Straight Arm Press Back Tips : Warm-up & Precautions

What is a Straight Arm Press back?

The straight arm press back, also known as straight arm pull back, targets and strengthens your upper back, rear deltoids and triceps. Performed using dumbbells, it involves controlled, slow movements of the arms in an anti clockwise motion. 

How to do Straight Arm Press Back?

Keeping your form right is very important in strength training exercises. If possible, attempt these in front of a mirror or you can record yourself and see if your posture requires any changes or adjustments. Here is how to do one rep of straight arm press back.

•  Start with a dumbbell in one hand with the palm pointing towards your body and your feet shoulder width apart.
•  Bend the knees slightly and bend forward until your back is almost parallel to the ground.
•  Keep your free hand on the knee to support your body if needed, back straight and core engaged.
•  Without bending your arm slowly raise it backwards until it is parallel to the ground. Hold here for a moment.
•  Only move your arm throughout the exercise, everything else should stay stationary.
•  Slowly bring your arm down until it is hanging by your side.

This is one rep. Repeat this for 6-8 reps and then switch to the other arm. Do the same number of reps and sets on both sides. If you want to work out your triceps more, then you can combine straight arm press back with the triceps kickback and lift the arm afterwards. If you do both arms simultaneously it becomes harder because your back has to do more work to stabilize your body. We recommend starting with one side until you have the form just right. You can switch to both arms later if you want to increase the challenge.

When it comes to strength training, there are two basic ways of determining how often and how many sets of exercises you should do. If your goal is to build endurance then you should do these using lighter weights. You can do 3 to 4 sets of 12 reps 3 to 4 times a week. But if you want to build strength then you should keep increasing weights while doing straight arm press backs and do sets of maximum 6 reps. You can do this 2 to 3 times a week so that you give your muscles plenty of time to recover. If you keep taxing them everyday it might lead to injury. Remember, your muscles repair and become stronger during the rest period. 

Tools Used for Straight Arm Press Back

All you need for straight arm press back are your weights, preferably dumbbells. Apart from that this exercise can be done in a slight squat, or you can use a bench. If you’re using a bench, keeping your abs tight will ensure that your back remains neutral and is not rounded. There should be a straight line from your head down to your tailbone.

Most Effective Arm Warm-up (Pre Workout, Post Workout)

Stick to a dynamic warmup which focuses on doing the movements that you will be doing during your workout. For instance, you can do a few minutes of jogging or do movement based stretches like lunges and squats. To engage your arms and backs you can opt for any form of planks. You can do a raised arm plank by keeping your arms straight down from your shoulders to the floor. You can also do a basic plank in which you place your elbows directly below your shoulders and arms in front making a right angle. Get back on your toes, keep your back low and neutral and your core engaged. Hold for 20-30 seconds to begin and move up to 1 minute.

It will also be beneficial to do tricep warmups. Extend your arms horizontally so that you make a T with your palms facing down. Keep arms straight and rotate them in backward circles. After half a minute, rotate them in forward circles. After that turn your palms to face forward and move your arms back and forth gently. Repeat the movement up and down with palms facing backwards. Do 1 to 3 sets of these movements.

For cooling down after workout you should do some static stretches. Here are a few: 

Downward Dog

Start with a raised plank and then lift your hips up into the air. Keep your arms and legs extended and hold your head between your arms, peering at your feet. Hold for 30 seconds.

Tricep Horizontal Stretch

Bring your arm across your body over your chest with the elbow gently bent. Use your other arm to press the arm into your chest. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 to 4 times on each side.

Cobra Pose

Lie on your stomach and keep your hands directly under your shoulders. Your fingers should be facing forward and arms should be close to your body. Press into your fingers and lift your head, shoulders and chest. Hold for 30–60 seconds.

Arm Press Common Mistakes to Avoid

•  Always pay the most attention to your form instead of the weight or reps. If you are not keeping the correct form the exercise will not be effective or worse it can result in pain or even injury. For arm press exercise, proper form means keeping your core tight and your spine neutral as you lift and lower the weights.
•  As is the case for most weight lifting exercises, don't rely on momentum or gravity to do the work for you. Instead, you should keep your abs flexed and move your muscles slowly in a controlled manner.
•  If you cannot do arm presses without swinging your arms back and forth, try going down a weight level or try using only one arm at a time. Extend one arm backwards until it is parallel to the floor then slowly bend your elbow and consciously bring the weight back to the front of your body.

Arm Press Pre and Post Workout Recovery

•  If any pain or inflammation occurs stop doing this exercise immediately.
•  If you experience pain or inflammation after this exercise, or any other shoulder exercise for that matter, you should rest to allow your shoulder to heal and recover. To reduce inflammation, ice your shoulder. Consult your doctor for pain relief medication.
•  Using a massage gun frequently can also help relieve pain and stop cramps. The best percussion massagers are the ones that help improve blood circulation to the specific muscle so that it can get enough energy and heal faster.