Neutral Grip Shoulder Press Vs Regular: Explained!

The shoulder press is an excellent choice for increasing upper body strength. But those who are new to shoulder grip often suffer from a dilemma with the grip. It’s common confusion whether to follow a neutral or regular grip for shoulder presses. 

So, neutral grip shoulder press vs regular grip, what’s the difference? 

A regular grip covers more muscle groups than a neutral grip does. But if you have any prior shoulder injury, don’t follow this one. A regular grip is tough on the shoulder joint.  In that case, go for a neutral grip. It’s safer for your shoulder. Although it covers fewer muscle groups. 

With this little information, it must be still confusing. Keep reading the article. I am going to give more details about neutral and regular grip. And other factors regarding shoulder press. 

Neutral Grip Shoulder Press Vs Regular Grip

The shoulder press is a very important exercise for your upper body. It is connected to many muscle groups. Such as your chest muscle, and shoulder muscle. Additionally, it gives arms and upper back support too. 

But, often gym enthusiasts suffer from a dilemma. Which grip is better for shoulder press? Also, Does grip matter for shoulder press?

Actually, that depends on various factors. Let’s discuss both of the grips first. 

Regular Grip For Shoulder Press

Most gym-goers go for a regular grip or pronated grip. Shoulder press machines by default have this grip. Although, most machines will allow you to do both regular and neutral grip. 

In regular grip, your palms face away from you while grabbing the bar. You pick the weight while your palm faces down. You lift the weight by squeezing together your shoulder blades. 

It covers a few more muscles than in a neutral grip. Especially more pressure is created on the shoulders.

Regular grip hits both anterior deltoid and medial deltoid. Deltoids are your shoulder muscles. Additionally, it has some effect on your upper back on the trapezius muscles. 

In regular grip muscle press, your shoulder gets really good shape. It is recommended to keep the range at 8-12 rep. At most, you can go for 15 reps. 

But there’s a catch. Putting this kind of pressure on your shoulder can injure the shoulder joint. Especially If you have any prior shoulder injury, don’t go for this grip. You may actually end up with a serious injury on your shoulder. 

Pros: More muscle coverage. Gives the shoulder a good shape. 

Cons: Tough on your shoulder. Don’t try this if you have a shoulder injury. 

Neutral Grip For Shoulder Press

Do you have a prior shoulder injury or do you tend to hurt your shoulder often? Then the neutral grip is the best for you. 

In a neutral grip, you grab the bar where your palms face each other. And then you lift the weight overhead. When you lift the weight this way, your shoulders and back don’t get pressurized. 

You may ask, is a neutral grip better for shoulders? What is to understand here is, that your shoulder is safe from injury here. 

But It doesn’t give you any benefit in case of recovering old injuries on your shoulder. There are other workouts to recover from shoulder injuries

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It gives your pectorals or chest muscle, and triceps enough emphasis. But your deltoids and trapezius do not get enough focus. So, you don’t get much upper back or shoulder benefit. 

Pros: Safe for the shoulder. Good for people with a shoulder injury

Cons: Less muscle coverage. Doesn’t focus on the shoulder and upper back. 

Shoulder Press Grip Width & Hand Placement

Shoulder Press Grip Width & Hand Placement

Along with which trip you are choosing, the grip width and hand placement are also important. The perfect grip width and hand placement give you the most benefit from the workout. Additionally, it saves you from injuries. 

Shoulder Press Grip Width

You may think, as the bench press, going for a wider grip here will be good. But this isn’t quite right. Rather, you won’t be able to perform the press with full intensity. You may struggle with your lockout and you will be less able to use your triceps.

On the other hand, too narrow a press grip is risky too. There is a danger of internally rotating your shoulders. And you will end up with a shoulder injury. 

Sometimes with all the safety measures, you still will end up getting hurt. And most gym-goers try supplements like mk677 for these injuries. Before taking them, consider the side effects. 

Now let’s move on to grip width again. 

Firstly, The bar and your collarbone should be at the same height. Set the rack accordingly. After that, put your hands on the bar that is slightly outside your shoulders. your hands will be roughly 3-4 inches away from the shoulders.

But you can reposition the width slightly wider or narrower. It’s up to your comfort zone. 

You can under if the grip width is appropriate or not. These are the sign when it’s not appropriate. 

  • You will experience pain in your front shoulder.
  • You won’t feel any tension or pressure on your upper back. So, the workout is not effective.
  • You will feel, that the workout isn’t going strong. You will not feel the need to put in a lot of strength. 

In these cases, you will know, that the grip width isn’t correct. 

Common Mistakes Shoulder Press

The shoulder press is a very effective exercise for your upper body. It covers your chest, shoulders, arms, and upper back. That’s why it’s a very popular workout for most. 

But, people often make some common mistakes while performing shoulder presses. Let’s discuss some of those. 

  • The first and most common mistake is forgetting to warm up before shoulder press. Warm up your body before bench pressing. 
  • Arching your lower back is another common mistake. When you are doing a chest press, Your back must be straight. If you absolutely find it impossible not to arch your back, lower the weight. 
  • Not choosing the right grip and grip width is also a mistake. If you have a shoulder injury, Choose the neutral grip. 
  • Another one is not correctly positioning the elbow. This leads to shoulder instability and injury. You should keep your elbows out to the side at a 30-degree angle.
  • You should not push your head ahead of your shoulder. It can cause neck pain.
  • If you have a prior shoulder injury, don’t shrug your shoulders. Shrugging your shoulder while the chest presses will put pressure on your deltoids. It can be a good exercise for your shoulder if your shoulder is fit. 
  • Ignoring your shoulder pain is another mistake. I am focusing more on the should joint in this article for a reason. Chest press can be hard on your shoulder which can lead to serious complications. So, never ignore if you feel shoulder pain, stop the exercise immediately. 

If you want a safe exercise experience, avoid these mistakes. Also, don’t forget to take a rest from the workout to recover. You can even rest for 2 days in a row sometimes. 

Common Mistakes Shoulder Press


What Are Shoulder Presses Good For?

The shoulder press is an exercise for all of your upper body. It provides intense pressure to your chest and biceps. Additionally, it covers your upper back and shoulders too. So, to strengthen your overall core, a shoulder press is good exercise. 

Are Neutral Grips Harder?

It depends on your arm strength. In a regular grip, your shoulder and chest carry most of the pressure. whereas, in a neutral grip, This pressure leads more to your arms. So, if you have more arm strength, It will be easier for you. But If your arms are not strong enough, a neutral grip is hard. 

How To Do Shoulder Press? 

Stand and grip the bar or dumbbells with your hands facing each other.  Lift the weights up and out to the side until they are level with your shoulders.  Maintain a straight arm position. Pause for a bit. Slowly drop your hand all the way. In a neutral grip, your arms will feel more pressure. 


So, neutral grip shoulder press vs regular, which one did you choose?  Although the choice isn’t very hard. Go for the regular grip if you don’t have any injury on your shoulder. Otherwise the second one. 

Also, don’t forget about the grip width. No matter what grip you choose, always consider the safety issues. Avoid common mistakes. Good luck!

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