How Often Can You Overhead Press?


I usually do olympic lifting, but I’ve found that my knees need a break from deep squatting, cleaning and snatching after developing some tendonitis in the quads.

This made me decide to try to increase my raw upper body strength for a period. Hopefully this might also increase the olympic lifts.

How often would it be smart to practice the overhead press?
I’d like to do it heavy each day. Could this be feasible?

I’ve actually tried benching to a (unpsyched) 1-rep max each day for 14 days last autumn adding 10kg’s to my max. Do you guys think that this could work for the overhead press?

I know this might be overreaching, but there will be no leg training (only stretching) for a period know.

I wouldn’t do it every day. Overhead Press usually is a bit harder on the rotator cuff and attachments in the shoulder but I do say every other day or 3 days a week is very feasible.

Depends on your strength, capacity etc. The Pavel / Dan John 40-day program supports this kind of thing:

I press twice a week, push press on Mons and mil press on Fri. 3-5 heavy 5s. That with a fair bit of benching too, but I do plenty of pulling and solid rotator cuff warm ups.

Would be keen to hear your progress on this.

Would it be beneficiary to vary the rep schemes?

Say for example:
Monday: 5 sets of 3
Wednesday: 5 sets of 5, explosive
Friday: 5 heavy-as-F singles/doubles

Or the simplest approach:
All workouts: 5 sets of 3 with the same weight.
Increasing the weight when I can make all the reps.
Starting with something I know I can do the first workout.
Perhaps using different press variations like military/strict, sitting strict, behind the neck press, alternating front and back (bereford press?) and press with hip-drive.

The second alternative might be easier to program?

The second option may be more simple tl run but I definetly suggest you switch it up.
Monday ( ME )- work up to a ME 3 then back off 10% and do 3 sets of 3.
Wednesday( DE + Technique ) 65% + Light Bands 8 -12 sets of 2-3. Very Explosive with good form.
Friday ( Volume + Conditioning )- 55% for 5-6 sets of 12 very little rest try to get down to 15 seconds between each set.

Remember to do alot of shoulder prehab and every Pregssing session I would do atleast 1 pulling movement but normally I do 2.

Thanks for the suggestions. :slight_smile:

Yes, I’m planning to do at least some pullups in each session and perhaps some rowing could be a good idea.

I’m a bit skeptical about going for high rep schemes, like the friday you’re suggesting. It has never felt like I’ve progressed on it before. That has been when I’ve only done high-rep though, so maybe I should give it a try.

There are noe bands in this gym room, so I think I might skip that part…

The bands are not a " have to " of the set up. They are really nice and really train you to keep constant and full acceleration at all times. If interested how ever you can buy a nice band set up for under $30.

I did OHP every day for a week one time. I was really weak so your results may vary, but I still got some pretty good gains out of it. 10 or 15 lb on my 1RM if I remember correctly.

I kinda varied between a focus on volume, frequency, or intensity every day, but always heavy and low rep.

Highly dependent on volume/intensity.

Some people like using Smolov Jr on military press.

I’m focusing on bringing up my bench now so I don’t do too much heavy military pressing, but when I did, I gained the most out of 3x/week heavy singles.

Not sure the point of OHP 3x a week if strength is the goal…

Personally I think 5/3/1 is perfect for OHP, I used it for a clean strict 275 on monday and are shooting for 285 next week.

If you want volume with your upper body do something like sheiko, or even just the westside conjugate/dynamic template for bench and then you can have a whole day for arms, back, shoulders, I left out legs since I think you said you dont want to squat right now or someting. -.-

Anyhow, I have used smolov JR for my bench, it worked well but its a peakign cycle, i never really understand why non plers use smolov. Also I just dont see OHP 3x week working well, I personally bench 3xweek and then OHP 1x a week. squat 2x, DL 1x

Some of the strongest presser from the past (most of them Oly lifters) trains the press with high frequency.

guys, you know people once actually competed in the press, no one ever goes back over what they did.

guys pressing over double bwt from 60kgs right up to the 82.5s

we pressed 3, times, 4 times or 5 times depending on our experiencxe level.

at 1 year experience as a jr I was on 4 times, was 17 with a bwt military.

Mon oly press (technique day, done medium weight, lots of drive)
Tues seated press - your heavy power move
Thur Push press - your other heavy power move
sat Jerk of rack

now this was for a kid who had been just military pressing 3 days a week to get to this point, and who had then been stuck there for around 3-4 months

variation + repetition

other assistance was inc at either 45 degs up to around 75degs, and sub the jerk rack for power jerk, BN jerk etc, (we only jerked once as with all the pressing it was a technique thing and recovery thing, the strength was always there )

after all these years who would think people would be pressing again

at our gym we had three guys pressing over 300lbs jrs and srs, all weighing under 200lbs.

[quote]Terry Gibbs wrote:
guys, you know people once actually competed in the press, no one ever goes back over what they did.

guys pressing over double bwt from 60kgs right up to the 82.5s

we pressed 3, times, 4 times or 5 times depending on our experiencxe level.

at 1 year experience as a jr I was on 4 times, was 17 with a bwt military.

Mon oly press
Tues seated press
Thur Push press
sat Jerk of rack

variation + repetition

Interesting stuff…

What kind of repetition schemes did you use at that time?

Did you ever do any snatch-grip pressing?

3x3 as that was a comp cycle, pressed 85kgs at 72kgs weight, and that was May 1972, press was gone in August,

4 sets of 5, during the strength portion, but jerks never more than 3s and same with OL press,

we never did BN press, I later did it with sucess, but when I competed never saw anyone do it, though I am sure they did, somewhere, … snatch grip pressing, is a snatch assistance move, because todays lifters are weak presses,(comparitively) it is movement specfic, some guys did dips, others benches (same grip, elbows in to sides, I mean right in next to body) and for seated and incline you always use the same width grip,

one workout I had sucess to start with given to me by an old timer, (big presser), was start workout with 4 sets of 8, do very heavy rows, then finish with 4 sets of 5, worked reall well for around 2 months,but that was for a beginner/intermediate

Thanks for your insight Terry. Would you mind sharing how you would progress in your lifts? Thanks again!