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Overhead Press difficulty.


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So check it (/gangsta), I'm currently doing the StrongLifts 5x5 workout and one of the exercises is the Overhead (front) press. I'm kind of having trouble because my squat and deadlift are nearing the 200lbs mark, progressively increasing each week, but my O.H Press feels stunted. I feel I'm getting stronger in both the squat and deadlift, but as for the latter, I feel like I'm not gaining any strength at all.

I'm currently at 70lbs and I feel like I'm about to plateau on this particular exercise. I know there are de-loading methods prescribed in doing the 5x5 but I dunno. Should I be plateauing this early? Realistically AND generally speaking, how heavy should I look to lift on the O.H Press?

Any insight would be much appreciated! Thanks!

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Of the four main lifts prescribed by StrongLifts/Starting Strength, the Press will peter out first. Guaranteed. So don't worry too much. That doesn't mean you can't get it stronger, though.

If you feel comfortable doing so, post a video. It's hard to guess what you're doing wrong, but, if I had to guess, I'd bet dollars to donuts (mmmmm, donuts) that you're flaring your elbows out. About 90% of people do. Not only is keeping your elbows tucked/forward a LOT safer for your shoulders, you can generate a lot more power that way, once you get used to it.

Also, are you "completeing" the rep? It's not just a matter of pumping it up and down. Is your head ending "forward" of the bar, or are you kinda keeping it back out of the bar's path?

http://doubleyourgains.com/how-to-overhead-press

See that pic next to "You Need Shoulder Flexibility"? That's what you want. When your form is proper, everything will bee locked into place and rocksolid at the top of your press. If you're doing what most people do, the bar is going to be well ahead of your shoulders, which will in turn be a bit behind your feet, as opposed to the plumline you want.

Finally, while I know the Stronglifts protocol calls for no additional work, you might want to start adding in some push-presses. This will allow you to move more weight, which will...well, get you stronger. It'll help your body adapt to holding on to more weight.

A couple questions. Where in the lift are you feleing like you'll fail first. Getting off your shoulders? Locking it out? Wrists hurt?

So yeah, without seeing you press, those are some tips right off the bat. Let us know how it goes!

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A couple questions. Where in the lift are you feleing like you'll fail first. Getting off your shoulders? Locking it out? Wrists hurt?

So yeah, without seeing you press, those are some tips right off the bat. Let us know how it goes!

DONUTS!

Unfortunately, I'm not equipped right now to get you a video of my form. But anyway your pointers are resonating with me, I'm not sure if my elbows flare out but I think I do. Basically I bring the weight up and I put my elbows down parallel (bar across my forehead, not so far down into front squat position) and I bring it back up. The thing I'm sure I don't do is putting the bar back behind my neck, I didn't know this was supposed to be done to complete the rep. I'll start doing that now.

The issue with me is that as the weight gets heavier, and as further I go into the reps, I feel like the weight is shifting towards my back. I'm starting to think this is because I don't lock it out behind my neck. Next session for Workout B is on Friday but I'll definitely let you guys know how it goes.

Do you suggest I de-load to relearn the proper technique? Thanks a lot for the information KW!

@Army, I'll look into that. My dream someday is to be able to do 1/4th of the stuff the Beast does hahaha. Handstands and all.

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Hmm. If you're only lowering it to your forehead, you may want to bring it down further. Imagine you didn't have any racks or anything to lift off of, and you had to clean it from the floor, first. That's were you want each rep to start.

Even if you don't deload, just warm up with the blank bar really focusing on, a) keeping your elbows forward, and B) getting the full extension at the top.

Not surprisingly, Coach Ripptoe explains it best:

Note also the way the elbows are pointing more forward rather than flaring out. At 1:08, Coach actually nudges their elbows to come forward and up more.

Also, yes, piked pushups are a terrific movement.

Good luck!

"The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder." --GK Chesterton

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea...

http://www.facebook.com/#!/jbaileysewell

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overhead presses are hard. that's why you're stalling on them :)

i still fail miserably on these.

what kw said about your forehead. and the form. form is really important here.

other shoulder strengthening exercises that i do that have seriously helped:

-handstands

-wall climbs

-handstand pushups (which, i can't do, but you do the type like army listed, and will eventually get the hspu)

I've also found that mixing db work with the barbell for shoulder presses helps.

“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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Amazing how Mr. Rippletoe's videos answered all the questions I was just about to ask HAHAHA.I tried out KW's advice on keeping my elbows forward today and I couldn't quite get it. Will try again on Friday with the visual cues I found in the vids.

Thanks everyone!

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For me the limiting factor with overhead presses is usually one of the two following:

1) Intensity. I have to be amped up like I'm about to fight the bar. Loud music, pacing back and forth, breathing heavy, etc ... help get my heart rate up and a little bit of nerves.

2) Clench everything. After getting excited, run into the bar and lift it into the rack position while keeping everything tight. Take a step back, clench everything again even harder, push and don't give up.

Don't give up. If 1 and 2 are done, the problem is usually mental if you've handled a few lbs less already.

This is great intensity.

http://www.youtube.com/user/JTsypkin#p/u/1/_kqqZPZP60c

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that video is helpful. i stall out on these too. i also get some weird crunchy sounds happening, so i need to work on form.

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Another Video, get through the bench part first.

http://vimeo.com/7259341

Notice a couple things.

Big breath, held throughout the rep, pushing out (valsala movement), keeping the mid section tight. That tightness is essential for that stability that lets the weights go up safely.

Head comes forward and under the bar on each rep and back when lowering the weight.

Even when the weight slows down, he keeps tight and keeps pushing. This is point where I sometimes fail if my mind isn't right. I give up because the weight stops going up quickly, and its a bad thing to quit like that, mostly because I will get that weight up overhead if I don't quit.

He activates the shoulder on each rep. Towards the end of the reps his traps push up. The best way to think about this is you need to imagine that you're pushing the bar really high into the sky. Just because you're at the top of your range of motion doesn't mean you can relax. Push higher and harder, to help keep the shoulder from getting impinged.

I dunno about crunchy shoulders, but crunchy joints could be something worth getting looked at.

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Hrmm... shoulder hurts from O/H press yesterday - Is the elbow flaring out a possible reason for this?

I made huge gains a couple years ago doing standing military DB presses - Thinking of going back to them (they never hurt and I saw myself go from 25 lb dumbells to 50 lb dumbells on 3X8 in about 4 months) - Any reason why a standing military DB press is no good?

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- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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Right near where the collar bone attaches to the rotating cuff (my bone sticks up a little at that part if that helps)

--

It hurt when I made a straight up and down lifting motion but not a swinging motion (even when the swinging motion included a 15 lb counterweight brought about 15-25 degrees past parallel - bowling the night after the workout didn't hurt and I have a very high backswing)

"I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. "

- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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I think I may have figured it out - I'm pretty sure I was holding the bar too high on my shoulders so it was sitting right on the part of my shoulder that has no bone/fat to cushion the weight of the bar (so I'm pretty sure the pain I was feeling was due to the 100 lb front squats and not the 50 lb Overhead press) - Noticed I had some pretty good bruises on my collar bone where i held the weight after a workout.

"I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. "

- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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If anyone wants additional press videos to work on form issues: http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/Press_Videos But yes, the overhead press sucks. I did 10 in a row with just the bar and thought, "hey, that's not bad," then I put 50 pounds on the bar and thought I was going to drop it on my head. This was just a few days after a 275# squat so, yeah, humbling :\

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