T Nation

My Quest for the "Bodyweight OHP"

Bodyweight between 180-185 usually 183.

I have reached my first goal of 135, a few months ago, currently at 150. Have not rechecked max in a few weeks. Started around 95/105

Currently using 5x5 rep range to progress strength on OHP.

Accomplished 130 5x5, Only missing out on the very last rep. Improvement from last attempt.

Does anyone have any good cues, or helpful accessory lifts that helped them? Sometimes I feel a slight twinge in my mid back, I cant tell if its coming from my piriformis, or erector muslces. I usually just stretch out and it isn’t really an issue. Bracing as tight as possible and taking a bigger breath helps keep this at bay.

My first plan of action is to do some Pin presses at the exact height that I failed my last rep at. Generally speaking, you should be able to press heavier weight doing a pin press, correct?

I can OHP 205 for reps at a bodyweight of 178 (5’7 trex arms)

What’s worked for me was OHP twice a week. One day heavy lower reps (3-5), and one day high reps (8-12).

What you could do is: one day 5x5 and then one day 5x10.

But for assistance I would say: dips, rows/chin-ups, laterals, db shoulder press, and funny enough front squats.


I do something similar. I do 5x5 for my strength days and 10x10 for size.

I have not tried twice a week though. I have 2 Push days a week, once is geared towards OHP and the other bench. I guess I could throw in some OHP on the bench day to get to twice a week.

Front squats? I don’t do these. (do they put more stress on knees?)

I’m 5’11 if that makes any difference.

1 Like

OH Press is one lift that seems to love volume and frequency. You’ll have to mess around with it. It just depends on your goals. 5x5 and 10x10 seem like a A LOT in one week. You’ll have to chip away man. It took me 3.5 years to get to a 205 OH press and I started at 95 lbs. That’s with a build for it and focusing on it.

OH press will move slow especially if you don’t have the build for it. I’m built for pressing and squatting.

Front squat is the least essential. I just think it builds the upper back and core to an extent that it benefits the OH Press as well.

I think dips, db presses, laterals, rows, chin-ups, curls, face pulls and core work would cover all the assistance you would need.

1 Like

I hit bodyweight for 10 last week. I second getting stronger in a variety of rep ranges. Also, train the hell out of your rear delts and lats. Having a strong base to press off of goes a long way.


Any tips on how you personally do this?

You’ve seen his videos right? Punisher does a shit load of chins, rows and band pull aparts.

Doing some band pull aparts right now in the office lol.

I’m prepared for it to take a little while. I feel like my goal is not too far off though. So you think that is too much volume? Should I do some lower range power work? 3x3 maybe?

@T3hPwnisher I have noticed that the heavier I get, the more I feel it in my lats.

During this last weeks heavy pushing I felt my lats really activated. I work on them quite a bit.

I’d do one day 5x5 (or 531) ramping up to a top set, and then other day at 5x10 at straight weight. Increase the 5x10 every 4 weeks by 5-10 lbs and keep after it.

1 Like

Between sets is the best place to get it done. Do submax sets to accumulate volume without significant impact on your pressing. You can train it on pretty much every training day.

1 Like

For me I had good success with seated half press from pins doing sets of 3 starting light and working up to a max triple. Resetting on each rep and getting into a good shoulder shelf position. The overload on the triceps and pushing from a dead stop eliminated my usual sticking point pretty quick.

1 Like

Training the OHP for mostly low reps (3 or less) is what works for me + hammering pulling movements such as rows & pull-ups also helps.


At a chubster 270, and with a top OHP of 245 (and recently just missing 255), it would probably be easier to work from the top down… In other words, lose the weight to meet my top pressing effort (not to mention the other benefits).

I’ve just done 5/3/1 common variations (OG w. Triumvirate, FSL 5x5 etc.), occasionally some Arnold presses for assistance, though BW Dips (I have a built-in weighted dip) have been my main accessory work on OHP days. You should see people’s faces when they see an old dude built like a bowling pin cranking out sets of 10-12 on the dips…

Oh, and having short arms helps too.


All of my pressing is done standing, I don’t have a adjustable bench unfornuately.

@isdatnutty I love band pull aparts, have a band in my desk top as well.

I do increase my weight on the 5x5 and 10x10 if I complete all the sets (obviously).

I do lots of rows, decent amount of pull ups.

1 Like

Dips have been neglected for the most part, but I have incorporated them recently, within the past 2 months or so.

I did my seated pressing sitting on a flat bench. Helped keep me honest.


So with a seated press, one should be using their own core strength to be upright instead of relying on the bench? So, you wouldn’t necessarily need the back part of the bench, just for stability if you lacked it in your core/spine?

I sometimes do seated Arnold presses. But I have never sat in front of the rack and pressed like that.

I think the way @T3hPwnisher mentions would have plenty of carry over due to being closer to the actual position you would be in whilst pressing overhead. However the version with back supported would allow for heavier weights used to get used to having heavier weights above head and better overload the triceps at lock out. Both have there merits.

1 Like

Going to incorporate some pin presses (seated and standing), more dips and lat work, more rear delt work.

I will try and keep this updated with my progress.

Last PR was 150, but that was several weeks ago, and I have improved my strength per my 5x5 workout, so I will be interested to see where I am at.