T Nation

Strict Military Press vs. Overhead Press


Are there any advantages to practicing the strict military press (heels together) as compared to the the overhead press (feet shoulder width apart). I'm sort of attracted to the old school, strict military press - but if it's simply inferior or unsafe obviously I don't want to practice it often.


I didn't know heels had to be together to label it a military press..

I do push presses generally anyway.


Perform both... and include the push press as well. Using good technique and a proper weight load for your ability, strength, and skill level should keep you away from any safety issues/problems.

Variation is your friend.


I've never kept heels together. I only do standing OHP, squat stance (maybe a few inches different) with a full pause at the end.

I might pop out a few push presses at the end of my last set if I fall short on reps.


When strict pressing larger weights I do not see how keeping your heels together would be safe.




I would go with standard standing military presses as you have better stability. It is easy to sustain a low back injury on overhead pressing and there is no real advantage to having your feet closer together other than making the lift more difficult (for isolation movements you are better off doing seated variations).

There is also a popular strongman gym lift that you might like to mix in as a new challenge. It is called a Zydrunas Press, named after the record breaking overhead presser from Lithuania.

Zydrunas Press:
- Set up a bar in the power rack at about chest height when seated on the floor.
- Sit on the floor with legs out in front and then grasp the bar and bring it to your shoulders.
- Attmept to press the bar as a standard military press.

**This movement is great because your back is not supported and it is literally impossible to use leg drive or to "cheat" in this movement. You will notice that it is quite challenging and I like to use it as an accessory movement. To give you an idea of the difficulty I can do standing military press with 225 lbs x 5 (strict) and for the Zydrunas Press I do 175 lbs x 5.


I think the "heels together" is antiquated and no longer practiced much. Let it go.


Overhead Press it is. Thanks for the advice and tips.