My OHP Lags Behind

Hi everyone,

I hit a Pr of 52.5kgx5 on OHP and would appreciate some help. I hit 100kg5 and 112.51 on bench, but my OHP for some reason is really bad. I used to do all reps deadstop but switched to TNG.

One thing I notice my wrists are very bent. The reason for this is if I unbend them the bar won’t rest on my clavicle but “float”.

It’s weird because my shoulders have become a very good part of my physique, I train them very stubbornly. Yet strength wise I’m barely stronger than a year ago.

115 and 120

Probably a programming issue and probably a simple one.


Good thing they aren’t part of the sport.

What is your method of programming?

@bulldog9899 used for 531 for 3 months, then had an “online coach” for three months that actually drove my OHP down, and now back on 5/3/1. I’m stronger on everything, even supp stuff like curls or pullups, but my OHP did not improve.

@Ramo Yet I really want that bodyweight OHP but it seems literally unfeasible. I use 5/3/1.

Give me a break down on lets say your last 3x3 week what did that session looked like …weights and reps ,what are you using as a training Max?

could I ask your actual age Height and weight and training age(how long you have been lifting)


Last session of 33 was 383, 433, 507 PR. I usually do some BW Pull ups in between as per Webster’s advice to keep my back pumped and shoulders warm. Today I did 405, 453 and 52.55 followed by a super slow and sketchy 57.51. Training max was 54 kg.

I’m 1m85, 96-97 kg, aiming to gain a few more. I’ve trained seriously considering exactly two years. The first year was unproductive due to inexperience, stupid BB programs, and maxing out on deads every week which led to a lumbar injury.

It was pretty bad but I sucked it up and kept training bench and OHP and light legs. This was a year ago, last summer towards august I started back super light on Front squats (50kg) and Sumo deads (110). Right now I can Front squat 100 for 4*2 and pulled 175 from the floor. One major thing thst helped me is no belt. I only use it for bench and heavy farmer walks.

A bit besides the topic but considering your past injury I’d still consider the belt. It can reduce spinal disc pressure. The reduce in core muscle activation is minimal at worst and nonexistent at best.

Just offering my empathy. 365 PR bench, 170 PR OHP.


I was going to say the same thing. When I was focusing more on OHP I did 170x3, last spring I did something like 135x10 or 12. I have benched 365x1(not quite a max) and 345x3. Some people claim that OHP helps to build their bench but I haven’t found it to be true at all in my case. Josh Bryant has several guys benching over 600 and I haven’t heard of any of them doing any overhead work except Jeremy Hoornstra. Matt Wenning benches over 600 as well and he says to make your triceps the strong link in your bench rather than pecs and shoulders or you are not going to last long, there is more potential for injury. He had a video on his facebook page where he was doing dumbbell OHP with something like 170 (can’t remember exactly) for high reps, he said that he hadn’t done any overhead work in months but just felt like changing it up for the day. Overhead pressing seems to work for some people, but definitely not all.

The question is, are you doing OHP do increase your bench or your OHP? If you just want a big OHP then adding more volume will probably make a big difference, as well as training it at least twice a week. High incline press was a common assistance lift when they still has clean and press in weightlifting, apparently Zydrunas Savickas likes to do it on a smith machine to build his log press.

@locomotor I see where you’re coming from, but to be honest my back issues are minimal since I ditched the belt. I had pain on 2 plates with a belt on in Sumo because it actually keeps me from being able to get into a good position. Same for squat.

It does help on stuff like cheat shrugs and farmer walks though.

@brady888 haha thanks man! Do you have short arms?

@chris_ottawa I actually have found that OHP helped me build my bench. I didn’t bench for 3 months last year and only did high rep close grip and OHP, and my bench went from 90 to 102.5. Now I don’t see any improvement, asides from the fact that healthy shoulders make bench feel more stable.

I want a Big OHP!! I’d rather OHP 2 plates then bench 3 plates. Ironically, I have more chance of hitting a 3 plate bench as it’s easier to put on 65 lbs on bench then 90 on OHP. The incline is a good idea. I’m going to start BBB program, and do inclines instead of bench on the 5*10. Is there anythinf I could fix in my form?

I can see how training only OHP can make your bench go up, but not necessarily as much as if you had trained bench as well. If you can OHP 300 then you can probably bench at least 315, whether you train it or not

I’m trying to get my bench up to 4 plates, but I’m not sure I can OHP 2 plates.

For incline, I’m talking high incline like 70 degrees or so. Look up some of Zydrunas Savickas’ videos and you should be able to find an example. I saw that on Greg Nuckols’ facebook page, he was using that as an example of how the smith machine isn’t just for pussies. You can do it free weight too, I’m just saying.

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For OHP, 531 did nothing for me. Not enough frequency. I do OHP a minimum of twice a week now with some lighter overhead work thrown in to practice the movement. Went from struggling with 135 for 5 to 205 for a single in a matter of a few months. Then I tore a tendon in my wrist, didn’t press anything for 3 months and went back and could still hit 165 for a single considering. Definitely up the frequency and volume imo.

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You could try the monolith program or switching to a 3 day 531 and try FSL on the first day and jokers on the second. On the first day do 5s pro for your sets, 5x3 on the FSL and push for a high rep last set and the second day work up to a top 3, 2, or 1. I would even try to do a 3x3, 5x2 or 8x1 keeping The Rule of 10 in mind. But this isn’t really 531 anymore I suppose

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Keeping on track with the off-topic I started: have you tried putting your belt higher up your torso? I keep my belt nearly on my sternum for deadlift to get in a better position at the start. I also had problems getting in a good position to start the lift when the belt was lower on my abdomen. Higher position felt excellent from the start.

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I’m not sure which sport is the sport, but they’re a part of strongman.

@pullheavy_eatsteak The best thing I’ve done for my strict press using 5/3/1 is to go for a rep PR on the topset, then another rep PR FSL. For assistance work on that day, I do 150-200 dips. On my bench day, I do push press for assistance work.

Using that approach got me to a 4x216lb strict press at 195lbs last week, and setting PRs through out all of my training.


My OHP improved on 531 with the following approach.
531 set rep then ladder down to AMRAP on last set or when I did 531 rep set then 5x10 At 50,55,60% for the 3 week wave.
Also clavicles to say abgout chin is a lot of rotator cuff , chin and up is more deltoid and less cuff.
Get everything tight and grip the floor with your toes.
OHP doesn’t help my bench

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4x216, nice! How do you structure the 150-200 dips? Do you use your BW or do you add weight?

Thanks dude. I alwayd stick with bodyweight. I do 2 big rest pause sets, splitting the total reps in half. 12 deep breaths between rest pause attempts, 2-3 minutes between sets proper.


I think the original post was moved from the powerlifting section to here. Obviously wouldn’t have noted that had I known we were in this subforum.

OP, 5/3/1 is good, my press always thrived. The Training Maximally program from Beyond was the most successful for me, got me to a 245 strict press at about 205. Key was bagging a bunch of volume after the heavy work, just a ton of sets of 5-8 with 70-80% of the TM. Frequency was about 1.5x/wk.

In general, press responds well to a bunch of submax volume, which you can accumulate in a number of different ways, either the couple sets of limit reps, e.g., TMxPR, FSLxRM, or via a bunch of sets.

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I agree that it’s literally impossible to OHP 300 and not bench 3 plates. I think you have to make a choice just like I do, either improve OHP, it seems very difficult to increase both at the same time.

I see, so doing basically what some guys call OHP, which is somewhere between incline bench and OHP in degrees? I could see myself doing it, but def not on the smith. I hate shit that locks my joints in a certain plane of motion. I used to do leg curls and shit and biceps machine but I booted it for that reason. I don’t think smith is for pussies, it just felt so incredibly akward on every exercise I tried it on.

@locomotor I have in the past, ended up rounding lower back even more. Maybe I should try it again, but it actually feels so good to lift whitout it!

@oldbeancam Yes, I think you have a point. I will OHP twice a week on BBB, 510,58 and 5*5 which should be enough volume on top of normal 5/3/1.

I like your suggestion in your second post, that seems really nice! Tons of volume plus heavy work, but I suppose if I do that I can forget about bench?
I might have to put it on the back burner to focus on OHP more.
@T3hPwnisher Wow that’s exactly what I did! Always push for max reps and add a FSL set after. It still feels weird that I can OHP 45*11 (not failure) and 60 barely goes up haha!

Nice stats!! 216*4 at 195 is absolutely incredible!!! Don’t you find your shoulders to get thight after doing bench? And I like the idea of dips, but they seem to pull something in my shoulder,form is perfect as most pressing movements, any idea? Nothing else hurts, not even BTN press.

@clee78 Your suggestion seems similar to the others in this thread, I think you guys are onto something haha. I always fail on forehead level, I actually once literally rested the bar on the top of my head on a failed pr lol

@Ramo I have the beyond book, will check that out later. Do you think press could respond to 510 @ 65%, 58 at 70 and 55 at 75? I really want to do boring but big, but I could do it for bench and squat, for deadlifts I’ll do snatch pulls from blocks, and I could use some of the suggestions here on the thread, or this BBB variation would work? There is also 53 and 5*1 variations.

Thank you to all the people that replied to this thread, I really appreciate it guys!