T Nation

Military Press & Bench Relationship


I bench around 295 without a shirt and am trying to a 300 lb. bench press. After looking through some of the training logs here I noticed that many guys who bench similar numbers as me have much higher working weights with a military press than I do.

My bench has been stuck at this 290-295 mark for awhile now (meaning 3 months or so.) For the longest time, if I tried to max out on the military press, I could only do 135 for a couple a of heavy singles.

For whatever reason now, my working weights with the military press are really starting to move up. The other day, I tried to work with 135 to see how many times I could do it (since I use it as an assistance exercise I had been noticing that my working weights have been going up...) and I did it for 5 times and then 4,3,3 and 2.

Thing is though my bench press isn't moving along with it...

I actually enjoy doing the movement; I have long arms so both the bench and military press don't come easy for me, so I consider them a challenge, BUT, now the fact that one is going up while the other one is not has me wondering is military presses are actually a worthwhile assistance exercise to improve ones bench press. What do you think? Is there much of a correlation between the two? Kind of like how when your deadlift goes up your squat follows or vice versa?


Maybe try letting your shoulders fully recover before testing your bench max again.


There could be a number of reasons why your bench isnt going up. Your shoulders do seem fairly weak.

What's your routine like? Diet?


Id def keep working on your military press, but dont max out on it. Try some middle rep ranges like 6-10 and use a narrower grip to keep your shoulders good for bench. Its been helping mine quite a bit.


My routine is basically a Westside Barbell one that I modified for a raw lifter. I try for a 3 or a 1 rep max one day a week, followed by assistance exercises on Sunday; on Wednesday I do a DE workout (usually with chains or bands) and then assistance work. Mondays I do lat work. Tuesdays shrug work and Thursdays lat work. One day a week or more I also have arm workouts (usually supersetting bis with tris-chicks).

I do the anabolic diet. I can't train my legs because of back problems.


A long time ago I used to do military presses as a max rep movement, but nowadays I usually use it as an assistance movement in the 5 to 12 rep range.


I've been wondering this exact thing. Especially since my shoulders NEED work.

Answers appreciated!


One question though.... If it was my shoulders, why is my working weights with the military press going up but the bench isn't following?


Ask Jim Wendler in the 5/3/1 section. The king of the military press :wink:


push press will allow you to use more weight (and that is a good thing). Milt press I can do more seated than standing but I think the biggest variation is how far you come down. Some people only come down to the top of their head, others only go to 90 degrees, I always go to upper chest/clavicle region and that means my numbers look a lot lower than some asshats who like to do half reps (or worse).

Blast your upper back and I would be suprised if your bp doesn't take a jump.


How much has your military gone up since your bench stopped moving? Where are you failing on the bench, 1-2 inches off the chest? Lockout?


IMO I would just do 5/3/1. Get off westside.


The shoulders might not be the whole problem.


you max out too damn much, get back to the speed work and such


I max out benching with different boards (1bd.2bd.3bd,4bd,etc.) and throw in full ROM sometimes.
In Westside you never max out on the same exercise more than 2 or 3 weeks in a row.


I was doing 85 for 3 sets of 10, now I can almost get 115 for 3 sets of 10. When I bench, if I fail its usually a few inches off of the chest or off of the chest.


Westside really works well from my bench. I took it from 255 to 295. Now I just can't break this plateau.


He should only be doing speed work if he doesnt have good bar speed.


If you wanna stick to Westside, then take out the DE day. Replace it with a Repitition day, doing higher reps, (id say 8-12). You can use a bar, dumbbells, or both. Do that for a month or so, or until your bench goes up, and report back.


wow... I don't know about the correlation, but I do remember seeing the Bench Press video of EliteFTS with the guy saying shoulder presses help him break 500lbs.

However, I would like to see how you are shoulder pressings. Those numbers 295lbs (bench press single) vs 135lbs (shoulder press 5times) look too far off.

I don't bench regularly anymore, last time I max out for shits and giggles after my regular workout I did 225lbs x3. But I can do standing shoulder presses with 135lbs for 5reps easely.

I haven't tried maxing out on barbell presses recently, but yesterday I maxed on dumbell shoulder press. I hit a single with 75lbs dumbell with my left arm, and 75lbs double right arm. (Major torso bending on those btw)