T Nation

Military Press Help!!!


My main lifts have all been going through the roof in terms of strength gains ever since I ditched a 6 day split and focused solely on these compound lifts. The only exception has been the barbell military press. I started out doing 3X10 with 115 and a week later was repping 135. Now almost a month later I can't seem to get my military press above 145 for 6 reps. What can be my problem with this? Do you think there are any underlying muscular imbalances that are in play here? This is also enigmatic to me because i can rep dumbell military press with 75's for 8 reps. Please help!!! Thanks


Problem is 1 month means nothing.

Why you in a rush son?


MP has a greater range of motion than most people's version of DB press. Technique is important in MP, there are some great articles on the PRESS at http://ditillo2.blogspot.com . You will have to look through the lists of articles to find a good description of the technique of the MP when it was the primary pressing movement in the 40s and 50s.


Looks like progress to me, even in the last month were your progresshas slowed you still added 10 pounds to the bar.
Follow the link above and see if you an get some good tips on improving your form. You need to realise that the military press uses less weight then the other big lifts though and so your weight will increase slower.


do you think my rotator cuff impingement has anything to do with my troubles with this press? my rotators have been bad for a year now, went to physical therapy and although range of motion has improved, my pain is still there. do you think this plays an effect?


Absolutely. The rotator cuff is vital in essentially every pushing motion, especially in those above the head. If your rotator cuff is bad, the last thing you want to do is make it worse as it's such an important group of muscles. That being said, all muscle groups are important.


Doing standing MP has helped my impingement problems, be patient and the gains will come. Remember to start pressing the bar back behing your head as it clears your forehead, don't lean back with the bar in front of you as you press the bar up.


Add in heavy scap work. That can help stabilize your shoulder girdle better and help your rot. cuffs. Make sure your mid back is a priority or your shoulders could suffer. Dan john and john meadows have some good info on stuff like this and exercises if you need them. Assuming that's your pro pic shown I would say you need to add WAY more rowing and way more stretching of the anterior muscles and internal rotators (lats, pecs, anterior delts, infraspinatus). You definitely have kyphosis and I think it would be wise to work on those things to fix it, otherwise your shoulders will continue to suck. If the press hurts or pinches at all Id drop it. Fix the kyphosis and I bet you will get stronger, as will your press.


what is kyphosis and what makes you say i have it? i'm not being defensive at all but i'm surprised as i have been training my entire body with the same balance


VTTrainer is right. I've had similar problems with military presses, impingement and kyphosis. I would start doing more overall back work (especially upper back/traps)relative to your anterior presses. Hold the squeeze for a count at the top of EVERY row (Thibaudeau preaches this a lot because it works). I would also recommend switching to push presses for a while. I made the switch when I encountered a similar problem (impingement and lack of progress). Push presses not only eliminate the portion of the movement that can potentially be hardest on the rotator cuff, but also allows you to get used to heavier weights in the top position, helping your muscles and nervous system get used to handling heavier weight. A strong core always helps, too.


Kyphosis is the rounding of the shoulders/thoracic spine forward and/or down. Usually means tight anterior muscles (Pecs, pec minor, anterior delts) and weak upper posterior muscles (traps, rear delts, probably neck, and rhomboids)


You're not old enough to be calling people son, boy.


10 pds increase in 4 week (1 mth) seems like a decent, if not good progress to me, you cant except ur lifts to go up every week all the time, otherwise everyone will be pressing 315 for reps and benching 500 pds.

Also, have ur bench been stalling or at least not progressing as fast, I find the 2 seem to have a correlation

Also, stance can have an effect on ur press also, for example I seem to be to press more (roughly 10lb) if I stand with 1 feet behind while pressing as compared to the conventional stance


what exercises work best in combating kyphosis?


plz don't talk to my friend like that.

oh btw i standing military 225x7. come at me bro


More upper back work relative to your presses. I guess a general rule of thumb would be to do 1.5 to 2 times as many sets of rows as you do for chest/pressing shoulders for a little while. Work with STRICT rear delt flys, face pulls, exterior rotation exercises for the shoulder, behind the back "Haney" shrugs, and DB pullovers across a bench work well to stretch the pecs and pec minor while also working the lats. And honestly, squeezing the back extra hard for a count at the top of each rep during rows really adds to the effectiveness of them. It's humbling, as you will probably need to use less weight, but anyone who lets their ego get in the way of their training is bound to fail/fuck up at some point. Plus the pump is insane, so you'll definitely feel more jacked.


Ok so you said you have "rotator cuff" problems and I don't think enough people are taking this into consideration. you must address that problem first. You cannot possibly push yourself as hard as possible with lingering pain and the threat that it could get worse. Being a pitcher for years, I know about rotator cuff problems. Try these tests and see how you match up. If you can't perform them properly, you need to increase shoulder mobility.

1) Stand flat with your back against a wall with your arms up at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. You should be able to keep your butt, legs, heels, shoulders, elbows, and hands in contact with the wall without too much discomfort. Don't arch your back either to compensate....someone should barely be able to fit a hand into the gap between your lower back and the wall.

2) Grab broomstick with your hands very wide, wider even than a snatch grip. you should be able to bring the broomstick up and over your head, rotating your shoulders as you do so, with your arms straight...touching the broomstick almost to your back before returning the same way. This is a great warmup and will get your chest opened up nicely.

Sorry the second one has a bad description I hope you get what I'm saying. These should be pain free.


I am not sure abt the name of the first one but for the second stretchng excerise, most ppl call it "shoulder dislocation " excerise, I utilized both before my benching workout, I find both loosen up my shoulder joints, scapula and kind of "expand" the ribcage


Pfft! I've had both my rotator cuff's tied together and anchored to the bone. The latest on Dec 12 of 09 and I Military like a champ. Quit worrying about what you're moving and keeping working the damn things.


That lady has a lovely set of breathing apparatus