4 Tips to Get Stronger in the Overhead Press, aka Military Press
Maybe you’ve hit a plateau with your strength in the overhead press, or you’re just not happy with where you are currently.
Either way, it’s okay.
I’m happy to know you’re looking to improve on a lift, rather than doing the same thing with the same weight, mindlessly.
Also, improving overhead pressing strength (vertical plane) is a good way to balance the pressing strength in the horizontal plane.
Here are four things you can do to improve your overhead pressing strength:
- Improve Dips Strength
Improving your strength on dips will directly carry over to your overhead pressing strength. Dips place a lot of stress on your shoulders and triceps, and a stronger set of shoulders and triceps is of great help in the overhead press.
2. Improve Pullups Strength
It is a bit counter-intuitive, but pullups make use of the triceps to a good degree.
Basic physiology of muscle tension — Concentric contraction in one muscle is facilitated by eccentric contraction in the antagonist muscle.
For your biceps to contract in a pull-up or chin-up, it requires the triceps to hold equal tension.
In fact, the best way to improve your numbers on pull-ups is not by trying to pull the chin over the bar, but rather by trying to bring the bar down below the chin. This highlights the role of triceps in pull-ups.
3. Vary the Tempo
If you’re looking to improve your strength on overhead press, do a few sets of slow eccentrics, and isometrics at the end of your working sets.
You’ll see some quick improvements in strength in a few short weeks.
You should do this for dips and pullups too.
4. Give it time
Your soft tissues (ligaments and tendons) are stronger than your muscles, but they take 10x longer to recover than your muscles.
Allow them to recover, give them the time they need.
That patience will ultimately benefit you.
As long as you’re making micro-progressions with the above, your diet is on point, and you’re eating a sufficient amount of protein, you’re set.
Nothing for you to rush or worry about.
I hardly did any overhead pressing work in 11 months, once in a blue moon maybe.
I focused on improving my pullups, and dips for the most part.
Yet, I am able to press 65 kgs raw (no belt, no wraps) in the overhead press.
You can make similar or greater gains too.
Do share your progress in the comments section below.
All the best.