How to overhead press 135 lbs?

December 31st 2018

The last time I overhead press heavy was about 3 months ago. My best overhead press is 155 lb. I'd like to share my insight on how to overhead press 135 lb.


Overhead pressing 135 lb can be very challenging. One of the best ways to get to a 135 lbs overhead press is to follow a linear progression program. Using additional shoulder accessories can also help you get a bigger overhead press.


How I started to overhead press 135 lbs

About two years in strength training, I was already overhead pressing 132.5lbs for one set of five repetitions. Because i followed a linear progression program, I was forced to reset in weight inside of going higher.


And about 2.5 years into strength training, I recorded that I was overhead pressing 135lbs for 3 sets of 3 repetitions. So, it is safe to say that it took me around 2 years to start overhead pressing around 135 lbs. At the time, I weighed about 164 lbs.


Linear Progression Programs

For the first two years of strength training, I did nothing but run linear progression programs. I ran Starting Strength and then Greyskull LP.


Also, if you are interested in my detailed review of Greyskull LP that I spent hours on digging through my training journals from years ago, you can find that here.


When I was first overhead pressing, I was able to do 85 lbs fairly easily. And i deliberately started lower too so that I can carry that momentum into my training.

Should you use microplates?

One of the driving points of Greyskull LP was that I got to use microplates. And i could remember that 115lbs -125lbs used to be a major sticking point for me. With microplates, I was able to slowly inch my way to a higher overhead press.


In fact, I was a little more motivated to overhead press every session because of microplates. I was interested to see if I could improve more and to see if I could set a new working set PR.


Since my gym did not provide any microplates, I had to buy my own. I purchased a microplate set from Amazon and they worked really well for me.

Now, would I recommend that everyone get microplates? No, definitely not. Having microplates was nice and it was definitely helps with training with your upper body as you may stall faster with upper body lifts than lower body lifts. One way to combat this problem is to use microplates.


But it is not the only way. You can definitely still make more gains by working with a lower weight, and doing more sets and repetitions. By doing more volume, you are essentially doing more work to help your overhead press. And isn’t that what we are aiming for in the end? A bigger overhead press?


Another way is to make your own plates or use extra collars to stimulate the fractional weight. But this also comes with its own set of challenges, something that you may not want to encounter if you are training at a local gym.


So, whether you do have microplates or not, it is just another tool used in order to make training a lot smoother. If you are still interested in buying your set of microplates, you can purchased them here.

Overhead press accessories

When I was running Greyskull LP, I only did two accessories:


  • Weighted Dips
  • Weighted Chin-ups


And that was it. After Greyskull LP, I really increased the volume of my overhead press sets. Meaning, I just did more sets and repetitions overall. Most of the time, it was with a lower weight.


While these overhead press accessories worked for me, there are a ton of other exercises out there. Here are a few more exercises could also help your overhead press. Remember, you do not need to have to use all these exercises but it would be helpful to figure out which works for you:


  • Wider grip overhead press
  • Incline bench press
  • Close grip bench press
  • Behind the neck presses
  • Face pulls
  • Push Presses


While I have tried and implemented all the overhead press accessories listed above, there was only one issue. Reflecting back, I was not very serious serious about getting a huge overhead press. I was really going through the motion with the accessories, which was a huge mistake on my part.

So, how to overhead press 135 lbs?


1. Continue to do linear progression

The best advice I could give to someone looking to overhead press 135lbs is to run a linear progression program. It is structured and simple. It will help you get a bigger overhead press, no questions asked.

2. Do more shoulder accessories

If you find yourself stalling, you may need to incorporate some shoulder accessories. Work on your arms as well. Do you think it will be easier to overhead press more weight if you have big arms? I can guarantee you that the answer is yes.


So, do more work on your upper body. Get bigger triceps. Get bigger deltoids. Get bigger biceps. It will all help you get a bigger overhead press PR in the future.

3. Do more overhead presses

While the linear progression programs are good, they are not perfect. For some people, linear progression programs may get them up to a 225lbs overhead press. For some, it may simply be not enough volume.


So, you need to do more overhead presses. Are you doing 3 sets of 5 repetitions for over 6 months now? How about trying 4 sets of 5 repetitions? Or how about trying 3 sets of 6 repetitions?


You can always do a little better every time. And with this positive mindset in place, your overhead press max will jump up dramatically.


4. Work hard and lift heavy weights

So, you added more shoulder accessories? You started doing more overhead presses? And you are still not making any progress?


Good. Be patient. Strength training takes time and you cannot rush progress. Sometimes, it will come down to you lifting heavy weights for weeks at a time, months at a time, before you see any progression.


And that is fine. You will get a bigger overhead press this. Humble your ego and trust in the process. Work hard and continue lifting heavy weights to help improve your overhead press. Results will come.

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