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.

Why?

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

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

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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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