T Nation

Highly Unsatisfied With The Overhead

Overhead is probably my favorite lift aside from bench and it’s pretty mediocre. Today I got 135 for 4, 165 for 3 and a failed attempt at 185. When it’s all said and done I want to overhead 450-500 raw. Any tips on why it’s pretty bad? Reps,sets,or assistance that could help it?

Is this Standing OHP or seated? I don’t focus much on it but when I went back through my journal, I noticed that as my triceps strength, back strength and core strength went up, my Standing OHP went up. Hope this helps.

standing OH, and yeah I focus on the back and tri’s but don’t have many options for a strong core because I have a herniated disc and most core strains the low back…shit sucks

I’ve had more back problems than I care to remember. How is it you can do standing OHP with your bad back? It seems to me that would put a lot of pressure on the injury. Just curious is all.

ohp is one of the hardest lifts to make gains on. And 450-500 overhead is insane. I’m not saying it’s not do-able, but you need to at the very least realize that very few people have ever done that, and most of them were probably doing it with crazy torso-bend back when it was still clean-and-press instead of jerk.

Again, you can do anything you set your mind to, so be proud of your goals and chase them with tenacity, but also understand that it will probably take decades of training to get your standing overhead press to where you want it to be.

Anyways, my best advice? First, be patient. Gains on strict press are really slow for the most part. Second, do it more frequently. Recently, I started strict pressing 3 times a week, and that helped me get my strict press up 30 lbs in just a few months, which are gains I would normally be happy with over the course of a year. Third, do a variety of rep ranges. Strict press is really technical in a lot of ways, because if the abr gets out of position or slows down just a touch, it can mean failing a lift. What I did for a while that worked great is One workout of lighter weight for a bunch of paused reps in the 6-10 rep range. Move the weight fast, smooth, and build some muscle.

Then, another day I would work up to a moderately heavy weight and hit 5-10 singles as best I could depending on how I felt that day. Then, on the third day I would just work up to a heavy single, try and PR. For a few months, I was getting a new 5 lb PR pretty much every 2 weeks or so. Now, my gains have slowed down so I’m doing more and more light rep work to practice good form, fast reps, and build up some more muscle so I cna start hitting PR’s again. But some of those ideas might work well for you.

I have no idea why, but people say suicide grip works, so I tried it…and they didn’t lie

[quote]chobbs wrote:
I have no idea why, but people say suicide grip works, so I tried it…and they didn’t lie[/quote]

It’s definitely starting to grow on me. And I seem to recall Wendler recommending it.

Post a vid. Otherwise we are just guessing.

I admire your enthusiasm, but in order to actually reach your goal, you’re gonna have to get your bodyweight up to around 400lbs and take every steroid there is in doses large enough to kill a bull elephant.

[quote]chobbs wrote:
I have no idea why, but people say suicide grip works, so I tried it…and they didn’t lie[/quote]

I think it allows a more efficient bar path. I like it because it doesn’t beat up my wrist and elbows.

If I saw someone in the gym OHP 5 plates. Id leave and never come back. That would be insane. Everything in my life from that point on would be a disappointment.

No offense but most of the best pressers in the world have never pressed 500 strict. I don’t even think I have heard of big Z STRICT pressing it. With that being said good luck and find a connection for some gear because you’ll need it espeacially if you truely have a herniated disk some good pain killers would probably be in order as well.

Kill your triceps and core as they are almost always the limiting factor in over head. If you can’t train core very hard due to a back injury your goal of competiting as a Strongman I’d practically over. Trust me you have not felt lower back pain until you have done a 800lbs yoke run then a Atslas Stone run all with a herniated disc ( I have two l4-l5 and l5-s1 trust me its miserable). But I hope you luck maybe you’ll find the secret in which case please let me know.

I just got my strict standing OH Press up to 245, with the hopes of getting 315 for 2 in the next 18 months. My advice would be:

  • Flex your lats and use it as a shelf to support the weight.
  • Definitely use a false grip, Meat told me to and my press went up 10lbs just for that.
  • Tuck your elbows and engage your biceps as well in the lift, I find a tight tucked form is better for the OH press than a wider grip.
  • Do heavy singles.
  • I find sets in the 5 rep range worked well for me, ramping up to 85% - 90% of your 1rm. Back off sets after in the 60%-65% range.
  • I do not believe in push presses helping an OH press, to me its the only real similarity is it is an OH movement.

Echoing others 450-500 may be a bit lofty to say the least.

I think that the OHP is a lift that is the most influenced by stability. So my advice would be this (along with what others have said) for those (admittedly insane) goals:

Get fat --> The cushioning will provide stability and a “spring” out the bottom that usually only fat people have. Plus I notice I tend to get light headed easier at the lighter BW.
You gotta be like a freaking boulder --> You should train in a way that once you plant your feet on the ground, a reasonably strong person should apply force on you and you DON’T BUDGE.

Spend a week here and there focusing only on machines to see if the raw overhead strength went up --> Sometimes you may just be fatigued and lose balance, but I think the machines will generally keep you honest in the sense it helps you keep track of where your gains are someing from; raw strength or technical efficiency.

[quote]csulli wrote:
I admire your enthusiasm, but in order to actually reach your goal, you’re gonna have to get your bodyweight up to around 400lbs and take every steroid…[/quote]

Sun-dried, stone-ground, rhinoceros testicle w/whey.

Make sure you wear a tight shirt. It will certainly help.

Design a bench shirt that works for overhead work.

[quote]Mike__Madden wrote:
Overhead is probably my favorite lift aside from bench and it’s pretty mediocre. Today I got 135 for 4, 165 for 3 and a failed attempt at 185. When it’s all said and done I want to overhead 450-500 raw. Any tips on why it’s pretty bad? Reps,sets,or assistance that could help it?[/quote]
In your “Big Back” thread, you explained:
“for bb rows I do about 165 for 4x6 and 145 for 3x10”

Your barbell row should be significantly higher than your military press. Again, this is part of the reason why you got injured and once again, my advice is to get healthy first and foremost, before worrying about setting OH press world records.

At 16 years old, you absolutely need to get this disc healed properly. Once that’s done, get back to the gym with a well-designed, basic program that gets you strong all over, not focusing on a big bench or a big back or a big military press.

A couple of things dude…

First, if you truly have compressed or herniated disks, get that fixed. You will never go ANYWHERE in strength athletics until you solve that problem.

Google Sam Visnic, Matt Poe and Donnie Thompson - Band Traction. That will give you some stuff to do on your own but your going to need an MRI and a good PT along with that stuff to get healthy.

Second, a 450lb overhead is massive. If you are talking strict press that is world class and I would bet around 10 guys have ever strict pressed that much weight. If you are talking a jerk that is more realistic but still a whopper of a number.

Set goals for YOU, and set short term goals. If you can do 135 for 5, work on 150 for 5, then 160, etc.

Josh Bryant has taught me this in the last couple of years. If you want to be really good at a lift, you have to do it alot. In the past I was more focused on “building the lifts”. I wanted my bench to go up so I did a ton of accessory work and I should have just been benching more. To sum this up, overhead press more. Maybe twice a week. Also, you can’t overhead press and bench twice a week. You need to pick one lift and focus on that.

Again, your 16 dude. I admire your drive, wish I would have started when I was that young. Find a good program to start and STICK to it. I always say Westside for Skinny Bastards. It’s a great program for building strength and size and it’s simple to follow, and it works.

Last but not least, eat. Eat a freaking ton. Your going to have to be a house to press big weights.

I get where you guys are coming from thanks for the advice. I definitely plan on pressing over 400 which obviously gonna take years but I love doing this so I can’t see getting to like 250 and saying yeahh this won’t work. As far as the disc goes I think the acupuncture doctor is out of his mind. My sciatic pain is almost gone and I didn’t have low back pain a day in my life.

This was just an idea but I was thinking once the sciatic pain is 100% gone, maybe like 3 weeks after run Smolov. My squat is garbage so I would squat 4x a week like that calls for and bench/overhead twice a week. Only problem is no deadlifting so I’m not to sure. Maybe just run 5/3/1 or some type of West side soon