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Overhead Press Alternative?

Hi guys been running 531 BBB for past few months and absolutely loving it. Started getting shoulder pain when overhead pressing again. This is nothing new even from time training without 531.

Could I swap the overhead press day for a different press and programme it 531 and 5x10 like the other lifts?

Also, could anyone suggest what might be the best press variation to use? Close grip bench, incline bench, floor press?

Really appreciate anyone taking their time to Offer advice. Thank you

Getting your shoulders looked at might be a good idea. There are many lazy “professionals” out there, so if they recommend you never lift again, sit on the couch, watch TV and eat chips off your chest for the rest of your life, get a second and third opinion.

After that, personally I’d just scrap the press and train 3 days a week: squat day, bench day, deadlift day, and use assistance exercises like a bodybuilder to keep everything balanced.

Alternatively if you can handle some pressing, you could keep the press but not do BBB with it. You could do 5s PRO + 5x5@FSL for the press.

Incline bench, close grip bench, and floor press are all too similar to the regular bench press.

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what does your pulling volume look like?

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As in the Books. Supersetted rows on push days when 5 x 10.

If you have the means, set up a viking press.


only rows? no chins, band pull aparts etc? what is your ratio of pressing to pulling?

not saying that is your issue, but if needed, more balanced push/pull may help alleviate your shoulder pain.

Yes plenty of chins and pull aparts, I try following the programme to the letter but thanks for the suggestion

None of them hurt? Then Incline is the most like overhead. Scrape the rack press might be an option.

Anything where my back supported doesn’t seem to cause any pain

I was able to do one-arm landmine presses when I couldn’t overhead press.


Is doing your presses sitting down an option?

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If supporting your back doesn’t cause any pain, it could be something structural or nerve-related. Ever seen a physio or chiropractor?

Also, where is the pain? It could be a muscle group not doing its job to keep your joint centered or could be an over-use of something. Still something you’d want to sort out with a doc, but a little experimentation might help.

Feels directly in the side felt. May just experiment with flat bench one session and incline the next with a narrower grip. Will definitely see a doc/chiropractor thought thanks


Bought one of these myself. Atlantis equipment. @$2000

I use incline instead of OHP. Anytime I try and switch to the OHP I get banged up. No problems doing incline.

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@WhiteFlash do you just keep that regular grip or narrower for the second bench session on the incline?

Use my normal bench grip, but I bench with a fairly narrow grip (thumbs length from smooth from commercial gym bars). I’ve had some shoulder and elbow issues so too wide or too narrow gives me problems. Try it out and see how it feels.

Does OHP hurt even when using an empty bar or dumbbells?

Id swallow my pride and just build it up slowly, and not progress it too fast. Could be that you’re just weak in the movement/plan of movement, and thus you need to train it more.

My OHP is weak af and I usually have to rotate it out here and there.I do opt for incline. My friends have said they got more crossover for bench from incline than OHP which makes sense. Right now, I’m rotating OHP back in because I don’t have much else to do in my home set up

Close-Grip* Incline Bench, don’t waste years of training (like me**) stubbornly trying to incorporate Overhead Press.

* same grip width as a regular Overhead Press, i.e. narrow.
** which killed my bench gains, I tried everything including several physiotherapists.

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Just run a 3-day-a-week template with BP, SQ, and DL. Then, as assistance on your SQ and DL day, get shoulder work in by choosing one of the following as your pressing assistance:

  1. KB/DB presses (if your shoulder allows). Try one armed which is often easier on the shoulders.
  2. Full range of motion plate raises.
  3. KB or DB snatches
  4. Incline presses / decline push ups (especially with a weight vest for the latter)
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