T Nation

Is The Overhead Press Really Necessary


#1

I use abbreviated routines as my preferred training method due to age and time restraints and only having the energy for a handful of exercises after a full day at work.

My main goals are always to improve my Squat, Deadlift and bench so personally I don't use the overhead press preferring to alternate between regular bench and close grip bench, I do however do plenty of rear laterals and occasionally use wide grip upright rows.

So my question is am I missing out by not using the overhead press and what does it do that I can't get from rows and benching ?


#2

IMO overhead work is actually better for the shoulders health for most then the Bench.


#3

I’ve never had any shoulder issues but I have had a problem with my left elbow ( tennis elbow ) and I find close grip benching easier on my elbow than overhead press.

When I looked into the overhead press whilst it works the front head well the lateral heads and rear heads don’t actually get much work which I found quite surprising.

I’m not against the lift and if I was younger with better recovery and able to train more often I would with out doubt use the exercise as I indeed did many years ago when I trained in the past.


#4

Everyone is different.

I am 54 and have problems with both shoulders.

I haven’t benched in years and have to do presses with dumbells.


#5

If your goal is to improve your benching and you give two fifths of fuck all about pressing, I would say you’re better served using your pressing time to bench (or assist the bench)


#6

[quote]tsantos wrote:
If your goal is to improve your benching and you give two fifths of fuck all about pressing, I would say you’re better served using your pressing time to bench (or assist the bench) [/quote]
Your best bench?


#7

[quote]bulldog9899 wrote:
IMO overhead work is actually better for the shoulders health for most then the Bench. [/quote]

I agree with bulldog9899 on this. I had not been able to OHP without discomfort for years because of mobility / posture issues. Once I finally addressed and corrected, adding overhead work back in to my program has been a game changer. I feel it keeps my shoulders healthier than without, has good crossover in building bench (push press anyway), and frankly is just fun. I had struggled with 135 when adding them back a couple of years ago - now within spitting distance of body weight press…which is my goal (237lb). Of course to each their own depending on goals…my $.02


#8

[quote]Grove wrote:

[quote]bulldog9899 wrote:
IMO overhead work is actually better for the shoulders health for most then the Bench. [/quote]

I agree with bulldog9899 on this. I had not been able to OHP without discomfort for years because of mobility / posture issues. Once I finally addressed and corrected, adding overhead work back in to my program has been a game changer. I feel it keeps my shoulders healthier than without, has good crossover in building bench (push press anyway), and frankly is just fun. I had struggled with 135 when adding them back a couple of years ago - now within spitting distance of body weight press…which is my goal (237lb). Of course to each their own depending on goals…my $.02 [/quote]
EXACTLY!!!


#9

In general the first things you want to add to any program are the six main movement patterns:

  1. Upper body vertical push/pull
  2. Upper body horizontal push/pull
  3. Lower body quad dominant/hip dominant

After that I generally make sure I’m covering the major joints:

  1. Knees
  2. Elbows
  3. Shoulders
  4. Wrists
  5. Ankles
  6. Spine

Note: The Neck is a minor joint for this purpose.

Then if there is any room left I work the muscles that aren’t already covered.

So in general, yeah I’d say that some form of upper body vertical push should be in your program.