Seated DB Overhead Press

An anatomical image of a muscled individual performing a single arm dumbbell overhead press while seated on a bench. The image is from behind and the "lifter" is pressing with their right arm. The active muscles are highlighted and labeled.

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:

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion

Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.


Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.


Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.


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