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Overhead Press Specialization


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Shout out to my fellow barbarians and amazons of iron! So here's the deal-o... I've got my first powerlifting meet coming up next Saturday (8-6-17, day after Suicide Squad hits and you know I've got tickets for that already) and I'm booored with squatting, benching, and pulling. I follow the Chaos & Pain philosophy of weightlifting which can be summed as the following: frequent, heavy, varied, and violent. Which is fine but I've dropped the variety for lots of back squatting and benching. A typical week for me looks like this -

 

Monday AM

1) *Bodyweight Curcuit 5-10 Sets

Monday PM

2A) Back Squat 10x3

2B) Pendlay Row 10x3

3) Bench Press 10x3

4) Neck Work

 

Tuesday

1) Weighted Walk x15-30 Min

2) Core Circuit

3) "Light Shoulder Training" such as Kloklov Presses and Plate Front Raises for 10x10

 

Wednesday AM

1) *Run x1.5 miles

Wednesday PM  

1A) Back Squat Lockouts 12x2

1B) High Pulls 12x2

2) Bech Press 6x5

3) Neck Work

 

Thursday

1) Weighted Walk x15-30 Min

2) Core Circuit

3) Wighted Chin-up/Dip Superset

6x6 or 8x8

 

Friday AM

1) *Bodyweight Circuit

Friday PM

1) Back Squat 15x1

2A) Bench Press 8x2 + 2 Back Off Sets

2B) Deadlift 6-8x3-1 + Death Set

 

Saturday

1) Gun Show...non-stop arms for about 30-45 minutes.

 

* = Fasted

 

This is roughly how I've been training for about 3 months while on a caloric deficiency for the last 5 weeks...I went full retard and deceided on a pseudo-paleo/keto diet hybrid monstrositie that's worked fairly well but left be constantly hungry for blood and carbs. Thank Crom for gin & tonic, totally keto. 

 

Anyway I'm looking for some input and maybe even program suggestions/structure on a dedicated Overhead Press specialization routine. The week after my meet I plan on focusing on building up my OHP specifically my Clean & Strict Press as I think it's wayyy more badass to clean that $h!t and then press it. Obviously I'm no stranger to both high frequency and high intensity and love abusing volume and will definitely be running this in a huge caloric surplus. So far I've read up on Bill Starr's methods, love the weighted dips; Paul Carter's training style, and checked out the Dreadnought OHP program. However I was most impressed with the Smolov Jr. routine for bench and was considering that. Oh, and if anyone cares...here's me stats -

 

Age: 26

Male

Years Training: approx. 5-6

Height: 'bout 5'2"...

Weight: I'm competing at 130 lbs...

yarp. Usually walking around 145 lbs with visible midsection. Looking to get up to 155-160 lbs. But yeah, I'm a total Neanderthal.

 

Back Squat (High Bar Oly Style): 305 lbs no belt/315 lbs with belt

 

Bench: 275 lbs paused no belt/285 lbs paused with wraps no belt 

 

Deadlift (Conventional): 405 lbs no belt, mixed grip. 

 

We'll see if I hit these numbers again come meet day though. So far I'm pretty damn close on a so-so day. 

 

 

 

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Well since there hasn't been a lot of feedback on this particular subject I guess I'll go ahead and be the Guinea pig. Staring next Monday I'll be running a wee little custom routine I threw together that's two parts Smolov Jr., one part Bill Starr and one part Paul Carter, two very powerful pressers and manly men. I'll be updating this over in the logs but I warn you: if you're sensitive to "overtraining" then keep your distance. 

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20 minutes ago, Wild_Card620 said:

Thanks! What's your current press at? I'm eyeing up the OHP leaderboard on here once I find my new maxxx.

To be honest, I couldn't even tell you.  I just started lifting on an actual program a couple months ago.  I'm working on my shoulder/thoracic mobility which is really poor.  Also, the ceiling in my basement is too low to press full diameter plates.  I'm in the process boxing out the ceiling to clear the plates, but I won't be very good at the press until I can pull my shoulders back far enough for it to be comfortable.  I have a dull ache in my shoulders from the stretching and mobility work, but I'm seeing improvements.  I went through the same thing with my hips in order to be able to squat to depth.  I have kyphosis and on top of that I've sat at a desk for 10 years.  I won't be able to fully fix the kyphosis, but I should be able to lessen it to a point where the press will be fine.  Military press would probably never be in the cards.

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Challenges: #1#2#3#4, #5

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16 minutes ago, Grymm said:

To be honest, I couldn't even tell you.  I just started lifting on an actual program a couple months ago.  I'm working on my shoulder/thoracic mobility which is really poor.  Also, the ceiling in my basement is too low to press full diameter plates.  I'm in the process boxing out the ceiling to clear the plates, but I won't be very good at the press until I can pull my shoulders back far enough for it to be comfortable.  I have a dull ache in my shoulders from the stretching and mobility work, but I'm seeing improvements.  I went through the same thing with my hips in order to be able to squat to depth.  I have kyphosis and on top of that I've sat at a desk for 10 years.  I won't be able to fully fix the kyphosis, but I should be able to lessen it to a point where the press will be fine.  Military press would probably never be in the cards.

Jeez...sorry to here bout the kyphosis. Is it just pressing to the front or can you go behind the neck (Kloklov style)? I can sympathize with the ceiling height issue too. I train outta my basement as well but I have an advantage in being mad short, hahaha. So I can press full diameter plates no problemo. 

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Eh, the kyphosis is not a big deal.  It'll probably wind up helping my deadlift as it artificially shortens my torso (which is otherwise pretty long) and lengthens my arms.  I definitely cannot go behind the neck.  That would require rotating my shoulders further back which I cannot do.  Right now, my lockout position is a little forward of center.  This means a lot of work for the rear deltoids.  When I go straight up, I get a little shoulder impingement.  I think it's not bad enough to not be fixable.  I don't remember having this issue in high school, so I should be able to get back to that point.  Military press (behind the head) has always been a no-go.  

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Intro

Challenges: #1#2#3#4, #5

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Haha, like how Lamar Gant's scoliosis made him into a deadlift juggernaut. Good stuff. After a coupe cycles, probably like 6 weeks or so, building up my OHP I definitely want to to start focusing more on my deadlift again. I made the mistake of obsessing over my squat cause naturally that should be my easiest lift since I have short legs...nada. In actuality it's my bench and deadlift. If only I spent these last several months pulling like my prepubescent self I think I could've easily moved into the mid 4 hundos at the same bodyweight. I went months on occasion without actually deadlift... Eh, hindsight is 20/20.  

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No big bold idea about programming, but i do remember Paul Carter or Jim Wendler saying how OHP responds very well to volume.The example being for the novice doing Starting Strength and it stalling out after 2 or 3 deloads, time to start add volume and work on the other flaws that come with novice strength programs, getting a stronger and more mobile upper back for a better platform.

Lurker Warrior || Battle Log- No titles, no belts with PIE || "Strength is the cup. The bigger the cup, the more you can put in" JDanger

"As Iron Sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another"

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18 hours ago, Pat G said:

No big bold idea about programming, but i do remember Paul Carter or Jim Wendler saying how OHP responds very well to volume.The example being for the novice doing Starting Strength and it stalling out after 2 or 3 deloads, time to start add volume and work on the other flaws that come with novice strength programs, getting a stronger and more mobile upper back for a better platform.

Yeah, that seems to be the consensus. Carter talks about how the shoulders can take a lot of volume and recover quickly. Starr made a similar observation and recommended pressing AT LEAST 2x a week. I'll have to look up Wendlers perspective on the subject. I know he mentioned it in 5/3/1 and Beyond 5/3/1 but it's been a while since I've revisited his works. As far as upper back goes - that's my secret weapon. I love training my back more than anything else, neck included. I've yet to see a guy/gal with a big press that didn't have big traps to go along with it. 

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I'm not a big fan of specializing in one particular thing but if you're going to do it you should be pressing 4-5 days a week, minimum. We generally press twice a week just to keep the shoulders happy and healthy to support the Olympic lifts. For programming inspiration I'd recommend Shieko. It'll have all the volume you'll want with a little less of the frenetic disarray of piecing together multiple philosophies. Building pressing into a Shieko cycle would be pretty straightforward and you'd look at how he programs benching for guidance. You could either swap out press for bench wholesale or keep some of the benching (recommended if you're still into PL) and swap in a lot more pressing and pressing assistance rather than the bench support (the DB work, flies, ect).

 

 

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5 hours ago, jdanger said:

I'm not a big fan of specializing in one particular thing but if you're going to do it you should be pressing 4-5 days a week, minimum. We generally press twice a week just to keep the shoulders happy and healthy to support the Olympic lifts. For programming inspiration I'd recommend Shieko. It'll have all the volume you'll want with a little less of the frenetic disarray of piecing together multiple philosophies. Building pressing into a Shieko cycle would be pretty straightforward and you'd look at how he programs benching for guidance. You could either swap out press for bench wholesale or keep some of the benching (recommended if you're still into PL) and swap in a lot more pressing and pressing assistance rather than the bench support (the DB work, flies, ect).

 

 

Awesome! I'll definitely look into that. Yeah, I agree about pressing more. 

 

As as a side note: does anybody else get light headed/grey out when they clean & strict press? Well I suppose it's more of a power clean and then strict press but I went for a new max today (3 days before my meet, I know...) and worked up to 170 lbs power clean & strict press @ a bodyweight of 131  lbs (w/ shoes on) but on certain sets I thought I was gonna pass out! I do have naturally low BP though...

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Greg Everett listed some reasons why you could get that pre passing out dizziness

 

http://www.catalystathletics.com/article/2004/Why-Youre-Passing-Out-in-the-Clean-How-to-Prevent-It/

 

 

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Lurker Warrior || Battle Log- No titles, no belts with PIE || "Strength is the cup. The bigger the cup, the more you can put in" JDanger

"As Iron Sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another"

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