Why Do I Feel Overhead Press In The Middle Of My Back? 12 Tips For Rapid Results

L J Kudos
why do i feel overhead press in the middle of my back

Why Do I Feel Overhead Press In The Middle Of My Back? 12 Tips For Rapid Results

The overhead press can be a great exercise to strengthen your shoulders, but for some people, it can also lead to pain in the middle of their back.

It can be frustrating because you can’t quite figure out what’s causing the pain, and it may even put you off the exercise, which would be a massive shame.

But don’t worry, in most cases, the pain isn’t anything serious and can be fixed with a few tweaks to your technique.

If this is you, have no fear – there are ways to fix the problem. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what might be causing your back pain and offer some tips on how to fix it.

Why do I feel overhead press in the middle of my back?

You might feel the overhead press in the middle of your back for a few reasons. The first possibility is that you have weak anterior (front-side) muscles. If your chest and front shoulders are weak, your body will try to compensate by using your mid-back muscles more. This can lead to pain in the middle of your back. The second possibility is that you have an incorrect bar path. When you press the bar overhead, it should move in a straight line. If your bar path is curved, it can put unnecessary stress on your mid-back muscles, which can lead to pain. The third possibility is that you have too much mid-back bend. When you press the bar overhead, your spine should remain neutral. If you have too much mid-back bend, it can put extra stress on your spine and lead to pain. The fourth possibility is that you’re not engaging your glutes. When you press the bar overhead, you should be squeezing your glutes hard. This will help to stabilize your spine and take some of the stress off your back muscles.

Now let’s look more in-depth at some of the reasons why you are feeling the overhead press in the middle of your back and what you can do to rectify the issue.

Too heavy

One of the most common reasons why people feel the overhead press in the middle of their back is because they are using too much weight.

If you are using too much weight, you won’t be able to lift the weight correctly and when this happens your body will try to compensate by utilising other muscles to lift the weight, in this situation, it would be your mid-back muscles. Which will inevitably lead to pain in the middle of your back.

People tend to forget that the bar itself can weigh between 10-20kg, then adding weight can have serious consequences, especially if you are new to this exercise.

Make sure you take the bar weight into account before you start adding the weight plates.

Trying to lift too heavy will not only compromise your form but also puts you at a greater risk of injury, so it’s important to make sure that you are using a weight that you can handle with good form.

To fix this, you need to use a lighter weight, maybe with only the barbell if required and gradually increase the weight as your muscles get stronger, and you improve your form.

Poor form 

If your form is poor when performing the overhead press, you may experience pain in the middle of your back. This is due to a number of reasons.

The overhead press is quite a difficult exercise to master and getting your form correct can be the difference between a great exercise and one that puts unnecessary stress on your body, as there is more to the exercise than simply pressing the bar over your head.

There are quite a few moving parts that all need to work together in order for the exercise to be performed correctly and efficiently.

If you have poor form, it can lead to the bar path being incorrect, your grip width being too wide, your range of motion being restricted, your core being weak, or you having too much mid-back bend.

All of these things can put unnecessary stress on your back muscles and lead to pain in the middle of your back.

why do i feel overhead press in the middle of my back

Grip width

Your grip width plays a big role in how your overhead press will feel.

If your grip is too wide, it can lead to your elbows flaring out to the side, which puts unnecessary stress on your shoulder muscles and can lead to pain in the middle of your back.

Whereas, if it’s too narrow, it can restrict your range of motion and lead to you not being able to press the weight overhead correctly.

To find the perfect grip width, take the barbell and rest it on your shoulders.

From here, bring your elbows out to the side and turn your hands until your palms are facing forward. This is the perfect grip width for the overhead press.

If you find that your elbows are still flaring out to the side, then your grip is too wide and you need to adjust it.

See what works best for you and find a grip width that you feel comfortable with.

Related: Why can’t I do shoulder press?

Restricted range of motion

If you have tight muscles which are restricting your ability to get the full range of motion, then you need to work on mobility and stretching exercises.

Tight muscles will limit your ability to press the weight overhead correctly and can lead to you using poor form, which as we’ve already discussed, can lead to pain in the middle of your back.

You might also have restricted ROM from a previous injury, which can take time to get back to where it was before.

It’s important to work within your range of motion and not try to force the weight overhead if your body isn’t ready for it.

Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the weight as your range of motion improves.

To fix this, you need to improve your mobility and make sure that you are stretching regularly, maybe consider using dumbbells instead of a barbell as they will require less range of motion.

Weak core

There are several reasons why having a weak core can result in pain in your mid-back. Firstly, if your core is weak, it can lead to poor form and an incorrect bar path.

Secondly, a weak core will make it harder to keep a good posture and can lead to you rounding your back, which puts unnecessary stress on your spine and can cause pain.

Thirdly, a weak core can make it difficult to engage your glutes, which are the muscles that you should be using to press the weight overhead.

If your glutes aren’t engaged, then other muscles have to compensate and this can lead to pain in the lower back and middle back.

To fix this, you need to focus on strengthening your core muscles with exercises such as mountain climbers, leg flutters and planks.

You should also make sure that you are engaging your core muscles when you press the weight overhead.

To do this, take a deep breath in and brace your core before you start the lift. This will ensure that your core is engaged throughout the entire exercise.

Incorrect bar path

If you are pressing the weight overhead with incorrect form, then it can lead to pain in your back.

The bar path should be a straight line from your shoulders to overhead. If the bar path is curved or angled, then it puts unnecessary stress on your shoulder and elbow joints, which can lead to pain.

To fix this, you need to make sure that you are pressing the weight in a straight line. Start with a lighter weight and focus on getting the form correct before increasing the weight.

You might also want to try using a shoulder-width grip as this will help to keep the bar path more straight.

Before you lift the bar as it rests by your collarbone, recoil your head back slightly, so the bar has a straight line to follow as it goes up.

Then as you press overhead adjust your head position forward so the bar is in line with your ears. This will help to keep the bar path straight, as well as have a solid and straight spine.

Too much mid-back bend

When you press the weight overhead, you should have a slight arch in your lower back.

However, if you have too much of an arch or you round your back, then it can lead to pain in your mid-back.

This is because it puts unnecessary stress on your spine and can cause the muscles in your back to become overstretched or strained.

This will be more apparent when you are trying to press a heavier weight as your back muscles will be working harder to keep your spine in a neutral position.

To fix this, you need to make sure that you have a slight arch in your lower back when you press the weight overhead.

Once again if you find you are leaning back too far, reduce the weight and focus on getting the form correct before increasing the weight.

why do i feel overhead press in the middle of my back

Not engaging glutes

Another common cause of pain in the mid-back when pressing overhead is not engaging your glutes.

Your glutes are the biggest and strongest muscles in your body, so they should be doing the majority of the work when you press the weight overhead.

However, if you don’t engage your glutes, then other muscles have to compensate, which can lead to pain in the lower back and mid-back.

To fix this, you need to make sure that you are engaging your glutes when you press the weight overhead.

To do this, take a deep breath in and brace your core before you start the lift. This will ensure that your glutes are engaged throughout the entire exercise.

You should also focus on squeezing your glutes at the top of the lift to ensure they are working hard. 

People tend to forget that when doing the overhead press, engaging your entire body is crucial for proper form.

Related: Does my bench press affect my overhead press?

Foot placement

Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and pointing straight ahead when you press the weight overhead, or some people find that a staggered stance works better for them.

If your feet are too far apart or pointed out to the sides, then it can lead to pain in your back as it puts unnecessary stress on your spine.

This is because it puts unnecessary stress on your spine and can cause the muscles in your back to become overstretched or strained.

Plus it also puts the natural line from your feet through your spine to your hands out of alignment, which can lead to pain in your shoulders and elbow joints.

To fix this, you need to make sure that your feet are shoulder-width apart and pointing straight ahead when you press the weight overhead.

If you find that a staggered stance works better for you, then make sure that your front foot is slightly closer to the bar than your back foot.

This will ensure that you are stable and can press the weight overhead without pain.

Switch to dumbbells 

If you find that you are still experiencing pain in your mid-back when pressing the weight overhead, then you might want to try switching to dumbbells.

Dumbbells allow you to press the weight overhead in a more natural position, which can help to reduce pain in the lower back and mid-back.

They also allow you to focus on each side independently, which can help to correct any imbalances that you might have.

Using dumbbells will also help give you a better range of motion, which can help to stretch out the muscles in your back and shoulders.

If you experience wrist pain occasionally when using a barbell, dumbbells can be a great alternative as they put your wrists in a neutral position.

Seated overhead press

If you find that you are still experiencing pain in your mid-back when doing the overhead press, then you might want to try the seated overhead press.

The seated overhead press is a variation of the standard overhead press where you are seated on a bench or chair.

This variation helps to take some of the stress off your lower and mid-back, which can help to reduce pain.

It also helps to keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise, which can further help to reduce pain.

It allows you to focus more on the overhead press, than standing due to the fact there aren’t as many factors to worry about.

Make sure that you keep your feet shoulder-width apart and pointing straight ahead when you press the weight overhead.

Engage your core as you would when doing the standing counterpart and keep your back straight throughout the entire exercise.

See if doing the seated variation helps to reduce the pain you are experiencing in your back.

Final thoughts…

If you are experiencing pain in your mid-back when pressing the weight overhead, then there are a few things that you can do to fix the problem.

First, make sure that you have a slight arch in your lower back when you press the weight overhead. Second, ensure that you are engaging your glutes throughout the entire exercise.

And finally, try switching to dumbbells or the seated variation if you find that you are still experiencing pain. This will help to reduce any imbalances that you might have and also allow you to focus on each side independently.

Have you encountered this and did you sort the problem? Let me know in the comments section below.

If you enjoy sport and use CBD to help with your recovery in between gruelling workouts, then you are in the right place. Here at Sport CBDs, we train hard and recover the best way possible…

We have regular workouts (check out the YouTube channel), CBD news and CBD products to help you gain that edge! 

If you wanted to check out the reputable CBD we have on offer here at the site, then please head to the Sport CBDs Store (CLICK HERE). We also do fitness clothing and yoga accessories too. 

Until next time, all the best…

Beginners Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Lee

Founder – Sport CBDs

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