The overheads press is undoubtedly one of the most badass exercises you can do.

I mean, there is just something primal about lifting a bunch of weight overhead. The strength, power, balance and transmission of energy required to really max out on an overhead press cannot be undermined.


Think about this – you see guys bench a plate all the time, but how many of them can overhead press the same amount of weight? It’s rare – and its because it is a much more technical exercise.


In order to grow stronger on the overhead press, you must not only become stronger in the shoulders, but you must learn how to train your muscles to fire in the correct sequence.


A good overhead press doesn’t just require strength, it also requires a perfect transmission of power throughout the entire range of motion.


This is how you boost your overhead press – by becoming stronger and more efficient.

5 Tricks to Boost Your Overhead Press


Demonstrate Patient Persistence

This is one of the major aspects that I try to teach all my lifters. Being patient with your progress is important – but only if you are putting in the work on an exercise.


Simply by doing the overhead press, you will eventually become stronger – but any mishap in your form can lead to injury. This isn’t a simple case of practice makes perfect.


Whenever you start committing to true strength training you must always keep in mind that your progress will come with perfect practice and persistence.


Understanding that your overhead press will take time is important. You’re hitting big muscles in complex movements – there is a lot going on here. Yes, you want to see growth, but when we are working on the overhead press we will only be training 1-2x a week. This lower frequency means we are always looking for quality over quantity.


Don’t Become Obsessed With The Barbell Press

I understand the benefits of specific training. I understand that when it comes to overhead press the bread and butter for strength and performance will always come with a barbell press. With that said, do not fall in love with the barbell.


In order to maximize your strength, you need to train with variable tools. This means dumbbells, handstand/pike presses and many more.


The barbell is not the only way you can train the shoulders for overhead press.


If you’re looking for more complex training methods or are still searching for ways to boost your overhead press shoot me a message and we’ll talk about your training.


Implement Tempo Training Wisely

Far too many people become so overrun with the idea of progressive overload that they forget there is more to training than simply packing on the weight.


In order to train your shoulders while avoiding injury, you should be smart and use tempo schemes. By this, I mean using variable time on eccentric and concentric contractions.


By slowing down or increasing the tempo you can make major changes to the difficulty of the exercise.


TOP TIP: By slowing down or decreasing the tempo you may also notice that you are able to stimulate more hypertrophy in the muscle. This means faster gains and less incidence of injury.


Charles Poliquin does a great job of explaining the importance of tempo training. You can read this short article for more information.


Use 4×4 and 6×4 Rep Schemes

When it comes to the overhead press we always want to demonstrate good form, but the purpose of an overhead press is to be anabolic.


Think about it – there really is no value in increasing your 12 rep overhead press, right?


You’re here because you want to pack more weight on your shoulders and grow stronger. This means using moderate intensities for lower reps.


By this, I mean using 4-6 reps by 4 sets. The best times for this type of weight should always be longer. Longer rest will allow your muscles to fill back up with glycogen for the next set, and if you’re a smart cookie and you’re drinking amino acids you should be fine for a near-max on each set.


Work into this weight – don’t be silly and start with your 4 rep max.


Once you’re warm and ready to roll using a lower rep scheme like a 4×4 with a 3-minute rest between sets. Use this time wisely – mobilize your rotator cuff and hydrate. Don’t waste your time talking to the pretty chick training beside you – you’re here to work.


Record Everything

Honestly, if you’re not recording your training you should almost not be doing it in the first place. The purpose of recording your training is so that you can accurately track your progress.


Not only will this help you to maintain your position towards your goals, but a lot of times it will help to motivate you. Especially if you are only hitting this exercise 1-2x a week (not including accessory lifts) you may struggle to stay motivated.


Using a workout log will help you to see all the progressions – no matter the size. Packing on 5 pounds every other week is still progress.


Training for Boulder Shoulders

Big shoulders take time. Big shoulders take dedication and perfection in your lifts. It is one of the easiest systems to injure, and if you are not smart about your strength training you will become a statistic.


I urge you to create a structured training program.


Lay out your goals, think about how you can work towards a bigger overhead press and then implement simple tricks – like the ones above, to fulfil your strength aspirations.


If you find yourself at a crossroads and are unsure how to make consistent strength improvements while avoiding injury give me a shout – I’d be happy to help.


For a custom strength programming be sure to check out our shop.


Enjoy the gains.