T Nation

OHP Worth My Time?


So many people spend so much time doing OHP. I mean, 5/3/1 puts it as being just as important as sq/bp/dl. While having healthy and strong shoulders does obviously contribute to a strong bench, I am just hesitant to think that it is worth it.

In otherwords, as a POWERLIFTER (IE: all i care about are sq/bp/dl numbers) is doing highly stressful OHP workouts really the best use of my recuperative abilities?

Do you think that in fact OHP is an efficient use of time/recuperative abilities to increase bench?

PS: Now don't get me wrong, I know SOME shoulder work is useful. I personally have made good progress by adding in a bit of OHP work because of my shoulder weakness.


Yes, training the press is going to be instrumental to increasing your bench.

There are some outliers (DeFranco doesn't have any of his athletes press and they still have really great benches), but SOME kind of (and a lot of) shoulder work is going to be necessary.


i do overhead the same day i do bench. on ME bench i do some DE overhead and high rep stuff. on DE bench i do ME overhead and lower rep accessory work. not much just a few sets. both are still climbing upwards and the pain i used to feel in my shoulders is now gone when benching. yay!


Compared to my bench my shoulders are extremely weak. Like you said some people/programs stress the importance of OHP however recently my bench continues to improve, while my OHP (used as an accesory movement on dynamic days) appears relatively stagnant/might even be getting worse. I took this as a sign to not worry too much about how much I get at OH pressing other than to maintain some sort of balance or injury prevention in my shoulders. One thing I have prioritized though during this time is DB Incline work and that has significantly improved along with my competition bench. Maybe incline press work hits my shoulders in a way that transfers better to my bench than directly overhead? I think in the end its one of those things you need to find out what works for you. Completely neglecting some sort of shoulder work however probably isnt the best idea.


I made a thread about this not too long ago. My OHP does nothing to make my bench press stronger but it makes my incline bench stronger which then it turn makes my bench go up.

I still think OHP work should be done because it contributes hugely to overall strength of the body. Holding a heavy weight over your head stimulates the upper back and shoulder girdle in a way that can't really be duplicated with any other exercise in my opinion. Also, I find when I shoulder press consistently my shoulders don't hurt as badly.


Its a good worth while lift, but mostly lifting heavy things over your head is cool.

I like it when I'm strict pressing more than like 80% of the people at the gym bench.




I haven't found a huge correlation between overhead pressing and my raw bench, and no correlation between my ohp and my shirted bench.


I agree. I've got a BW overhead but my flat bench just sucks. What improved my bench was to bench more and heavier (gee, progression is important). There are a lot of great programs out there that don't include the overhead press at all.

If anything I would think that working the muscles of your back and getting them beyond strong will have a much more beneficial impact on your bench and shoulder health than the overhead.



Usually if you can get your strict overhead to go up then your bench will fly too. But getting your OHP to improve is a bitch. Takes real graft.

Seated OHP from pins in the bottom position (about chin height) has been amazing for my overhead, and by proxy my bench too.


My bench made my OHP increase, but OHP never did anything to help my bench.


i think it depends, for example i bench with a close(narrow) grip so the ohp has a good carryover to my bench


I did a lot of OHP ala 5/3/1 and as my bench went up, my OHP went down. Go figure.


Well, I'm doing 5/3/1 so obviously I devote one day to OHP. I haven't done a controlled study but both my OHP and bench are increasing regularly. I have no idea if there's any carryover, but I would assume that for me, there is.


I have to have some of my pressing as overhead or I start sporting the neaderthal look and get shoulder problems no matter how much rotator cuff work, stretching, and tennis/golfball soft-tissue work I do. It also helps me reach up with ease just during the day doing normal activities. Without overhead pressing, I'm too tight to reach up with a straight arm without a lot of stretching and warming up. And inclines and db raises don't help nearly as much for me.


I have been doing 531 for 2 years with a 2 month break each year for the bulk of my timbersports competitions. I had a hard time getting my ohp to increase until i increased the incline bench volume. Once i started the incline, my bench and ohp took off like a rocket. I gained 60 lbs on my bench and broke thru 500 and is still gaining.