T Nation

Heavy Military Press


I need a new trick from the veterans! You guys helped me figure out how to do heavy (for me) DB presses by putting the DBs on my knees and using them to put the weights in position to bench. I can't quite curl the 90s every time to do the military/ push press. Sometimes I can... sometimes I can't and I feel that I'm going to hurt something if I don't get some wisdom. I'm sure you guys push press more than you curl, so how do you get the DBs in position? Thanks!




Perform a Dumbell Clean to get the dumbells to your shoulders.


step 1: take a seated position
step 2: take the DB and put it right on your knee
step 3: bring the weight to your shoulder by lifting up your knee and pulling it up with your bicep (concentrating on getting your elbow under the weight)


I could be wrong, but it may be that you are using too much weight. Try using an olympic bar to do behind-the-neck presses with 25's on each side. If you can't get to 12 reps, you need to stick to these.


the original reason i started training the olympic lifts is because of this exact situation: military press was a lot higher than what i could curl, and i didn't have a power/squat rack. so, i power cleaned the shit up, and went from there, and at the same time made cleans a regular part of my workout.


What I try and works for me is while your standing, having the DBs placed on your quads. With a flat part on your leg, and a hammer curl type grip. You can do almost a hang clean, and use some push/momentum from your quads to get the DB's up.
Once they are up, another hammer curl type grip with a flat side on each pec, and then just recline slowly into a bench, or while standing, and its like an arnold press out to the military and there you go. hope it makes sense.


hmmm. either youre not understanding the original post or im not. i took it to mean he was having trouble getting 90lb dumbells onto his shoulders to do some overhead db presses. if that is in fact what he meant, he certainly should have no trouble doing 95lbs behind the neck.

now, for advice to the OP, i think the best/easiest thing to do is pull the dumbells so they are leaning just above your knees and then sit down so they are resting on your quads, pretty close to the knee. then you just kick them up. i think a lot of people have a "stronger side"- for me im right handed and i feel better kicking the DB on my right up first, and holding it in place above my shoulder while i kick the left up. btw- yes, with a 90lb dumbell in my right hand, my left kick is a little sloppier, always gets the job done though. i definitely feel you on the problem though. those 95's and 100's are just around the corner for me, and im more worried about how the hell im going to kick them up than how im going to press them.

also- in case its not obvious im talking about sitting on a low back bench/chair, which i think is a must here, unless youre 340lbs and the 90lbs db's feel like 30's would to everyone else.


This is very simple:



So true. And the same goes for squats, and benches for that matter.

People who use squat racks or bench off the rack are actually cheating. :wink:


Exactly. You should be able to clean much more than you can press. If not, you have some serious muscle imbalances.


I dont think you guys are reading correctly. I don't think he knows how to clean, and is asking for advice. He probably can press this with ease but is struggling in getting it positioned. Thats reasonable and the intelligent advice that some one else gave about resting it on his knee and popping it up will probably do the trick.

Also why write in all in caps?



3 things:

1) Anybody that can 'easily' shoulder press 90+ lb dumbells damn well must have done some sort of clean somewhere along the line. WTF did he do with the 70's? 80's? 85's? Or did he just jump from the 40's to the 90's?

2) I would really love to know how resting dumbells against your knees before cleaning them to your shoulders makes it easier?

3) If he really doesn't know the easiest way to get dumbells to his shoulders IMO that would be a powerclean. Deadlift the dumbells up and without stopping, using 'momentum' shrug hard as you snap the dumbells up to shoulder level and bend your knees slightly to 'get under' them. This may take practice for a beginner but once you get it you'll easily be able to get 110lber's up if you really can press 90's with ease.

Good luck!!


I could be mistakenbut I believe he is sitting on a bench doing his military presses, Thus bouncing it from his knee would be the easiest way Ive seen people get them up.
However I dont want to get into a pissing match on a forum, so this will be my last response


Awww c'mon! Some ppl don't clean at all, should they then not shoulder press?

I don't think so.

If I was in that position I would use a straight bar and have it in a high position in a rack, so it was already shoulder height before the set's begun.


He is not trying to do cleans you jackass, he wants to go heavy on military DB presses. And why are you yelling?

If you want to conserve energy for your presses alone and dont want to clean or do not know how to clean them, do the following:

Pick up one DB with both hands off the floor while in a seated position, and bring the DB into the position you would be at the bottom of the press. Get a spotter to hand you the other DB in the same position on the other side and have him give you a boost on the first rep.

I Military DB press 120's for 10 without a spotter but used a spotter till I was comfortable getting the weights up myself.

It is much safer on your shoulders this way b/c you dont have to swing the weights up and the boost on the first rep will get you going. You just cant count that one as a rep. Start counting from the top. Good luck and train hard.



You don't clean them at all this way - you deadlift the DBs and rest them on your knees as you sit down, then you lift the weight pretty much right into position by lifting your knee, then do the same on the other side. It's by far the easiest way to get them into position I've ever used.


Really? I've done that for incline dumbell but always assumed it would be tricky getting heavy dumbells straight up onto my shoulders like that for military. That's why I always cleaned them.

Sorry for the misinformation to the original poster. Listen to the other guys, that does sound better if it works.


Thanks for the helpful replies. It's not "easy" for me to press them... currently doing 3*6 and it's more of a push press. I will try the weight on the quad/knee trick. That makes sense to me since that's very similar to how I do the DB bench. Hopefully soon I'll be able to curl them properly without danger of putting my spine on the floor. Thanks again!


Agree. I use the same method when going heavy with dumbells. It works fine.