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Thread: overhead press progression

  1. #1
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    overhead press progression

    Im having a problem right now with my overhead press, I seem to have plateaued at 145lbs. Ive tried deloading (helped a little) but It always comes down to a halt at 145. Im deloaded to 140lbs atm, but now it seems im stuck at 5 reps in that too! Im pretty sure my diet is on order as all my other lifts are progressing, it just seems to be presses and to a lesser extent bench presses where im getting caught up. My back stuff is progressing nicely, ive added pull ups in recent months as well as continuing with rows/deadlift.

    So I was thinking of switching to db presses and push presses for the time being, but I have a few questions:

    -Im going to struggle cleaning 2 70lbs dumbbells to my shoulders, so im probably looking at doing them 1 at a time - but would this be counter productive?

    -Push presses with approx 5-10lbs heavier than my strict set, but with much, much slower negatives?

    -Triceps work. Now ive read various places that say working tris will help with overhead press and bench, but whats recommended? Close grip bench? skull crushers? press downs? Hip push ups? I dont have any dip apparatus unfortunately.

    -Switching to 3x3 for press and deloading at some point in the future?

    -Adding a further set with lighter weight/more reps (1 set of 8-10 for example)?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Alnor10; 03-18-2011 at 07:40 AM.

  2. #2
    weakling
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    A little more information about your stats/program would be useful but here is a little overall advise that can always help when trying to break strength plateus:

    - Up your BW
    - Improve technique
    - Microload
    - Tweak your programming
    - Work on your sticking points
    Last edited by darkangel; 03-25-2011 at 07:56 PM.

  3. #3
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    Whats your programming and progression like for the press? How often are you hitting it and how many lbs are you trying to add each time.

    Its a hard lift to progress on and you will likely either have to microload or use larger rep ranges.

    Maybe do a deload and start out with sets of 10 instead of 5. Work that until you stall again. Then repeat the process but with sets of 3. You probably just need some variety.

  4. #4
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    First off, you only deloaded 5 lbs. That's not a deload or a recycle. You need to drop the weight down to about 75% and work back up slowly. My advice, recycle the lift, start at about 75% and work up about 5 lbs a session. When things feel like they are about to stall again, start eating bigger and reduce the progression to 2.5 lbs every session.

    Also, if you were to switch to dumbbell presses, you wouldn't wouldn't jump right into using 70s. It's a completely different exercise and you'll have to get used to it first with lighter weights.
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  5. #5
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    My stats:
    5 feet 7
    204lbs

    Program is based on 3x5, inlcudes all the usual compound movements, squats, deadlift, bench, pull ups etc x2 workouts per week.

    Offroad, I have actually deloaded twice (down to 70% each time) and both times I come to the same sticking point.

    edit, to add alongside micro loading, how about some sticking point stuff? I have a power rack so I can set the pins at varying heights. Perhaps some attempt to increase those above my actual working weight?
    Last edited by Alnor10; 03-18-2011 at 09:02 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alnor10 View Post
    My stats:
    5 feet 7
    204lbs

    Program is based on 3x5, inlcudes all the usual compound movements, squats, deadlift, bench, pull ups etc x2 workouts per week.

    Offroad, I have actually deloaded twice (down to 70% each time) and both times I come to the same sticking point.
    I would suggest working on push presses as you mentioned. I've found that while I am struggling to break past 105 on my OHP (long, skinny arms) I can push press 125 pretty easily. You should be able to add more weight to your push press and when you stall go back to the OHP and try progressing from your last max.

    good luck

  7. #7
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    OR has some good advice, listen to that. Another idea would be to switch the rep scheme. If you can get 5 sets of 3 or even 3 of 3, start with that and slowly add weight. Some upper back and tri work may help as well.

    How often are you training shoulders? 145x5x3 is a lot of weight. You may not be getting enough rest to progress.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cards View Post
    OR has some good advice, listen to that. Another idea would be to switch the rep scheme. If you can get 5 sets of 3 or even 3 of 3, start with that and slowly add weight. Some upper back and tri work may help as well.

    How often are you training shoulders? 145x5x3 is a lot of weight. You may not be getting enough rest to progress.
    Twice a week.

  9. #9
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    If the OH press is the accessory lift, I would cut back the weight. If it's your primary lift you may want to alternate doing BB and DB between the two days, switching up the movement will help to keep the body fresh.

    Another alternative is to make bench your primary movement on the first day and use the OH press as an accessory movement, on the next day make OH press your primary and some variation of bench as your accessory.

    Make sure you're doing back work..personally, I couldn't do heavy shoulders twice a week, it would take to much out of me.
    Last edited by Cards; 03-18-2011 at 09:14 AM.
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  10. #10
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    If you keep getting stuck at the same weight even after resetting then its probably time to get "creative". I dont think sticking point work would really be in order, but other "advanced methods" may help.

    Im assuming since you are getting stuck at 145 its looking something like this.....

    145 x 5
    145 x 5
    145 x 3

    Make sure you are resting long enough (2-3 min. maybe even 4-5) So what you might want to do here, is cut the volume down to ONE work set. If you can do 145 for 8 reps for example, then you should be able to do 150 for 5. Set a rep range like this. Warm-up, and then rep out 145x (as many as you can) When you get to 8-10 you increase the weight. You can even use (rest-pause) occasionally to push harder into the rep range.

    Sounds like you just need to blast through the plateau.

  11. #11
    weakling
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    Ok, so your BW seems to be high enough and you already said your diet is ok. I'm also gonna assume that your form is good and you are resting properly betwen sets and in your off days... Based on these assertions here's how I would go about trying to progress some more (this should keep you busy for some time):

    1. Deload 10% and switch to 1X5.
    2. When you stall again deload 10% one more time and try to microload your way up, if possible., until you stall again.
    3. At this point, and since you said you are training this lift 2xWeek you can do a combination of a high volume day with a high intensity day.
    4. When you get to the point when even this doesn't allow you to progress anymore you can start adding some variety to work on your sticking points which you should be well aware of by this time since the previous steps should give from 6 month to a year worth of programming.
    Last edited by darkangel; 03-25-2011 at 07:56 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    I have the same problem...I've been just moving forward using push presses. I'm not quite sure if that will drive my strict press up much, but we will see. I was also stuck at 145 for the strict press...the other day, I easily push pressed 160 x 2....so we'll see what happens.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Meat_Head's Avatar
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    I assume 145 is your best standing overhead press? When I switched from standing presses to seated mine jumped 10lbs + reps in a few weeks. Its simply easier to find a groove and focus on nothing but pressing the weight seated. That being said, seated presses aren't nearly as functional a movement. Still, you might want to throw in a few sets of seated barbell presses after your standing presses(or push presses) in addition to taking the other advice here, couldn't hurt.
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  14. #14
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    Here is what worked well for me when I was trying to improve my overhead strength. I rotated between three exercises with a different exercise each week. Start with a weight that is very managable for the prescribed rep range.
    Week 1- standing overhead press; work up to 1-3 sets of 5.
    Week 2- barbell push press; work up to 1-2 heavy triples.
    Week 3- standing DB press; work up to set of 10 and then do 1-2 back off sets of 10-15 reps with a lighter weight (don't go to failure on your top set of 10).
    Week 4- standing overhead press; add 5 lbs. to your top set from Week 1
    Week 5- push press; add 5 lbs. to your top set from Week 2
    Week 6- standing DB press; work up to the same weight as Week 3 and do 11-12 reps
    Continue to repeat this pattern until you stall. When you can do 15 reps with DB's, get the next larger DB and drop back to 10 reps. Again, start relatively light with this and build some "momentum" over several weeks. You can do some supplemental work for the triceps and chest/bench press at some point during the training week, but don't kill yourself with this stuff. Also make sure you are doing plenty of lat and upper back work in your training. Incidentally, this rotation improved my bench press even though I didn't do any really heavy bench work for several weeks.

  15. #15
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    Some good advice here, ill let you know how I get on. One other consideration is that I havent changed my grip width in a long time, so ill also shift it around a little as i go on.
    Last edited by Alnor10; 03-19-2011 at 07:53 PM.

  16. #16
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    You want the right advice?

    You need to use a Westside style form of conjugate variety combined with a hard triceps work to bring up your press.

    In the absence of any should problems a big bench equals a big overhead press. The bench variations allow for an overload of the involved major muscles (delts and tris) thus increasing their strength more rapidly than just overhead pressing.

    Include a lower percentage - say 70% or so - pressing day once per week with 3 sets of 3-5 reps to keep you in the groove of the movement and then do an ME pressing day using bench variations plus accessory triceps work once per week.

    You will BLOW AWAY your old press record within 6 weeks guaranteed.

  17. #17
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    Wanna bump this to Chris' response. And have a question.

    Does anyone do DE work for standing overhead press? Maybe 8x3 with different grips at about 50% of max?

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    re-bump.... same question as above....
    Last edited by NITF; 12-25-2011 at 09:21 AM.

  19. #19
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    You can certainly do DE work, yes. I do think it might be better to do DE overhead pressing from a seated position just due to the nature of the movement.

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    better as in easier and safer? or better for the development of the muscles targeted?

  21. #21
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NITF View Post
    better as in easier and safer? or better for the development of the muscles targeted?
    Better as in more viable in the sense you can focus on the form and speed if seated as opposed to standing.

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