The Vince Gironda Neck Press

Don Howorth

Vince, I need an exercise that builds the whole pec, not just the bottom part, which always seems to happen when I do a lot of regular flat bench presses.

I know you do not recommend the flat bench presses, but the damn exercise is just so enjoyable to do, I can’t help but do it.

I know incline presses build the upper pecs, but I’m on a limited schedule and basically have time for only one exercise per muscle group.

What exercise would you recommend which will build both the upper and lower chest?

The wide grip dip builds more pec tissue than any other exercise I know of but since you seem to love flat bench pressing so much, why don’t you do what I call the “Neck Press”.

This was the only type of bench pressing the great Larry Scott ever did. If it was good enough for a two-time Mr. Olympia, it should be good enough for you.

This exercise can be done with either a barbell or on the Smith machine. I prefer the machine because you don’t have to worry about balancing the bar and you can really focus your attention on the pecs.

Lie back on the bench. Cross your legs and lift them off the bench and draw them back over your stomach.

This position ensures perfect form and balance. This also ensures you cannot arch as your back must remain flat on the bench. This increases the range of motion of the bar.

Take a wide grip on the bar and the elbows and upper arm should be directly under or slightly back of the barbell. Lower the bar to where your neck and upper chest meets – not to the nipple line as you would with regular bench presses.

Press up to within an inch of lockout and then lower and repeat.

Try for maximum stretch as you lower the bar and tense the pecs hard at the top, trying for a hard contraction.

Use a weight that is 50 percent of your maximum on the first set of 10 reps. The second set use a weight that is 75 percent of your maximum for eight reps. The third set use a weight that is 100 percent of your maximum for 6 reps. Reduce the weight the fourth set and pump out 15 reps to flush the area with blood. Rest less than 45 seconds between each set.

  1. Great tips! tried it out and far out my chest is suffering some serious doms now!!! awesom!!

    One question though: You said do 100% of your max for 6 reps on the 3rd set but how is this possible when you can only physically do 1 single rep or your max? …or am i miss interpreting this?

    thank you regardless! 🙂

  2. Watch the position of the bar. I have been attempting these with the bar coming down on the middle of the neck. Have experienced shoulder pain. Have re-read some of the explanations and see that the bar really should be positioned to come to the collar bone. Doesn’t seem like much, but can make a big difference.

  3. The neck press or the guillotine press can very well be a shoulder wrecker specially if one has a type 3 acromion. The acromion is a part of the complex shoulder joint and there are 3 types of it. The third type ( hooked) is most prone to injuries And shoulder impingement. In neck press the chances of shoulder impingement are very high. Shoulders can be a party to a safe and efficient lifting career and/ or life. :/

  4. There are plenty of studies which indicate that the neck press will put strain on the shoulder caps and elbows. Dont need to believe me just do your own research. Mr. Gironda has plenty of knowledge but neck press and leg extension which he praised are not very good exercise. He did not praise the back leg press which is the mother of all leg exercise.

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