My OHP Lags Behind

I do find that my shoulders are tight after benching, but it just means pressing with tight shoulders. I like to train fatigued, because it means, when I’m not fatigued, I perform even better.

For dips, play around with lean angle. Some folks need a super upright style, some need more of a forward lean.

I still bench once a week, I just don’t care about it as much. I use close grip to help build my triceps for the press. Its all about priorities. Some weeks I push my cgbp and work up to a heavy triple, back down with a 5x3 around 75% and then amrap the weight at the end going for upwards of 20. Other weeks I just do a 2x10 2x8 1x6 and move on. It just depends really. But I would try to actually FOCUS on one to two movements, maybe three if your first two are smaller. I really want a 725 dead and 275 overhead at some point in my life preferavly by 30. So I focus on these two. Sometimes I do dips and push those hard. Sorry for the long post, but I strongly believe in focusing your efforts versus being into everything but mastering none

Also think about this when you train. I always do above the knee rack pulls or some.form of lockout before deads because it makes the weight feel easier and I know I’m good for more. I also only overhead press after deads because my back is fatigued so I do more when I’m fresh. Had I had not injured my wrist, I probably could have hit a 215-225 fresh because I hit the 205 after doing my second day of deads which is volume. Again, this goes back to focusing your efforts.

A second exercise , after my 531 sets and reps that has helped me is close grip OHP, from the eye/ forehead level.
Years ago we would do plate presses. Grap a 25 or 45 and press from the top of the head and up.
If your gym had a loading pin, you can be more precise with weight.
When you finish your work , grap the plate and hit 25-50 reps to finish. It’s a lot of tricep, but will help your press as well

1 Like

Question: did you train OHP twice a week with 5/3/1 sets and %? Or was it once a week with 5/3/1 sets + another once a week with lighter sets (i.e. 5x10 at 50-60%)?
I’m in a similar situation as the OP, I want to increase OHP. On OHP I do 5/3/1 sets then 5x10 at 50-60% of TM, then I have bench day with close grip BP as 5/3/1 exercises and wanted to fit in, again, OHP 5x10 at 50-60% of TM

I think you will see more benefit with less strict pressing and more variety of assistance exercises. Dips and push ups would go far. If you absolutely have to press twice a week, make one of those 5x10s a push press.

I’ve seen your post and a few questions came to mind:

-push press, I’ve done it for a while and didn’t see any direct transfer to OHP. Jim has an article about it and he concluded he’s unsure if it actually transfers to strict pressing, while consensus between people seems split on the matter… I thought that at some point, the use of leg drive and timing of the push would trump the actual pressing action, but not sure. Do you do them with some specific timing or such? Like slow eccentric, pausing at the top? And, would you recommend to use any of these techniques?

-dips: done them for most of the 5/3/1 training, 5x10 bodyweight. Same as above, I’m not sure they helped my OHP, I’ve tried different with width and angles (some angles bug my shoulders). I.e., a week ago I did them after benching with a wider grip and a lot of forward angle, ended up bugging my shoulders the day after. I’ve read you do 150-200 per session but I guess you do that many because your strength level is very high, correct?

Also, last thing is: I still have no clue if I should do the heaviest sets of OHP with a touch and go kind of style or resetting the posture each rep

First, a small pet peeve; push press IS an overhead press. So is strict press. Pretty much any pressing over ones head is an overhead press. What Jim advocates in 5/3/1 is the press.

That being said, I agree with your observations about push press to press carryover. It’s why I originally said to do less pressing in general, but if you MUST, make one a push press. It probably won’t benefit you as much as some dips and push ups probably will, but it’s at leasr another press you can do that isn’t strict pressing.

Strict pressing twice a week tends to beat up my shoulders, and I observe the same for many. You could try one day straight bar and one day with a swiss bar, log, keg or dumbbells just to change the stimulus and stress.

I use 150-200 dips because Jim recommended it in Building the Monolith, and it works. 5x10 is a little low on volume. If dips are a challenge, I would go with push ups.

1 Like

The OHP is typically the slowest exercise to progress. I’ve been training for about two years and for over a year I struggled @60kg. My strategy was to military press to my max then to push press beyond that weight for a few sets afterwards. This helped get used to heavier weight. I can now military press 80kg and push press body weight (100kg).

Consistency is the key I think.

What was their mobility like in their shoulders, back and triceps? When I first started ohp twice or more a week my shoulders felt beat to shit, but after I started to gain mobility it went away. Granted I have only had one big shoulder injury in my life and I’m nowhere near the Matt Kroc pressing strength as you. Ha

Thanks for the inputs, bodyweight exercises are interesting to me 'cause on the second day (bench) I then follow up with Kroc Rows, so I’m fairly drained when I move on to the following assistance exercise.
Have you ever tried handstand pushups? They’re often mentioned as great tools for pressing

I’m roughly at the same point. I think I can press 60kg for a single, but I get weaker on multiple reps once I hit 50kg. Been like this for the last 6 months or so, I got better with multiple reps at lower weights, technique improved, but in the 85%+ range I haven’t made much progress. It bugs me because I’m 77kg and it’s close to my body weight, but feels so far lol

I have. Jim has made light of them in the past, and I kind of agree. Good parlor trick. That said, Paul Anderson was a fan of them, and he was crazy strong. But maybe it is because handstand push ups have a significantly different training effect at 300lbs bodyweight compared to 190.

I think you might be misunderstanding the intent behind the bodyweight work though. You don’t want these to be super high intensity; keep the intensity low so you can accumulate a substantial amount of volume. This will improve your work capacity and give you the potential for much greater strength.

Honestly couldn’t tell you with those folks. For me, my mobility is garbage. After a torn labrum, 6 dislocations and a dozen subluxations, I actually aim for immobility in the shoulder.

I rarely institute mobility work as a solutiom though. My approach is, I can spend time addressing the mobility issues, or spend that same time finding something that works with those issues. Not the healthiest thing, but it seems to work.

1 Like

Hmmm I see, but you mentioned rest pause for dips, that’s a fairly intensive method

Intensity refers to percentage of 1rm moved.

Don’t even try to explain intensity to half of the people on this forum man. It’s one of those things that always goes over their heads

Well, on itself, the word “intensity” has multiple meanings and english is not my main language lol. I’m pretty sure that if I asked someone into, say, Crossfit, they’d give me another definition of intensity, didn’t know it was specifically referred as the load %.

What about density? While accumulating volume do you also try to keep the rest times low, or take all the rest needed between sets until you hit the prescribed reps?

This is why I invested in a skinnier belt for DL. Belts made for oly lifters are perfect for this. Also, don’t cinch it down so tight. It should be tight in the bottom, not necessarily very tight when standing.

What I’ve found with press, besides the fact that it’s the lift with the least amount of muscle involved and therefore going to improve in the smallest increments, is that the delts need a fair amount more volume than other body parts to keep moving forward. I had a 325 bench with a 165 press at one point. I decided to start employing different techniques to get more volume in, like on 5/3/1 I reduced my TM, and added two backoff sets after my all-out set. This got my press up to 185 in in two months. After a year off from training due to a major shoulder reconstruction (unrelated to training) I’m just now getting back up to previous numbers, but my new maxes are 295 bench and 185 press, quite a bit different ratio than before.

In the context of lifting, it refers to percentage of 1rm lifted. For context, reference that it was being discussed in contrast to volume regarding an accumulation phase of training (vs an intensification phase, which is a phase where volume is reduced and intensity is increased).

This is a learning opportunity; there is no shame in that.

Regarding density; I have an hour to train regardless, so if I increase volume, I necessarily have to increase density. It is why I like rest pauses.


@atlashrugged I do the first option. Twice 510 a week IMO will be more detrimental then anything. I reduced the volume on normal bench and do OHP first thing in the week. Pr went from 52.55 (grind) to 52.5*6 (fairly easy) in two weeks. Keep on grinding man.

@T3hPwnisher That’s interesting, push press 510? It sounds painfully taxing and makes me want to try it haha. How would you work with percentage on that? Every rep leg drive, or strict to failure then leg drive? I imagine push pressing 80 percent of ohp 510 would blow up my shoulders!!!

I think the whole argument of PP vs OHP and carryover depends on technique. If you use tons of leg drive and then drop the neg, I think it wouldn’t carryover much to OHP.

@Juggs Yeah when I started PL my coach made me get the fat PL belt. I remember the blue and purple bruises from squatting in it, fun times.
I still use the belt for like…heavy farmer walks. Oh and bench. Helps me not hyperextend in the lumbar. I really don’t see the need for it in deadlifts and squats.

It messes up the lift more then anything for me. I also have seen a tremendous increase in core strength since I dropped the belt. I agree on OHP, it needs a lo of volume.

One thing that might seem unusual, but personally helped me is to clean my presses. I’ve been doing this for 3 weeks, and feel 10x tighter at the start position then before.