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Increasing Raw Pressing Strength

Hey fellow T-Nation members. I’ll start off with a brief intro before I pose my question. VV Scroll down to skip the introduction VV

Age: 15 (freshman in high school)
Lifting weights (seriously) since: 1/14/08
Height: 5’11"
Weight: 163.6 this morning after pee-ing

Lifts (all lifts with super-strict form):

Bench Press: 135 x 5
Standing Military Press: 100 x 5
ATG Squat: 170 x 5
Deadlift: 200 x 5? (200 x 5 is the my most recent lift, but it is steadily increasing 5 lb/week. I can tell that I will not stall for a while and that it will continue to increase)

Okay, so first of all, yes I know I’m weak. My main goal is to add quality muscle and strength. My diet is in check. My lifting program is a Beginner’s Madcow Linear Progression program.

Through self-analysis, I have concluded that I am weakest upper body pressing movements (bench and military press). Through coincidence or not, I do have long arms. Now hold up, I am not making excuses, by my wingspan is wider than my older brother’s, who is taller than me. Also, I have noticed that my triceps and upper body seem to lag behind my legs.

So, my question is:

How can I increase my raw pressing strength?

[quote]TheGrezDog wrote:
Hey fellow T-Nation members. I’ll start off with a brief intro before I pose my question. VV Scroll down to skip the introduction VV

Age: 15 (freshman in high school)
Lifting weights (seriously) since: 1/14/08
Height: 5’11"
Weight: 163.6 this morning after pee-ing

Lifts (all lifts with super-strict form):

Bench Press: 135 x 5
Standing Military Press: 100 x 5
ATG Squat: 170 x 5
Deadlift: 200 x 5? (200 x 5 is the my most recent lift, but it is steadily increasing 5 lb/week. I can tell that I will not stall for a while and that it will continue to increase)

Okay, so first of all, yes I know I’m weak. My main goal is to add quality muscle and strength. My diet is in check. My lifting program is a Beginner’s Madcow Linear Progression program.

Through self-analysis, I have concluded that I am weakest upper body pressing movements (bench and military press). Through coincidence or not, I do have long arms. Now hold up, I am not making excuses, by my wingspan is wider than my older brother’s, who is taller than me. Also, I have noticed that my triceps and upper body seem to lag behind my legs.

So, my question is:

How can I increase my raw pressing strength?

[/quote]

I asked a similar question recently, and I lift a significant amount more weight then you are was told to get stronger because I have a lot of potential to gain with just the basics still. Simply put add 500-700 calories a day, lift heavyass weights, and reap the rewards. Don’t give up or get down. You WILL get stronger.

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
TheGrezDog wrote:
Hey fellow T-Nation members. I’ll start off with a brief intro before I pose my question. VV Scroll down to skip the introduction VV

Age: 15 (freshman in high school)
Lifting weights (seriously) since: 1/14/08
Height: 5’11"
Weight: 163.6 this morning after pee-ing

Lifts (all lifts with super-strict form):

Bench Press: 135 x 5
Standing Military Press: 100 x 5
ATG Squat: 170 x 5
Deadlift: 200 x 5? (200 x 5 is the my most recent lift, but it is steadily increasing 5 lb/week. I can tell that I will not stall for a while and that it will continue to increase)

Okay, so first of all, yes I know I’m weak. My main goal is to add quality muscle and strength. My diet is in check. My lifting program is a Beginner’s Madcow Linear Progression program.

Through self-analysis, I have concluded that I am weakest upper body pressing movements (bench and military press). Through coincidence or not, I do have long arms. Now hold up, I am not making excuses, by my wingspan is wider than my older brother’s, who is taller than me. Also, I have noticed that my triceps and upper body seem to lag behind my legs.

So, my question is:

How can I increase my raw pressing strength?

I asked a similar question recently, and I lift a significant amount more weight then you are was told to get stronger because I have a lot of potential to gain with just the basics still. Simply put add 500-700 calories a day, lift heavyass weights, and reap the rewards. Don’t give up or get down. You WILL get stronger.
[/quote]

Thank you for the advice. I guess the answer to my question was much simpler than I anticipated. I guess it is just hard for me to be patient and wait for the lifts to slowly increase, but in retrospect patience is probably the most valuable asset to any weight training program.

Thanks again; I learned something new.

You are 15. Not many 15 year olds have significant muscular development in their arms. Anyways, it looks like your bench, squat, and deadlift are pretty proportional.

Your upper body is not behind your legs, you just have a lot of physical maturing to do. Keep lifting, concentrate on the major compound movements, and everything will get stronger. It’s a long road, and your biggest size gains won’t come until your late teens and early 20’s, but for now you have the opportunity to build a great base and form lifelong habits. Take advantage of the newb strenght gains that you will get, and if you still think you lack pressing strength in a couple years then pose your question again.

[quote]tedro wrote:
You are 15. Not many 15 year olds have significant muscular development in their arms. Anyways, it looks like your bench, squat, and deadlift are pretty proportional.

Your upper body is not behind your legs, you just have a lot of physical maturing to do. Keep lifting, concentrate on the major compound movements, and everything will get stronger. It’s a long road, and your biggest size gains won’t come until your late teens and early 20’s, but for now you have the opportunity to build a great base and form lifelong habits. Take advantage of the newb strenght gains that you will get, and if you still think you lack pressing strength in a couple years then pose your question again.[/quote]

Thanks tedro; that’s some really great advice. I totally agree with your comment “Your upper body is not behind your legs, you just have a lot of physical maturing to do.” I have noticed that myself and 99% of other males at my age have a similar build (undeveloped arms, upper body). Then I look at males who are maybe 19/20, and the average build is completely different. I truly do think that I just need to lift hard, eat enough, rest, and just sit back and enjoy the gains.

Thanks for the support.

[quote]tedro wrote:
You are 15. Not many 15 year olds have significant muscular development in their arms. Anyways, it looks like your bench, squat, and deadlift are pretty proportional.

Your upper body is not behind your legs, you just have a lot of physical maturing to do. Keep lifting, concentrate on the major compound movements, and everything will get stronger. It’s a long road, and your biggest size gains won’t come until your late teens and early 20’s, but for now you have the opportunity to build a great base and form lifelong habits. Take advantage of the newb strenght gains that you will get, and if you still think you lack pressing strength in a couple years then pose your question again.[/quote]

I disagree, at your age your hormones are jacked up, if you put the effort in, both in the kitchen and the weightroom, you are at the best time to grow. I used to gain 10-20 pounds a year from 14-18 from laying on my ass.

You are similar to how i was in high school. I was about 5’10 at 150lbs. I was never able to get big in highschool, and my lifts were very unproportianate. I could only squat 185, but I could bench 225, and clean 225.

If you want strong pressing power you should focus on close grip bench press, and push press or incline bench. Work these movements frequently up to 3-5 times a week, and with high intensity but low volume. 3 sets of 5 or 5 sets of 3. Lift heavy.

Its funny when i was in high school nobody ever told us anything about lifting heavy to get strong. We were always doing sets of 8-10, and considered sets of 6 really heavy. One day common sense just kicked in and in practicing for max bench, we started doing sets of 2 and 3 and our strength shot up.

Read some of Chad Waterbury’s articles on here about motor unit recruitement. They are beneficial. You have to lift heavy weights to get strong, but anything from about 70-90% of you 1rm is useful if you lift it with maximal intent.

[quote]Scrotus wrote:
I disagree, at your age your hormones are jacked up, if you put the effort in, both in the kitchen and the weightroom, you are at the best time to grow. I used to gain 10-20 pounds a year from 14-18 from laying on my ass.[/quote]

Your example actually helps support my arguement. You gained weight doing nothing because your body was physically maturing. Hormones are high in general, but the amount of free testosterone available to bond to androgen receptors in the muscle is low compared to an older teen. There are too many other maturing processes taking place for the muscles to compete for the free test necessary for growth beyond what his body would do without training. A similar arguement can be made for excess calories.

None of this is to say that the OP shouldn’t try to gain muscle mass, but the fact of the matter is that if he is like most adolescents his body won’t really be primed for muscle growth for 4-6 more years. Now is the time to build a good base, and he will still put on a few extra pounds of muscle. He will undoubtedly gain weight over the next year, but he cannot logically attribute 20 lbs of weight gain to his increase in weight training at this age.

On another note, at 15 I disagree with the idea of focusing exclusively on lifting. This is a time when he should be playing multiple sports throughout the year. This extra activity and calorie burning makes it even harder to gain muscle, but is great for joint and bone development and his athleticism in general. The habits and work ethic that he learns now will carry over into the rest of his life.

Want to get better at overhead pressing? Simple. Do some overhead pressing. Put it near first in your workout. If you’re concerned with 1RM, well, lift heavy!

I’m not even say specialize. I love overhead pressing, and when I do full body workouts or upper/lower splits, I tend to put overhead pressing first. Work on ALL your lifts, and progress will come.

[quote]tedro wrote:
Scrotus wrote:
I disagree, at your age your hormones are jacked up, if you put the effort in, both in the kitchen and the weightroom, you are at the best time to grow. I used to gain 10-20 pounds a year from 14-18 from laying on my ass.

Your example actually helps support my arguement. You gained weight doing nothing because your body was physically maturing. Hormones are high in general, but the amount of free testosterone available to bond to androgen receptors in the muscle is low compared to an older teen. There are too many other maturing processes taking place for the muscles to compete for the free test necessary for growth beyond what his body would do without training. A similar arguement can be made for excess calories.

None of this is to say that the OP shouldn’t try to gain muscle mass, but the fact of the matter is that if he is like most adolescents his body won’t really be primed for muscle growth for 4-6 more years. Now is the time to build a good base, and he will still put on a few extra pounds of muscle. He will undoubtedly gain weight over the next year, but he cannot logically attribute 20 lbs of weight gain to his increase in weight training at this age.

On another note, at 15 I disagree with the idea of focusing exclusively on lifting. This is a time when he should be playing multiple sports throughout the year. This extra activity and calorie burning makes it even harder to gain muscle, but is great for joint and bone development and his athleticism in general. The habits and work ethic that he learns now will carry over into the rest of his life.
[/quote]

at 15 he should have the energy to do all that shit and lift. Lifting should only take up 5 hours a week at most. 3-4 would probably be more acceptable. He could potentially double his natural weightgain through lifting and eating lots. Lots of guys come out of highschool big and strong MOFO’s. Shit, if he is in highschool, he can probably sign up for weighttraining as a class if they have it. And the extra physical activity would amplify his natural processes, not compete with them.
He also doesnt need any self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Smash weights, gain weight and set PR’s dude.