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Thread: OHP for Raw Bench - Thumbs up or Down?

  1. #1
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    OHP for Raw Bench - Thumbs up or Down?

    Overhead pressing gets a lot of flack sometimes when its related to increasing your raw bench.

    For whatever reason there is information out there that we (Westside) don't do any overhead work either, which isn't true.

    The difference may be that we treat overhead work as more of an accessory exercise that is used less frequently. It's not something that is planned, however it is used.

    I do find a strong correlation to my shoulders being in good shape and my raw bench going up. However, too much and my shoulders go from being in good shape, to fried and torn apart.

    What works for you? A lot of overhead work, none, or somewhere in the middle?

    What kind of overhead work? overhead pin presses, standing barbell, seated dumbbell, take your pick.


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  2. #2
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    I hit my heaviest meet best while doing my heaviest OHP in the same cycle. I also injured my shoulder shortly after that meet and havent been able to do OHP regualrly. I also havent topped my meet best since that cycle. I think they def help and carry over.
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
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  3. #3
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    How often were you doing overhead work at that time?

    Every other week or every third week seems to work really well for me, but I normally drop it all together 2 weeks out from a meet.


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  4. #4
    OVERCOME krazylarry's Avatar
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    Big thumbs up. I train it as often as bench, squat, deadlift. Each has their own day, 5/3/1 template. The OHP and deadlift I also feel has a higher correlation of raising those and becoming a better athlete.
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  5. #5
    GFH Lones Green's Avatar
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    I added overhead work in as well as lockouts at the same time (threw them in after speed bench) and my bench has gone up a lot since doing that. I've done lighter weights for sets of 10-20 with a fat bar and it doesn't wear my shoulders out too bad. If I squat heavy with the straight bar before, sometimes I have to 86 it.

    I'm opening 15 pounds heavier than my best bench at a meet in 10 days, and honestly think the lockouts have helped more than the shoulder strength.
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  6. #6
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    I have chronically weak shoulders but after doing all overhead work for 10 weeks for my last olympic lifting meet i just hit a small paused raw PR on bench. Second week back benching in general so it seems there's a benefit.
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  7. #7
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    I like the OHP to build power off the chest. What I've noticed is that when I train the OHP hard my bench stalls and I feel "weak". About 4 weeks or so after I back off on the OHP I feel super powerful and explosive.

    For me I love the OHP as an off-season builder. I do little to no OHP during a 16 week training cycle.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    How often were you doing overhead work at that time?

    Every other week or every third week seems to work really well for me, but I normally drop it all together 2 weeks out from a meet.
    I hit them every week after my main bench work.
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
    Bench: 525
    Deadlift: 755
    Total: Raw with wraps: 2000. with out wraps: 1925

    Best lifts Equipped
    1050, 840, 715. Total: 2605

    Representing AtLarge Nutrition and EliteFTS

  9. #9
    Gaglione Strength Chris Rodgers's Avatar
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    I like this topic Travis because it is something I have been thinking about as well. I have always been a weak bencher. I realized ~6 weeks ago that I hadn't been doing any OH work in a long time so I decided to add it back in. It's too soon to tell if it will carryover to a 1RM bench yet, but I have noticed my shoulders are getting stronger.


    Hey Lones, what type of lockouts have you been doing? Top-end is definitely my biggest weakness on bench.
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  10. #10
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Matt, that's what I go through as well. If I beat the snot out of them, I seem to go backwards and end up with super sore AC joints lol. But if I hit it just right I get a ton of power off my chest and it makes my benches a lot more smooth.

    Anyone do overhead rack lockouts? I've found those in the past to be a great way of getting some mid range OHP work in without getting too stupid.

    For the guys who do it every week after their max bench movement, what kind of rep ranges are you doing?


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  11. #11
    illinois fattest lifter theBarzeen's Avatar
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    Some sort of overhead pressing gets done every week after my bench work.

    With that said, it's just to keep my shoulders healthy so the weights are usually pretty light but the reps are high.

    Usually some dumbbell presses overhead do the job but recently I've been doing more Savickas and Klokov ( or however you spell that) presses.....
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  12. #12
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    I throw them in the mix every other week and rarely hit maxes as they tend to tear up my shoulders. Going to have to try the rack lockouts!
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  13. #13
    Wannabebig Member gaz90's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    Matt, that's what I go through as well. If I beat the snot out of them, I seem to go backwards and end up with super sore AC joints lol. But if I hit it just right I get a ton of power off my chest and it makes my benches a lot more smooth.

    Anyone do overhead rack lockouts? I've found those in the past to be a great way of getting some mid range OHP work in without getting too stupid.

    For the guys who do it every week after their max bench movement, what kind of rep ranges are you doing?
    i have started using overhead work for 6 weeks after DE for 4sets of 5-10reps, so noting heavy yet, i wanted to get used to the movement and see how my shoulders feel, so far so good. my overhead is getting stronger, no bench PRs yet but all pressing is feeling much stronger.
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    Hey Travis, I think the higher volume DB work would probably be better for me in a meet training cycle.

    I don't like Lockouts because they're tough on my joints. I'm becoming less and less a fan of partials. I prefer to train my lockouts with full range movements.

    As a total side note, I miss OHP and Pull-ups the most with my biceps rupture.

  15. #15
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    I've been doing them for a couple of months now, and they seem to have helped my shoulder stability quite a bit.

    What are you guys doing for sets/reps? Do you aim for more volume, more eight/less reps, or cycle? I've been cycling heavy one week, more volume the next, as it seems to give my shoulders a break.
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  16. #16
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I think all the ohp work I did in the past when I was exclusively benching equipped helped. However, now there is no correlation with my raw bench. That's not to say all the work in the past is not making a difference presently.


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    What sort of grip width were you guys using?

    When I ran SS I was in a shed and had to do them seated. I used a close grip with my index at the edge of the knurling. 3 sets 5 reps.
    The only lift I'm proud of at this point is a close stance, ass to grass zercher squat of 170kg x2 at 85kg bw. If only they held zercher squat competitions...

  18. #18
    Wannabebig Member gaz90's Avatar
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    does anyone rate using OHP for max effort work if looking to increase the bench press???
    last meet, GPC, Irish Open: 03/11/2012
    @ 82.5kg/ 181 junior raw
    S: 192.5kg/424
    B: 130 kg/286
    D: 225kg/495
    best gym lifts:
    S: 182.5kg/400
    B: 135 kg/300
    D: 220 kg/485

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaz90 View Post
    does anyone rate using OHP for max effort work if looking to increase the bench press???
    I would not. i would use it in the 5-10 rep range as an assistance lift when trying to build the bench.

  20. #20
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    I usually do them once a week. But varying the reps, usually they are higher reps, but rarely I will do a set of 5, sometimes my top set will be 15 reps, sometimes higher. Standing overhead press is the only variation I am currently using. If I overdo it with weight or reps you bet my next bench session will go down dramatically, but it comes back obviously. Same goes for other exercises because I have fairly high frequency although many variations throughout. Overdo 5 rep bench, my ME bench will be a little tougher, just a constant beating never fully recovering till a deload, although my numbers go up on each variation over time, partly why I don't return to the same one for a while.

  21. #21
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    I can say from recent experience that overhead work has increased my raw press. This is from doing none at all. However my groove is now a little higher it seems, pressing right at the bottom of the chest opposed to the top of the stomach.
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