T Nation

ME Push Press Variations

Hey guys,

I’m looking to start training my push press and taking some time off benching for a while. Hopefully it’ll have some carryover into my athletic goals. Besides, my overhead pressing is WEAK compared to my bench.

Here’s the problem. I’m having trouble coming up with push press variations on an ME day. DE and RE days are covered, but the only other ME exercise I can come up with would be a push jerk.

Can anyone help out with this?


Well, you could always do standing and seated military, push press, push jerk (into a squat or split), dumbell variations, 1-arm barbell push press (probably a BAD idea for ME though…), snatch-grip, fat-bar or towel grips, log presses, 1-arm DB push press, bent press.

Some of them are getting away from a push press, I was just trying to throw a few things off the top of my head. The best are probably regular push press, push or split jerk and 1-arm DB presses with a towel wrapped around to make a fat grip.

I would also use some strict pressing variations on max effort day. But here are some of the exercises you could use

-push press
-push jerk
-strict standing overhead press
-behind the neck push press
-behind the neck push jerk
-incline bench press- good carry over here too

You could also use different bars and implements

-axle or 2 inch bar
-8 to 12" log press
-cambered bar overhead press (using cambered squat bar)
-dumbbell push press

There is just a few for ya.

How about strict overhead pressing? Seated and standing? Push press with dumbbells? Press off pins? Close grip push press? Wide grip push press? Staggered stance and feet together stance? Behind the neck push press?

Barbell, dumbell (log style), log, and thickbar to start.

Thanks guys.

I had most of these in mind but there are definitely a few new ideas.

Keep 'em coming!


I have no new exercises to offer, but be very careful when doing ME overhead presses. I’m normally not a big form or safety guy, but this is very serious on the overhead press. When you fail on an overhead press, which happens almost regularly on ME day if you push a little too hard to break past records, you have to make sure the bar is ditched forward. I almost broke my back when I was doing a set of ME push presses and it started to go backwards… Seriously, exercise careful judgement with this and don’t try to increase the weights too rapidly, especially if you workout alone like I do.

Louie Simmons talked about doing seated shoulder presses from a rack position just on top of the head.

Also, I like to do presses from the rack just to about the top of my head. Its more of a shoulder girdle builder here.

I would do a 3-5 rep max here because it is a shorter range.

I even think heavy front squat walkouts could be good, or overhead squat walkouts.

and don’t forget bands.

Also, press to an isometric stop in the rack and try to hold for a 5 or 10 count.

Oh yea, and kneeling push presses.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
Oh yea, and kneeling push presses.[/quote]

I have never heard of these, how are they done. Do you have pic’s or a video?


[quote]Will42 wrote:
mertdawg wrote:
Oh yea, and kneeling push presses.

I have never heard of these, how are they done. Do you have pic’s or a video?


No I’m just being creative.

[quote]Will42 wrote:
mertdawg wrote:
Oh yea, and kneeling push presses.

I have never heard of these, how are they done. Do you have pic’s or a video?


They would be like a Westside “Kneeling squat”

By the way, you can also loop bands under your feet and over your shoulders to overload the leg drive portion of the push press.

Seesaw press. Shoulder friendly OH press variation.

I like the log, if you have access to one, for a max effort OH movement. I find the parallel handles are easier on my shoulders.

DB presses with a neutral grip are also good in this regard, but thay aren’t really well suited as ME movement.

Something that really helped me develope the push press was doing the push press against band tension. Using the bands really helped me develope my triceps for lock the weight out. Looks like you’ve got lots of great suggestions here. I wouldn’t bother with the push jerk and stuff like that for a max effort exercise.

What you really need is to focus on strengthening your triceps since a properly executed push press is all lowerbody with a tricep lockout at the top. Try to focus on things that are really going to deal with tricep lockout.

I forgot to mention, if you do do push presses with lots of band tension, be sure to wear a belt. Overloading the top portion of the push press is so hard on your core that it’s borderline risky in the sense that it could hyperextend your back if you lose control.

One of your posters mentioned using caution when doing overhead work since you can hyperextend your back. This goes double when using alot of band tension.

[quote]KombatAthlete wrote:

I almost broke my back when I was doing a set of ME push presses and it started to go backwards…[/quote]

It’d be best to do them on an Olympic platform with the proper barbell and bumper plates. If you lose the bar towards the back, just keep the arms straight as long as you can and then step forwards. This is how an Olympic lifter would do it.

There’s almost no chance of injury if you do this correctly. You don’t need amazing shoulder flexibility either, but if you’re wary, dislocates with a stretch band, broomstick, or long towel can let you stretch your shoulders in this way.

bradford presses should also be added to the list, Jim Wendler used those to reach his best bench pr, not to mention its placement in most north american oly lifters’ routines