Overhead Press And Weighted Pull-Ups

Posted on 20 Nov 2010 11:04

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I’ve been working on my Overhead Press and Weighted Pull-ups and I wanted to share some recent developments.


For the longest time my OHP Max has been stuck at 185 lbs. Over the last 4 months I have gone from weighing 210 lbs to 185 lbs. My OHP max has stayed the same for the entire time. But, I’ve developed a couple of tricks to help drive progress.

Firstly, I’ve added in Weighted Dips on a separate training day. I’ve started out very conservatively. I perform 1 semi-warm-up set for 5-6 reps and then I perform 2 top sets. I aim for anywhere from 4 to 10 reps per set. Initially these were very painful because of my shoulder dislocation injuries but I have managed to develop a few personal tweaks, which have kept my shoulders more or so happy.

As the weeks progress I will gradually introduce more volume. But for now I need to make sure I find a solid base.

Secondly: Squeezing the Bar. We’ve all read this, right? Well, the penny didn’t drop for me till Eric started talking about a totally different topic regarding grip training. In his recent article regarding Hook Grip Versus Alternated Grip for Deadlifts Eric mentioned how important it is for strength trainees to have the ability to squeeze one’s hand while keeping everything apart from the forearms relaxed. I’ve been practicing this and it finally clicked. It sounds difficult, but it’s exactly like Eric said: as you sit there right now reading this, literally try to squeeze your hand into a fist as hard as you can but make sure that your upper arm and shoulders and everything else is relaxed. Only tighten your forearms.

The day it clicked was when I managed to Overhead Press 185 for 3 sets of 2. Yes: simple small changes can make a world of a difference sometimes.

Military Press Video


Everyone who visits GUS will know how fond we are of weighted pull-ups!

I’ve always had an issue with doing them far too often though – and I say this because I tend to go overly aggressive with them. Whenever I spend too many weeks working in the top end of my strength spectrum, I end up getting pains in my elbows and these pains are temporary but they do interfere with my training for that day.

I have spent the last 4-5 weeks doing heavy doubles and triples on these. I think my time on these is coming to an end. I am now going to make a few changes to my template. I will be doing weighted pull-ups with 45 lbs and working for reps. I will progress using Single Double Triple Progression.

On my back training day I will not be putting these in. On my back training days I will begin heavy dumbbell rows followed by some body weight pull-ups for reps. I am hoping that after a few weeks of banging away at these, I will come back to heavy weighted pull-ups for singles and doubles. Plus, it is very difficult to progress if I keep hitting 2RMs and 3RMs week in and week out. This will create a buffer zone for me to turn the +45x4 to 6+ reps and sets.


I have a special note to all new trainees and I think a lot of the experienced folk are going to be in agreement with me here. You have to spend some time in your mind and in the gym when you are alone to think about your training. There have to be these “Eureka” moments which have to happen to you. Your training evolves. Your form and technique will evolve. The way I Deadlift right now is not the same as I did earlier. I have the subtleties of pulling because I have had these alone moments when I can think and go over my training myself. These “Eureka” moments don’t happen when you force them. You can’t go looking for them and you can’t chase them. They just have to happen. What you have to do is make sure you are receptive because you don’t want to miss out on such an important moment.

I hope these thoughts can help some of you. I’ve got a long way to go but these tiny changes which I’ve made have really helped me. I think people need to realize that all that tough-guy talk about “Blood”, “Sweat” and “Tears” really is what it is. It is what Eric likes to call “Paying your Dues”. I am paying my dues right now for whatever I aim to achieve in the future.

This page created 20 Nov 2010 11:04
Last updated 20 Jul 2016 23:57

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