T Nation

How Much Can You Millitary Press brah?


So, I was going through the "If you could only do 2 lifts" thread, and was getting kinda surprised that most people is chosing the mil.press over the bench. Now, we all know that the bench has ruled supreme for many years, but is it starting to lose it's ground to the standing press? And why is that happening?

I must say, that altough there must be a lot of people here that aren't particularly fans of Pavel Tsatsouline's work, I believe he is pretty much one of the trainers who is most responsible for this recent switch of focus from the bench to the mil.press.



I know I feel a shit load more awesome pressing the weight above my head then laying down, over my body.

Sometimes I feel like throwing the barbell once I have it above my head, while letting out a deep guttural, primal, yell, then punch the nearest chick in the face.


I like Militarys also.

Just to clarify what a Military press is, according to the articles in TN, a proper Military press is performed standing, with your feet close together and pressing the Olympic bar over your head.

This takes a simple Deltoid press and turns it into a power movement, one that encompasses your entire body. I believe it is a great bulking movement that is a testament to your entire body strength.

Power moves FTMFW.

My $.02


Poliquin put forth that your overhead press should be at least 85% of your bench long before Tsatsouline gained popularity.

That being said, overhead and pressing strength has always been important to the O-lifts, which are practiced all over the world. The Oly coach that taught me the lifts considered the bench press accessory work, not a main lift. I would not credit Tsatsouline with popularizing overhead lifting.


I may be wrong, of course. And I don't know much about Poliquin's work, as I don't find it particularly interesting. And of course the oh presses have always lived on, both in the Olympics and out of them. I just find that it has been gaining more and more popularity recently, and since TO ME, Pavel was the one who talked more about the standing press being "superior" (between quotes, pay attention to them) to the bench, I link him to that. But I really don't know about Poliquin.


Maybe on other forums, but as far as the recent rise in popularity in standing overhead press on T-Nation I would definitely credit Jim Wendler and 5/3/1 for that.


all the above and more. Poliquin expounds the dip, chin and overhead press as the king of upper body movements. and the squat and snatch grip deadlift from an elevated podium and the top lower body exercises. Poliquin gets a lot of hate on this site, but the fact is that he was training already world class athletes into even bigger beasts when i was just a kid, that is a long time ago folks.

most strength coaches who train athletes like the military press because (i think) you are standing which translates better to the field.

I find a 350lb overhead press more impressive than a 500lb bench press, though as i stated before the guy who can bench 500 probably looks more jacked than the overhead press guy.


"Superior" is a tad subjective.

"Sport specific" or "with regard to goals" would have to be used to determine superior.

(between quotes, pay attention to them)

King, Siff, and Zatsiorsky are probably just as uninteresting too.


Which is odd, because he is one of the original "Gang of Five".


Ego exercise just like the flat bench press... Except people feel more bad-ass doing it.

And I echo the sentiment that it was Wendler who's responsible for it's rise in popularity.

As for the idea of the overhead press being 85 percent of the bench press, that is the most retarded nonsense I've ever heard.

Dunno how Pavel is supposed to have popularized overhead training either tbh (not picking on you Sky)... As far as I know, it's been part of strength training since long before the bench press came along...

The only time it seemed to become somewhat unpopular was when all those e-coaches got a hard-on for the idea that pressing overhead is oh so horrible and that you really don't need to train your shoulders because chest and back work totally do that for you. And that was during the time of the internet already, just a few years back :wink:
And of course there are plenty of overhead press variants which imo do a better job at training your front delts for the purpose of sheer size or benching strength, that might explain why the standing OHP in particular is not as widely used by the hardcore training crowd...

I see the traditional mil. press (with feet somewhat farther apart no matter what people try to tell me) as more of a "oh look how bad-ass I am" exercise you do once in a while or if you have no real alternatives or you just got a hard-on for it...

Not as much application as a regular training exercise in my case compared to the seated variant and others.


A 500 lb bench is easier to get imo.

Try 565 or so maybe.

Edit: Of course it depends on the individual, but I think if you're training both equally, i.e. you're not a strongman or Oly lifter who specializes more in OH lifting, then I'd say ~350 strict standing military and ~565 or so bench are roughly equal...


He gets a lot more "hate" just about everywhere else. Can't comment further, I think.


They're, I suppose, fun to read about. But really not a necessary part of someone's weightlifting education... That opinion might make a lot of people not like me anymore (teehee), but I stand by it.


to the op question. in my college days as a thrower i could jerk from the rack close to 400 for a single. 330-350 for a few reps. strict overhead military press with no leg drive, hell, i dunno...maybe around 270-290 at my best.

now with only one shoulder and one elbow(seriously) i can strict military about 205 for a few reps, but if i do that i hurting so bad the next month i cant do any pressing at all...

i can still jerk about 240-270 from the rack, which when in my logs i say overhead press, this is what i mean, a power jerk from the rack. with my reconstructed elbow and ruined shoulder it is the only way i can do any barbell pressing with anything half respectable.


i agree. when i trained at diablo i cold push press from the rack about as much at he 500-600 benchers (shirted) could, that was before the elbow surgery, but with the bad shoulder.


Sorry to hear about your injuries man.

Do you still compete?


True enough. No one is going to learn much with out getting hands on the bar and moving weight.

I doubt anybody would not like you because of the infotainment or lack there of that you subscribe to.


no! my last PL comp was 1996 My last HG comp was 1999 at the Huntsville Alabama games. It was my third comp as an "A" class thrower, I fouled out on my first two events, and was trying to save face by hitting a field record in the hammer(my best event) and tore a brachialis muscle going for broke, haha.

i had another run at powerlifting in 2003-2004, hit some decent gym lifts in the squat and dl, but never competed again do to injuries and just plain sucking.


I prefer shoulder press to bench as the main upper body pressing movement because men aren't supposed to have tits, and my pecs get more than enough stimulus from other lifts. Plus having hyooooje shoulders is awesome.


When I ohp really heavy (for me, not some of you big fuckers) my whole body shakes. So much more is being worked imo than a flat bench. Also, who ever lies on their back and lowers something just to press it back up? Ohp actually simulates throwing something over a fence or holding up a fallen tree or something.

If you're only getting two lifts aesthetics are going to be that great anyway. Might as well be as functional as possible right?