T Nation

OHP vs Push Press


I'd like to get a poll of what people think of these two.

I've been doing pretty strict OHP in a split stance (better for my lower back) recently; but the weight is pretty low (IMO) for what I used to do with a push press.

I know these are different and a push allows a lot more weight to be put on; duh.

I just wanted to see what y'all thought about these two. Is it more beneficial to use less weight without the push, or add more weight and push?

My goal is to get some massive bowling ball shoulders.


And I suppose taking one to it's strength limit and then repeating that with the other is not an option?

I don't like standing presses for delts to be honest (more stabilization and very awkward position=less weight on the delts and more difficult progression), I get more out of seated stuff (db presses, militaries seated in a rack) and especially Smith High Inclines (you can see plenty of pros do these).

Also great (but if you're taller than 6', those might feel awkward):
Overhead Presses/Push Presses in the V-Squat/Power Squat or some Standing Calf Raise Machines.
Or Seated Smith BTN Presses (down to ear level only).

And of course some shoulder press machines...

Oh yeah... Range of motion varies greatly, on Seated Smith High Inclines I'd go from chin level up to the point where you feel your tris take over too much... Or just do 'em to lockout if that's your thing.. I prefer my tris fresh for their dedicated exercises though.


Maybe I'll try some seated DB presses sometime soon. I liked them last time I was into doing them.

What did you mean by this? Is that a statement FOR push press?

I am over 6' tall...and those do sound like they'd be a bit awkward.


I think the standard OHP is better for building muscle because the push press is too reliant on you getting a strong push out of your legs to help get the weight up where as with a standard overhead press you can keep the reps smooth and keep the focus on your shoulders


WHy not do both ?


S1 - 12 reps strict ovp

S2 - 12 reps slight push

S3 - 12 reps all out leg drive push press

Yes it hurts like hell...... for growth ? Its good.


I say..both


Push press is going to focus on your lockout more and hence shall work the triceps more than the shoulders.


[quote]As the barbell momentum is initiated by the legs, the bottom portion of the range of motion may be under-developed compared to the middle and end portions. The entire ROM should be trained in a shoulder press.quote]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_press


I think that I will be keeping it as strict as I can with the OHP.

Having past lower back issues makes me a prime candidate to re-injure myself.

That and I'm gonna toss in some upright rows to help assist my shoulder growth.


I meant do one of the two as your main pressing exercise for delts and progress until you stall.
Then switch to the other one, progress until you can't anymore.
Then either go back the the first exercise or do a totally different one...
Anyway, point is: Once you get back to your first exercise, you'll be able to blow past your previous PR.

Was that more intelligible?


Do the ohp's seated with back support (!).

How is your training structured? If your tris are an issue, don't go full ROM on the overhead presses... Rather put it all into whatever heavy pressing exercise you do for tris.

Imo there isn't any real benefit from locking out on overhead-presses (for a bodybuilder, that is). Just fatigues your tris as well as your shoulders, but you have to go somewhat lighter so it's less effective and makes progression harder...

If anything then locking out seems to irritate my shoulders/elbows... Maybe things get in the way of each other at the top portion of the lift... Just my personal experience here, though...


Yes, thank you. That makes a good point; I think I'll stick with OHP for the time being...and see how far I can push that.


I did seated OHP for a few weeks; and didn't like it at all. I think is has a lot to do with the facility that I work out at. That and not having a partner to assist the lift. I set a seat in the squat rack, and had to grab the weight (standing) 1 step back, sit down, press. I like the standing press better b/c there is a better economy of movement. Unrack, 1/2 step back, press.

I do lock out, but I see what your point it. I make it a point to stick my head between my arms and really squeeze my delts/traps.

I think adding some upright rows and/or lateral raises will help my shoulder growth....I probably didn't have ENOUGH shoulder work.

Thanks for the pointers C_C



Since I started focusing on strongman as opposed to powerlifting, OH has been my focus, so I've figured out pretty well what works for me. Here's what I've learned through experiment and from other competitors:

When my push press goes up, I can usually hit a military press PR a few weeks after switching back to a regular strict press. The reverse is not true.

Also, the last 2 contests I did, I focused on my military in the 4 weeks prior to my contest, and even though I felt stronger, I didn't hit a good PR in contest. I figure this is from not being used to using drive.

3rd, I get (and others have confirmed this) better results with a higher rep range on military presses than on push press.

I tried rotating them as main movements for a while (3-4 week cycles, push press, btn push press, military) but didn't progress as much as I should have. Now, I'll be doing some kind of push press for my main exercise, but following it with a military press or strict press variation. Most of the strongman competitors I know do a push press or jerk as their main overhead movement, but somewhere in the week keep a strict press variation for more reps (accessory). They also tend to be massively wide. This falls in line with the 3 things I posted about.

You, however, might not be able to do this because of your back injury. Something to try would be to do your sets of military press with w/e weight, and then afterwards rep it out using some light leg drive. The weight would be small enough that the risk of reinjury would be small, but there would still be overload.

Damn that was long.


That's what she said.


Thanks for the suggestions Steve.

I spoke with "big chris" today @ lunch on gchat and we figured that my volume was a bit low....so the addition of upright rows hopefully; will help with some growth.

I will give OHP another week or two to see any progression...but if not i'm gonna do some seated DB presses for a month+ to see how THEY go.

See ya 'round xmas time dude!


Like I said, point 3, if I'm going to do strict press, I HAVE to have more volume then I would with a push press or other "heavy cheat" lift. I can't progress using the same number of reps or sets on military as I can with a push press.

Not unless you're coming to Tennessee. I'll be doing my Biomechanics co-op with NuVasive, changing lives and helping people to walk again. I'll tell you about it some time, but till then you should know that I'll be visiting at some point since NuVasive owns a "therapeutic" company in Boston.


Good man, when you come...plan on going to train with me at Cressey Performance.

Unless you become a massive VAG by then.


I thought Push press was better for putting on size? I thought the saying goes, lift for strength eat for size...


You lift for strength in the hypertrophy zone and that doesn't work without eating a ton.

Goddamn overused/oversimplified sayings here. People misunderstand that shit all the time and think that they should do heavy singles or doubles on the bench, squat and deadlift and that they will somehow end up looking like a bodybuilder.