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Military Press: Standing vs Sitting


Well, I just started doing stanging military presses as opposed to sitting.

I noticed that I was only able to do 115 for 4 sets of (6,6,5,5). I was able to get 145 for sets of 6 seated.

Relativley speaking, I haven't done much in regards to overhead presses of any kind, and only realy started doing them about 3-4 months ago.

Would the weakness from standing as opposed to sitting be from weak stabilizing core muscles? I noticed on my first missed rep (third set while going for 6) my whole body kind of shook, almost like what happened when I first started doing front squats.

I did just get done doing 10X3 in bench, but I felt realy good when I started the military presses.

Any thoughts?


You might be leaning back more with the seated press. Also you're starting the standing press at the bottom that will hinder your ability to use more weight. Keith Wassung posted an article he wrote and he said he like to start his seated presses in the bottom position to simulate standing presses.


I think you're spot on in regards to stabilising muscles being an influence on your lifting numbers.
We are almost certainly weaker in multi-joint exercises, one explanation (and a pretty good one) notes 'leaking' as the culprit: http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=560555


Another thing to consider is: you may be using your legs to help the lift on the standing version.


There's nothing wrong with this, but isn't using your legs called a jerk? As in clean and jerk?


A slight dip of the legs and then driving through is a push press.

Dipping the legs to start the drive and then while pressing, dropping your body down (via a split, legs out to the side, or just going down) is a jerk. This effectively shortens the distance that it is necessary for you to move the bar.


On a jerk, you drop one of your legs back behind you, if your feet remain planted it is a push press.

I think that your standing press will catch up pretty quickly once the supporting musculature gets with the program.


Yea, I was thinking about that when I was doing them. I did catch myself doing that twards the end of my sets.

The reps I missed (last one on the last 2 sets), I actually went up on my toes (bad form, I know) but still didn't finish the reps, I only got the bar half way up.

That's what I'm hoping. I've been using my belt less for squats and deads (though I used it for my 10X3 squat day monday).

Before I started doing CW's routines, I almost never did any direct ab or lower back work.



If you want to improve your standing military press, you need to make your whole body "tighter" when lifting. To assist with this, try (1) having your heels together and (2) clenching your butt cheeks. Guaranteed to help you lift more.

And BTW, seated military presses can be pretty hard on the vertebrae. Standing is better because your legs take some of the force, even if you don't dip at all.


Thanks. I was actually doing the opposite because I was worried about balance. I did feel my butt start to shake when I was at the end (no pun intended) of my sets.

I'll try that next week.


Seated are easier for me, and I assume it's because I'm using leverage by leaning back against the back of the seat. I do all my presses standing now; I like to think it's all me doing a standing press, rather than me and a chair doing essentially a steep incline bench.


Try cleaning the bar before each set of presses or overhead lifts. This helps me get tight for presses or push-presses.


Wheb doing the standing military press, is it bad to arch the back so your chest is facing upwards? I naturally do this and have been told it is bad, good, and ugly but which is true and is it because of abs or erector spinae being weak?


It's nice to do some of those 'push press' movements once in a while to get an extra rep out or two, when doing the standing military.


Standing Presssing strength/stability also increases by standing with your feet staggered, ie one in front of the other.

Dan John has a Getup article on his site that talks about working up to a 300lb overhead press. Lots of great ideas in his little magazine.


I would bo both alternately-they both work the shoulders, but pressing a weight overhead while you stand-whether for a strict press or push press-makes your whole body strong as hell-more so than seated presses of any kinds. Your body shook because you lack static strength in your core muscles-spinal erectors, obliques and abs. Research anything written on here by Keith Wassung-do a search for him as his overhead strength is excellent. He helped me get back over a 300lb press. Email me with questions


I think that's great advice. I have found that doing heavy push presses greatly increases your standing press strength. By lowering the bar slowly after a push press I think your body gets used to handling a heavier weight and that makes the normal press much easier.