I tend not to program overhead presses too much anymore. I’ve just found that it usually aggravates existing shoulder problems in wrestlers. However, when I do add them into programs, there is one variation I heavily favor- seated.
I know what you’re thinking…
Seated, on a bench, with a back support.
Unfortunately, that’s not it.
My favorite overhead is performed from a seated position on the ground with your legs straight out.
I like this for a number of reasons, but it really boils down to the built in correction against cheating.
1. When you perform overhead presses on a bench with back support you can cheat. You cheat by driving your upper back into the bench. This makes it a little more like an Incline Press.
2. When you perform a standing overhead press, you can do the same thing. Obviously, you can’t drive your back into a bench, but you can lean back.
Listen, I know when you’re straining, sometimes technique is going to breakdown a bit.
But for overhead pressing, I don’t think “cheating” to grind through an extra rep or two is a good long term solution.
First, it’s going to allow you to use heavier weights. This is going to result in higher volumes on your shoulders. Higher volumes = greater wear and tear.
Second, when you’re really straining to get an extra rep or two, you’re at a higher risk for injury. Listen, I’m not against pushing yourself. It’s how you get stronger. I just don’t like it for shoulder-focused lifts.
The shoulders of wrestlers take such a beating from wrestling. I am hugely against causing unnecessary stress to this joint in the weight room.
Ok, that’s enough reasoning behind why I prefer this style of overhead pressing.
Here are the 2 versions I have the wrestlers I train use: