Getting the press back up

I’ve recently found a great and simple way to build up my press. However simple it may sound, it’s been very effective for me and I recently managed to hit 4 solid reps at 95kg/210lbs.

While the number one fix to all pressing movements is simply to gain weight, that’s not practical for most people. Either because they’re happy with their weight or because they’d rather stay somewhat in shape than add bodyweight.

Background:

I’ve always enjoyed overhead pressing more than benchpressing and my press is pretty decent (at least compared to my miserable bench press). It’s also been a priority of mine for several years to get the press up.

Realizing my benchpress was shit I decided to give a little more attention after the danish powerlifting championships this year. What I discovered has changed my entire training philosophy.

The fix that unstuck my stubborn press:

I currently train a pressing movement three times each week. Whereas before I’d probably overhead press twice or alternate the movements, I’m now benchpressing twice a week and overhead pressing once.

What I’ve found is that benchpress variations effectively build upper body pressing strength (duh) which has a good carry-over to the press. The press itself obviously has great carry-over to the press, however it’s such a stubborn lift to build, that building overall pressing strength has a better return on time invested (for me at least).

I’ve also changed the way I look at progression entirely. I don’t use any kind of set progression and I’ll often do the exact same workout for several weeks in a row. More weight is not the only kind of progression. Increase quality and speed of reps is even more important.

Finally I’m doing way more reps per set than what I used to do and keeping it way easier. It doesn’t mean I half-ass my training, as I still put maximum force into each and every rep. However I’ll usually finish a set with a good couple of reps in the tank.

Three quick tips:

  1. A ratio of 2:1 benchpress to press ratio seems to be the sweet spot for me. For support I’ll do inclines and shoulder presses with dumbbells and dips. This builds both presses.
  2. Don’t just pile the weights on mindlessly. A GREAT set of 5 reps is better than a sloppy set of 7 at the same weight. At least for long-term strength building.
  3. For both presses (bench and standing) I like to keep the vast majority of my work in the 5-8 rep range at 70-80% intensity. More reps also have the added benefit of making you more swollerestest. Yay.

Get that press up!!

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