T Nation

Stalled Shoulder Press


Okay, not quite stalled, but progress is lagging far behind other exercises. I cut incline presses from my workouts a couple months ago, and I haven't been doing much for my rear delts. Will my shoulder press see much improvement from bringing back incline presses (30 degrees) and adding rear delt work?

I already do other work for my lateral delts, so I don't think that's the problem. I suppose it could be, but they're growing faster than my shoulder press is improving.

And before someone else says it, I already eat more. I've been making spectacular gains lately in LBM and in all my lifts that haven't been impacted by injury.


Everyone has problems with the military press. It's the first thing to stall on Rippetoes, it's least used with EDT... I think it's just something about the lift.

I've got a theory that, since the military press is never the PRIME lift someone wants to excel at, it's always trained at a sub-optimal time. No one starts with MP's. You start with Bench Presses. So by the time you get to MP's, your shoulders are already tired, and your focus is off. Which means two things:

One, the bar speed isn't really that fast.

Two, people cheat to get past their sticking point to get their triceps (which are super-strong) to do the heavy lifting (or lowering, as the case may be).

The fix? Isometrics. Or DE-ing the MP, but I think that's kind of a waste of effort.

Hold the bar with some weight on it at your sticking point for sets of 5-10 sec isometrics. Two or three sets should be enough. Or you could just read Dan John's article on Functional Isometrics. It's good stuff.

It may be more than you need, but when my MP was stalled, that's what I used to get it moving again, back when I was O-lifting. That and lockouts. But the lockouts weren't for my MP. That was just to mark the squat rack as my territory- would YOU approach a dude holding 315 unshakily overhead? Exactly.

Putting incline presses back in might work too. I doubt you'll see anything from rear-delt work. They're not really stressed all that much in the MP.


If your shoulder press is weak, then you need to keep doing it. Try push presses after a clean, they helped me. Why would you cut out inclines? And its medial delts, not lateral.

Shoulders are med- twitch and heal fast/ respond to high reps. Try to train them 2 or 3 times a week.


Yep, I do start with benching, but I do shoulder presses directly afterwards. They're in my workout tomorrow morning. I'll give those isometrics a shot if I'm lifting poorly again. I like that it means less shoulder movement.

Damn, 315 overhead?!? Just hitting 200 lbs will probably take a year at the rate I'm going, although I'd hit it by the end of the year if I can get it to progress like my other workouts.


I do shoulder press twice a week. 3x isn't going to happen. My best option is to work them harder on those two days.

I've tried push presses, but I'll need a lot of work on fixing my form before I can do them with effective weight...I'm so bad at them right now that I'm concerned about hurting my right shoulder more. A clean isn't going to happen right now either, not until my elbow issues get a little better.

Inclines were hurting my shoulder, but I think it was because I wasn't warming up enough. It doesn't help that my bench at home sucks to do inclines on. I'm certainly not opposed to bringing them back into my workout if I can do them without hurting my shoulder more.


Dang, 315 is a monster press.

Keep working at them and deload/ramp back up and see if that works. You may only be able to choose between high volume presses or bench each week. It's common for intermediates and beginners on the intermediate side to have to start alternating them weekly to keep both going up.


Oh hell no that wasn't a press. Those were lockouts. I was jerking like, 265 overhead, but felt that my shoulders were gonna die, so I put the pins at the highest they could go, slid the bar over them, loaded up three plates a side (alternating which side at each plate- this is really important. It's embarassing to have a bar flip on a bench press. It's fucking dangerous when it's eight feet in the air), grabbed the bar in a clean grip and stood up, held for a count of ten, then dropped it (onto the pins, which were like, an inch below the bar).

Far, far from a military press. I mention them because they're a form of isometric training that helped my MP by strengthening my stabilizers. It probably wont help the OP, I just got off on a tangent and ran with it.


I have always had problems with MP stalling out faster then other lifts, a week deload then working back up has usually helped. Even if you don't deload the other lifts, try one for MP. Also if MP is your concern, why not do these before bench?

Maybe experiment with different reps/sets/intensities.


also you could use fractional plates - 1lb each so progression would be 2lb instead of 5-10lb. if you want to progress on tem, do it before or instead of bench and any other press movement. i cant progress unless i only do one press per workout


Make yourself a shoulder day. Hit MP first.

For me, I'll get stuck at a weight for months, then it all of a sudden jumps up and gets stuck again for a few more months.


I had a decent military press today, my best morning push workout so far. Otep suggestions led to me doing negs after I couldn't press anymore. It felt good, especially since they ending with bouncing it off the floor since the cage at the gym doesn't have catch bars...and I love making loud noises. I didn't get to finish my shoulder workout, so I'll do more during tomorrow's makeup day. Being fresh should allow me to hit my delts even harder, not to mention giving them more volume.

I hear you guys MP'ing first, but bench takes priority until I add another 100 lbs to my working weight.

Here's what my push day looks like at the gym:
Military press*
Pec deck
Vertical rows*
Tricep cable pushdowns
Face pulls (new) [high bent over BB rows at home]
Lateral & front DB raises

Some of the exercises at the end spill over into Thursday. I aim for between 5-8 reps. I generally ramp up until I'm out of energy, then move to a different exercise. The exercises with a (*) are what I do at home on Sunday.



Progress usually isn't linear when you lift weights. My MP and incline just both shot up by almost 15 pds. I have been doing the same thing, busting my ass, and eating a lot, and out of nowhere, a weight I had been doing a week or two ago felt light.


I know for me my military press was stalled but then I started clean and jerking 95 lbs for like 60 reps and my military press shot way up.