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Best Overhead Press Variation?

Hey All,

So currently I’m running a full body 5/3/1 3x/week split similar to Beyond 5/3/1 (the program on the site, not the book) where I do Squat/Press one day, and Deadlift/Bench the next. One lift is 5/3/1 and the other is BBB. Like Jim has mentioned in the past, I do variations of the main lift for the BBB, just to get some variety in my work and to emphasize certain things. Front Squats instead of Squats to hit quads, Sumo DL instead of conventional because I really feel these in the glutes, and slight incline BB Bench instead of Flat Bench to feel it in my pecs.

I’m struggling to come up with a variation of the Overhead press that I can do on the BBB day. I tried out doing the traditional “military press” where I use a slightly wider grip and keep my heels together, but I was wondering if there might be a better alternative. I’m trying to stay away from dumbbells, mostly because I like barbells more, but if there’s no other way around it I’ll switch. On the 5/3/1 FAQ Jim recommended fat bar MP, but I don’t have access to one. Any ideas?


EDIT: Also, I already do dips as an assistance movement for triceps, hopefully there’s something else I can do.

Push Press,
Stott’s Press
Seated Overhead Press
Behind the Neck Press (careful if you have questionable shoulders)
BB Front Raise

Then there’s a variety of partial movements.

Try dumbbell overhead press - either both arms together or 1 side at a time - for a change of pace.

I would either do DB Press or just the press with a 1ct pause at the bottom.

Purchase ‘Fat Grips’ if you want to use a fat bar for anything. Other than that, I would just stick with the regular overhead press, but concentrate on working the muscles with the BBB sets rather than just getting the weight up. That will turn it into almost a different exercise.

Another thing worth considering if you can do them is the handstand pushup.

I enjoy partial reps - try 1/2 reps from the chest to the top of the head, since you’re likely weakest at the bottom of the lift. Take it one step further and alternate a 1/2 rep with full rep - I’ve heard these called W’s or 1 1/2’s. Arnold press is another alternative if you break down and use DBs.

i like to do “klokov presses” if my triceps are pretty shot and i still want to hit my shoulders and traps

Klokov Presses are the shit if you can handle the ROM. My spine can’t handle normal OHP right now but Klokov Presses have saved me from not being able press period, and it has done wonders in working the medial and rear delts. My shoulders love the behind the neck work and I feel more “balanced”.