T Nation

Overhead Press


so....my ohp sucks big time, no point in lying to my self....is thre any one who knows best way to increase it?? lately ive started pin presses from around head level and found i am actual weaker from their even though i am closeer to lock out...any advice how to bring lagging overhead press? btw...my standing press is almost as my push press(which i find wierd)


Either you have very strong shoulder(doubtful if you're complaining of a weak shoulder press) or weak triceps if your strict press is very close to your shoulder press.

Simple answer in my opinion, just gotta press more. I know it's the powerlifting forum and all that but you gotta prioritise the shoulder press as much as your bench press. Trust me, you won't regret it. Strong shoulders are awesome.

Just my two cents, no doubt somebody will be in soon to make what I just said redundant haha.


Train it heavy and then do a high volume of assistance work such as dumbell presses 10x10 or 5x20.
Heavy, full-range of motion tricep work also helps


Do you shake like a bitch during lock-out? That was my biggest issue, the OHP and pushpress are pretty good for hitting the core.
Also, if you dont shake violently, that doesnt mean your core is good to go, either. Things like ab rollouts, full rollouts, TRX/blast strap fallouts are good for hitting your core in a very similar way to the OHP.

If your seated OHP is much better than your standing I would guess your core needs work, maybe 20% or so difference. Make sure that you stay at lockout and tighten everything up for 1-2 seconds after every press, too.

Of course, the small muscles are probably an issue too. This press will move slowly for a long time, so be patient. Youre also standing, which of course is harder. Make sure to keep your lats taught and strong in general.

Good luck


Some good advice here. I haven't done too much OHP in my days yet, and 225 looks sloppy as hell. Seated I can rep with 275. To me, it's a very form intensive lift, as it seems to have a pretty major workload handoff in the middle. (Just like any good compound lift) Also as I've have come to realize, a strong core is necessary as a foundation for a good press.

The reason you are weaker, starting high like that, is because you are starting from a mechanical sticking point. Starting from the bottom lets you utilize the momentum to get through it, starting there at a dead stop is going to be hard. And it will probably pay off, too.


I'm build for pressing - short arms - but i found lots of 3's using CT's ramping approach and throwing in a few singles when i feel good really makes my push press and OHP take out. You can train the movement over 2x per week, i can at least. I've done some type of OHP press and/or bench press up to 10 mini sessions a week alternating the intensity, that is lots of light/speed work. I just use lots of triples now though and do a few singles over %90 of 1RM. 1-2x per week.


Here is some Wendler on improving a weak press (http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/blood_and_chalk_vol_4_jim_wendler_talks_big_weights):

"First of all, please remember that the shoulder press is probably the slowest to increase out of the four major lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead a.k.a. military press). So you have to be more patient with this lift, and you have to take it slower in terms of progression. It's simply not going to increase like your bench press, just like your bench press isn't going to increase as fast as your deadlift. ... Take a different stance. Some people have reported more stability and better results with a split stance (one foot in front of the other). ... Take a false grip on the bar. ... a much better time with bar path and strength when using a "false" grip (thumbs not around the bar). ... Besides tweaking your form, a lot of people just need to make this lift a priority in their training and not treat it like another assistance exercise. Here's a novel idea: try making it as important as the bench press. I've seen this little change in mindset alone make a big difference simply because now you CARE more."


Use common sence if you are weaker at your lockout do more tricep work/lockout work/band work/ narrow grip etc. Be patient It will take a long time to get a desired result. I hope you are useing a quality program eg: 5x5 with a slight weight progression week by week 2.5kg for your pressing and 5kg for your squating and pulling.


if your press is almost as strong as your push press then that suggests that something is going wrong with your push press. push presses are more about the leg drive - you use your legs to generate momentum that gets the bar close to lock out. well above head level.

some things that helped my press (not that my press is amazing):

  • weighted planks (for abdominal activation)
  • weighted hip thrusts (for glute activation)

i superset them a bit with my warm-up sets and the work sets feel much easier because of it.

not sure if this will help.

i also have long arms which sucks for pressing. find that i can stall for a couple seconds but eventually push through the stall by focusing on really squeezing my abs / glutes.


Wear a belt. It makes a huge difference.