T Nation

Trouble with Press

I feel like my shoulders and tris are really weak right now… i always use rippetoes form when i do standing OHP but im not making ANY progress weight wise. My bench has gone up about 15lbs for sets of 5 while my OHP hasnt improved in either poundage or reps.

Im currently dirty bulking (as in not counting calories but eating as much as possible of good food [absolutely no fast food or shitty calories] and adding about 2-3lbs per week) i feel great everywhere except my standing press.

If anyone could give me a little direction of what u think i should change in order to actually start progressing. I was thinkin about starting a 5x5 program, and micro-loading as i do have 1.25lbs plates

What program are you using now?

Microloading should not be necessary… the overhead press is very stubborn sometimes. Tell us more about the routine you’re using.

My current routine for improving the military press is 2 heavy sets of 3… drop the weight down 25 pounds and rep out for 2 sets. Every week I add 5 pounds. I was able to gain 30 pounds on my overhead press before I burnt out. I recommend giving this a shot.

I did a modified HP Mass for 6 weeks and my OHP went from 205x3 to 225x3 in that time period…the key was frequency as I was OHP’ing 2-3x per week…maybe high frequency and highish volume would be a good change up for you?

Im currently just training 5x5 4 day split style focusing on bench, squat, press, deadlift and lifting heavy and trying to gain as much weight as possible. I was considering pressing 2x per week after bench and on press days.

I was considering 5/3/1 but i think i can still get alot out of a higher volume/intensity type program before i need to consider deloading and rep weight percentages.

throw in some variations in your training. throw in some push presses, neutral grip pressing, one arm dumbell push presses, seated overhead pressing. another great movement that has increased my overhead press are pressing from the top of the head. setup in the rack and put the pins at a level that has the bar right at the top of your head. setup under it and strict press it off the pins to full lockout and hold for a second. i do them as an accessory movement after my heavy overhead pressing for 3 sets of 6 using linear progression.

lastly think about varying your grip on sets. i go narrow sometimes. then take it wider.

Try implementing overhead squats. This would not be as main lift, so you can insert anywhere you feel comfortable in your program. What you should be looking for is your ability to get depth with feet in an athletic stance (shoulder width/ vertical jump position) if you have problems getting deep with very low weights ( a broom stick, for an loaded o-bar can even be too heavy) your upper back (more specifically your subscapular) may be your OHP deficiency. The OHP is a very difficult move for most lifters because of the amount of stuff that needs to happen in the shoulder joint during this movement. Increasing upper back strength opens up your shoulder joint and allows you to complete the movement more freely. Your delts may be strong enough to hit 50 more lbs, but if your other muscles are not, you will not be able to pack on the lbs.

Pin presses to get use to the heavier veight and taking some weight off the bar and doing more reps helped me get stronger. Also doing hand stand pushups will help alot. Look up Jim Wendler he has some great insight on this lift. I only started doing these a couple of years ago and they have made a great impact on shoulder health.

My advice is this:
OHpress up to 3 times a week using Bulgarian wave loading (work up to a daily 1rm over 7is sets, 1rm-20kg 3x3, 1rm - 10kg 2x2. then a few more sets of whatever depending on feeling that day)

Tim Henriquezes also laid out a great emplate in an article on herehttp:
(you can also use this to find you daily max)

Widen your grip, the bar should easily touch your chest, allows extra muscles to be used at the start

Clean each rep - i find this gives a strecth reflex or something. and cleans are kewl

If youre not already, get really good at front squats - the less effort needed to hold the bar in the rack position, the better

Keep your wrists straight and elbows moving in a straight line

1 hand DB clean and press, push press and dips also help