T Nation

Military Press Questions

Hello all,

I stopped doing military presses about 6 months back because I was getting shoulder impingement issues. However, I really suspect that it had more to do with form and trying to do them on a bench at home instead of a bench meant for presses at the gym. Well, I am now the proud momber of a gym :), and I have access to all kinds of equipment. I have also just started the OVT program, and military presses are one of the exercise used in that program. I guess I have two issues.
  1. If I use the bench meant for military presses, can I get some advice on how to avoid shoulder impingement issues?

  2. Is the Smith machine a better choice for someone with a brief history of shoulder impingements?

Thanks!

JF

BTW I have only been lifting for 10 months, and I really think that much of my shoulder probelms was due to lack of experience/lack of stretching/lack of good form rather than a real genetic problem that will never go away. I could be wrong, but my shoulder has been fine for months, so…

I had similar. I found that

(a) doing them standing for a while
(b) trying overhead squats

made a huge huge difference. I go behind the neck and I’m more comfortable there (that’s just me). But I’m really confident doing militaries whereas before doing the above two points, I was not. I didn’t feel like I was under the weight properly. So give the above a stab.

[quote]Jesus_Freak wrote:
Is the Smith machine a better choice for …[/quote]

This kind of question is just inviting a stream of rapid-fire email answers calling into question your mental capacity, parentage, level of literacy, IQ and the career choices of your maternal antecedents.

So I’ll go out on a limb here and say “NO - unless you want to hang your towel on it.”

LOL

Thanks :slight_smile:

I’ve read MANY disparinging remarks about the Smith Mahcine here, but I thought I’d at least ask the question.

JF

[quote]flynniec6 wrote:
(a) doing them standing for a while
[/quote]

Is this done in the Squat rack?

Also, you mentioned that doing them behind your head helps. I think that will help me as well as one of the problems was that my shoulders, I think, were too far forward…

JF

Like Flynnie said, do them standing. I’ve also found that there are some exercises I can only do with dumbbells to avoid hurting my shoulders (incline bench and military press are two of the main ones).

[quote]Jesus_Freak wrote:
flynniec6 wrote:
(a) doing them standing for a while

Is this done in the Squat rack?

Also, you mentioned that doing them behind your head helps. I think that will help me as well as one of the problems was that my shoulders, I think, were too far forward…

JF
[/quote]

You realize that you don’t need a rack or a bench or anything to do military presses? You can just clean the weight to your shoulder and press from a standing position.

I didn’t even know they made a bench for overhead presses. Is that like a 90 degree upright bench with uprights to hold the bar?

No, you don’t need a squat rack. Clean or snatch the weight and then press away. Even if your shoulders give out so you can’t finish the last rep, you should have enough power to push press it back over your head to let it down on the front. You can leave it sit on your shoulders in the bottom position for a few seconds to get your breath back.

Re: benches for military press - yes they do exist and it’s exactly as you described it. Regular bench with a high back to it at 90 degrees, and a rack for holding the bar. I saw them in every decent-sized gym in the US.

[quote]Jesus_Freak wrote:
flynniec6 wrote:
(a) doing them standing for a while

Is this done in the Squat rack?

Also, you mentioned that doing them behind your head helps. I think that will help me as well as one of the problems was that my shoulders, I think, were too far forward…

JF
[/quote]

You will find that doing presses behind your head will hurt your shoulder even worse. Do them in front and feep the bar just in front of your head, lowering it now lower than your chin.

I agree with flynniec6.

Doing OHS and standing military press has helped my shoulders substantially. I had impingement surgery last November and was still having pain until May 2005. It was then that I started OHS and standing military press and my shoulder feels 100%. Little or no pain unless I bench, I have also been doing a lot of heavy bent over barbell rows with a supinated(palms facing up) grip.

Sully

[quote]flynniec6 wrote:
I had similar. I found that
(a) doing them standing for a while
(b) trying overhead squats

made a huge huge difference. I go behind the neck and I’m more comfortable there (that’s just me). But I’m really confident doing militaries whereas before doing the above two points, I was not. I didn’t feel like I was under the weight properly. So give the above a stab.[/quote]

I had the same thing Sully had done w/ a half inch shaved off my collar bone. The impingement your getting is from an imbalance in your shoulder girdle. You must train your rear delt/upper back as well as you train your front delt/ upper chest area, or this will happen. Try the over head squats or do snatches w/ kettlebells or dumbells and try presses for each rep if the military press is bothering you. Basicly if it hurts stop doing it and try something else. Most folks only think of delts and traps when it comes to shoulders but there is much more involved that needs to be worked such as the scapula area, upper back and reasr delt work. Healthy shoulders mean happy shoulders.

I also cannot do military press without undue pain. I find though that I have improved my shoulder development by OHS and snatch varieties, push press, jerks, and turkish get-ups. Better all round should development without the pain I had when I was benching and doing military press.

There is no bench for a military press. A military press is a standing press. Any bench is for seated overhead press and just doesn’t give the same kind of development the standing version will.

  • Sean

[quote]BIGRAGOO wrote:
You will find that doing presses behind your head will hurt your shoulder even worse. Do them in front and feep the bar just in front of your head, lowering it now lower than your chin.[/quote]

I have to disagree. One of the key things I learned with overhead squats is that what you think is full ROM in your shoulders isn’t. Now that I have it, I’m ten time more comfortable lifting militaries.

Having said that, make sure you’re not lowering the bar too much. It’s a military press, not a weighted stretch. I touch my neck where the traps insert and not much lower.

[quote]BIGRAGOO wrote:
Jesus_Freak wrote:
flynniec6 wrote:
(a) doing them standing for a while

Is this done in the Squat rack?

Also, you mentioned that doing them behind your head helps. I think that will help me as well as one of the problems was that my shoulders, I think, were too far forward…

JF

some one with sum sense, i completely agree doing this behind ur head will cause all sorts of problems unless u got perfect posture and the chances of that are very slim.

You will find that doing presses behind your head will hurt your shoulder even worse. Do them in front and feep the bar just in front of your head, lowering it now lower than your chin.[/quote]