it will help strengthen your core as well.

The only difference between a regular pronated grip and neutral is the neutral grip is more relaxed. You have your fingers facing toward your ears then push straight up over your head until you almost lockout your elbows.

Keep your arms parallel with your torso so you aren't putting any extra pressure on your back especially when standing up. After you have reached the peak over your head pause for a second and bring back to down to the starting position.

neutral grip shoulder press

Neutral Grip Better For Shoulders

Neutral grip isn't exactly better for the shoulders it can just be easier on the shoulders if you have a past injury or aren't mobile. It won't fix your injury or increase your mobility these are issues you should continue to work on.

Come up with a stretching plan that is just as important if not more important then a strength training plan. It becomes more important as you age into your 30's and beyond. The older you get the more you should stretch and the younger it will keep your joints and muscles while increasing the speed of recovery.

Neutral Grip Shoulder Press Muscles Worked

The seated or standing neutral grip will work the same muscles overall except your core will be more engaged for the standing exercise. The main muscle groups hit are the anterior head of the deltoid and also the lateral head as well.

How Do You Do A Pronated Grip On Shoulder Press?

The easiest way to get your pronated grip down while working out at a gym is to go to a pronated shoulder press machine. Most machines you can do both the neutral and pronated grips. This is a great place to start with lighter weight then increase eventually you do want to be doing dumbbell shoulder presses because they are much more natural and you will see increased results.

For neutral your finger tips will be facing your ears, but for pronated your finger tips will be facing forward in front of you. You push the weight over your head keeping your arms parallel with your torso. Once you reach the peak over your head pause and bring back down to the starting position.

pronated shoulder press

Pronated Grip Better For Shoulders

Pronated can be worse for shoulders in that if you have an injury it may aggravate it much more leading to further injury. If you aren't lifting pain free then you should look into the neutral grip shoulder press. Pronated is a great workout and hits a few more muscles in the shoulders than the neutral.

Pronated Grip Shoulder Press Muscles Worked

The pronated as stated worked a bit more muscles then the neutral grip. Some of those muscles include Deltoids, tricpes, traps, and upper chest.

Neutral or Pronated Benefits Of Both

So we didn't want you to only take our answers for these two different grips. We went and scoured the internet for real weightlifters opinions on this matter going to forums, websites and facebook groups to get the real responses you want. None of this information has been changed except any spelling or grammar where needed since it was curated.

Real Weightlifter Opinions

1. Rob_SC “Focus on pain free” – Imo the difference is minor. I wouldn't worry too much about it. The most important thing is that you can press pain-free and make progress.

2. TheTreece “Neutral grip is where it is at” – You can get plenty big lats and chest with neutral grip. People can typically get more ROM with neutral grip dumbbell bench anyhow. I'm unaware of any reason why you would get less hypertrophy from a neutral grip than a prone grip.

3. Anchor1724 “It can be emphasis on certain muscles” – I would think that because the elbow is more externally rotated when going neutral that it puts more focus on the triceps and less focus on the side Delt during shoulder presses and a bit less chest involvement during horizontal presses. But honestly it’s not big deal

4. WannaSeeTrustIssues “Bigger issue make sure you push and pull” – Shoulder pain can be causes by poor mobility and muscle-imbalance. I experienced bad shoulder pain before i started doing a thorough warmup with mobility work and a backpump. Basically i would warm up the full range of motion of my shoulders with a small plate and get a lat pump with one-armed lat-pulldowns or one-armed rows along with some face pulls. Worked wonders for me and ive started doing the antagonistic movement in the same plane of motion before Any pressing so basically i would take the bar of the rack and do bent over rows with the same weight and reps as the benchpress i would do right after and pull-ups/weighted chins before Any OHP. Might help you out. I basically found out that i had neglected my back versus my front and started doing two pulls for every press so i would often do more rows after finishing my sets of presses.

In terms of neutral versus regular, No. It doesnt matter. In fact if it makes your pressing more comfortable and painfree, keep at it. It only matters if you want to do a powerlifting meet as the main lifts require some skill that needs to be practiced and a comp bench has specific rules that needs to be followed. I would encourage you to experiment and see what works for you and work mobility and maybe to bring up your back as getting those big lats are an important part of that aesthetic v-taper thats so often the goal.

5. TrumpIsAKantian “Try a Neutral Grip Bar As Well” – There are specialty bars that allow you to press overhead with your hands in a neutral position (facing each other)

6. Putraenus_Alivius “Pronated all the way” – In general, going supinated is doing more external rotation with pushing exercises, and people often do way more pushing exercises with internal rotation so it would be nice to include more external rotation.

But in regards to OHPs it won't even matter since you're externally rotating anyway with either grip. If you track the bar path and shoulder movement it moves backwards so it's still external rotation. I guess you'd get a better stretch, but in my opinion you don't have to go supinated all the way—you could do Arnold Presses where you supinate on the way down and pronate on the way up, or just going neutral.

One of the only exercises where going supinated would be great would be the bench press in my opinion, but even then it's going to be awkward on your body.

If you want to do it, you could try it out with lighter weights and see if it's good for you. But in my opinion, I would NOT advise you to do it. Going neutral with maybe like a Swiss bar is good enough.

7. Lifter1785 “Try reverse or Arnold presses” – Have you tried Reverse Grip Shoulder Press? Try them seated, makes it easier to concentrate on the shoulders without having to worry about core stabilization. But others have already recommended some good replacements. Arnold presses always felt way better on my shoulders than normal presses. Just my experience


Definitely try both and even the reverse grip or Arnold press. There is a reason why Arnold came up with the exercise and it has been around for so long. It works and will take a lot of that grind and hurt feeling from injured shoulders. The difference doesn't mean a lot as most responses said it is more about a pain free workout. This will lead to better results anyway because you will push harder and you will come back to put the work in time and time again.




Tab Winner

We are fun loving family that lives on a small farm and tries to be healthy. We are not fitness fanatics we are just trying to keep things simple especially with how busy our lives are. We have a few horses, a few dogs, and a young daughter along with a big extended family. Follow us on our journey. I hope you enjoy the website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Please check back for updates!

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