T Nation

5 Ways to Increase Your Press


Not exactly powerlifting, but seems that the press has gotten some love the last few years. I've got a series of topics that I will write short articles about - always "5 Things" sort of an idea (I call it the Way of the Fist to make it more mystical). Let me know if there are any topics you may want covered.



Good stuff, man. Short and to the point with no excess bullshit. I think point no. 2 is of great importance, and a lot of people seem to fail to do this. My press improved greatly once I got the hang of "locking my lats", so to speak.

Cant think of any other topics worth fisting right now, but I'll drop you a line in this thread if something comes up.


Did you have to change your press training after you busted your shoulder? I finally stopped benching and swapped in OH pin presses and clean & press in place of military and bench press. Shoulders are slowly healing and the new lifts are getting stronger.

I like 2 and 3. Keep that ass tight and try to drive from the heels!


I am unfortunate that I have ulnar nerve subluxation and can't do overhead work without getting that jolt you'd get from hitting your "funny bone"

Thanks for making me feel sad Wendler......naaaa just kidding. I simply replaced overhead press day with a "pull" day.


Thnx Jim, more please.



Great read. Military press quickly became my favourite main lift and your pointers are priceless. As a novice lifter I don't think about competing yet, my goal is simply to get stronger. Nevertheless I'm reading lots of stuff on powerlifting trying to learn something but it is not always obvious, when you read about elite guys' training. It would be very helpful, if you could write about differences in training for raw numbers for people like me - just entering the strength game - opposite to gear training for competetive powerlifters.

Excuse my english






Thanks for the tips Jim. I'm on my fifth cycle of 5/3/1 and have been making steady progress on my OHP. Completely unspectacular numbers but I've gone from ~45kg 1RM to 55kg max. I've a bit to go to press my body weight but that's the goal.
I'll see what I can do with the lat tip to help keep things heading in the right direction.
I look forward to my press day on Monday's cause I havent trained in a couple of days and I suppose because no matter how intense the session I'll still feel fairly good the next day. The same can't be said be Tuesday's DL day!


The tip about switching to a false grip was huge for me. My press immediately became stronger once I started doing this.

Also, I like how you mentioned prioritizing the press. A lot of people have a squat day, a deadlift day and then two bench days each week. The military press and the bench press complement each other the same way that the squat and deadlift complement each other, and it makes perfect sense to give the press its own day. It's not going to hurt your bench to devote some time each week to improving your press. As long as you're still training the bench hard, it will only help.


SHUT UP!!!!! Im so jealous of all the people that can do overhead work!


the Lat Shelf and false grip are major press improvers


Care to expand upon the "lat shelve." Is it just squeezing the lats like you would with a bench press and back work?


Because I can't bench heavy I decided to make the press a priority until I've worked out the kinks in my chest, so this was good timing. I have some form of OH pressing in both my upper body workouts now, barbell press on one and log press on the other. I'll give the false grip a try and see how I like it, thanks.


it is a bit like benching. you kinda flex your lats and rear delts together while bringing your elbows into your side and it should lock your arms into your sides


Swiss bar vs straight bar for OHP and especially shoulder issues? Makes a difference,or doesn't really?


i'm having a hard time finding the right placement for my hands (wide, narrow, etc.). Should hand placement be the same as bench, or a little bit wider?


I see "thumbs from smooth" as the most suggested set-up, but I go a little wider with that. It works out that my pinky is inside the ring.


Seems like there's lots of love for the false grip. I'll have to try this out on OHP day along with the lat thing.

I am kinda curious why a false grip works better, biomechanically speaking.


It definitely shouldn't be any wider than your bench hand placement. Personally, I keep my hands right around where they end up when I'm finishing a clean & jerk. It's almost the same hand placement as the one used when close grip benching.

I never would have even considered pressing with a false grip until I saw Wendler suggest it. The first time I used it was kind've like the first time I deadlifted sumo, I was immediately able to move more weight and I felt more comfortable doing so. I believe the biggest advantage of pressing with a false grip is that you're able to push the bar back behind your head more, so the bar ends up traveling in a straight line as it's supposed to.