Even though I made significant progress with this exercise, I decided to avoid the possibility of severe injury and switched to conventional presses only.
If desiring to continue using the press-behind neck movement use proper form. Press the bar up with a smooth continuous motion, lowering only as far as is comfortable. Be careful to avoid hitting your neck or otherwise straining it as that is a common injury. If this is done, the exercise can be done safely.
The following alternative exercises will prove valuable in your training. Barbell front presses work the shoulders in the same way the behind-neck variety does, and doesn't cause any of the negative effects. I prefer using dumbbells for these because of the greater range of motion and more natural movement they afford.
Isolation exercises such as dumbbell front, side and bent-over laterals are also excellent.
The following HIT program is one I recommend:
- Dumbbell front press(either seated or standing)-1x6-8+3 forced reps
- no rest
- Dumbbell front raise-1x6 negative-only
- Bent-over cable laterals-1x12
- no rest
- Incline dumbbell press(not bench press)-1x6+4 negatives