T Nation

Overhead Pressing


ive got a comp coming up in 3 months and my overheadpress is pathetic

im OHPing 190 right now with the normal olympic bar. i am expecting athletes with OHP of 240+. i know i cant get to 240 right now but i cant just give up and forget about the OHP i might as well address this weakness now

im 176, 5'9
squat ~400
bench ~200
deadlift ~380

AM: front squat

AM:back squat
PM:incline close grip bench press

AM: deadlift

this is the general gist of my training. assistance exercises, dynamic effort, maximum effort, reps and maxing out are all decided on the spot after ive done my core lift.

i havent benched in a very long while due to some unknown pain in my shoulders when i bench. its gone now and i just tested out my bench for the first time in 3 months and its still at 200 lol.

i get stuck near my forehead to the tip of my head. its just that part after the push from the leg drive has dropped and the force is transferring to my shoulders before im incorporating the triceps where i get stuck once my triceps kick in i blast the bar up to lockout

are there any assistance exercises that i can incorporate into my training to jack up my shoulders? how do i up my OHP?


Rack Presses from just Below your sticking point helped me greatly. Though never have been a amzing strict presser best was 225 at 225 lol. Just keep working them dont forget about strict presses your overhead numbers take much longer than your bench numbers to improve. Personally I would try this though.

Monday- Strict Press volume ( 5 x 10, 6 x 8, 8 x 6 ) use one and stick with a weight till you hit for all sets for all reps.
Vertical Pull 4 sets of 8-12

Wednesday- Front Squat, Light Deadlifts, Core.

Friday- Push Press: Work up to Max 3-5 Next week focus on Technique 60-70% of the weight you got for multiple sets of 3-5.
Rows 4 sets of 8-12

Sunday- Squat and Light Rack Pulls and core.


Your OHP will not get substantially better in competition time. BUT, work on your best lifts right now, because spending too much time on your weaknesses, especially in that you have such a short time frame to work in, is not a good way to deal with the next few months. I would use Reeds advice, but don't fret about all this now. I suck at deadlifting, but I know for a fact I can/will blow any athletes press out of the water that I go up against most likely.

Do what you can right now, and once you finish the competition, THEN you analyze all of this. You might spend all this time on something that just doesn't have the needed time to get better, and forget about what counts!


screw the competition, the results of the competition do not matter as it is my first, im just participating to gauge what a comp is like. i can come in last, and expecting to do so given my weakass body.

ive been doing z presses, power jerks,strict presses and alot of push presses without any assistance exercises. i dont know how to isolate the triceps. skull crushers leave my triceps fried for a week and tricep pulldowns irritate my shoulders for some reason.

one question thats on my mind all the time is: can i press every training session? for the bench press i cant do that because it will cause muscle imbalances and lead to a fucked up posture. my gut feeling is that i can OHP every training session without doing too much pulling motions


Try pressing twice or thrice a weak, but make sure the parameters are suited so that it's actaully advantageous for you. Such as one day being low volume, but heavy ass weight, and another being lighter and filled with volume. I used to press twice a week with great results.


That's more or less what I laid out for him as well Worked wanders for my Overhead trying it now for my Bench work.


Personally I find that a 3 a week OHP really works for me. I do a dynamic session, a strict swiss bar military press with bands to train the lock-out process (Getting under the bar etc), one repetition day (in build up to a competition) and a heavy day (pushing for a heavy 2 etc.)

The best assistance exercises I've found are rack presses at the sticking point, and deep weighted dips.

This strategy took my OHP from about 202.5 for 3 to 260 in about a month, obviously everyone is different though, I would recommend ditching bench though.

If you're worried about recovery time just dose to the gills on BCAA's


duly noted, thanks for the advice guys


Z-pressing really helped my overhead press. Took me from 165 being difficult to 195 for reps. Front squats also helped as getting used to a heavy rack position will definitely help your press.


i modified your program a little and did it for the last 2 weeks and my ohp went up 15lbs in the last 2 weeks on this program.

straight up bro, thanks