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mrw1980
12-13-2014, 09:54 AM
Hi guys,

I started lifting again five weeks ago after several years of getting out of shape. I decided to start with Mehdi's Stronglifts 5x5. I get pain in my upper back and neck if I go heavy at all with overhead presses. You guys think dumbbell presses (where I can rotate my wrists a bit) are a suitable substitute? Or is it more likely that my upper back is too weak, and I should stop being a wuss?

Thanks ahead of time for any advice,

Matt

Mr. Someday
12-13-2014, 10:21 AM
Hi guys,

I started lifting again five weeks ago after several years of getting out of shape. I decided to start with Mehdi's Stronglifts 5x5. I get pain in my upper back and neck if I go heavy at all with overhead presses. You guys think dumbbell presses (where I can rotate my wrists a bit) are a suitable substitute? Or is it more likely that my upper back is too weak, and I should stop being a wuss?

Thanks ahead of time for any advice,

Matt

Are you doing them standing? Free weights? Smith?

I prefer the Smith for heavy barbell presses so I can find a good groove, but I also do them behind the neck. I hate presses to the front. Bottom line, if a movement in a certain plane of motiuon is bothering you, try a different plane of motion, different exercise or run a higher rep range. Intensity can come in many forms.

mrw1980
12-13-2014, 12:02 PM
Standing, barbell, no smith.

I'll go down in weight and try behind my head next week. Thanks for the response!

familyguy1975
12-13-2014, 12:07 PM
Are you doing them standing? Free weights? Smith?

I prefer the Smith for heavy barbell presses so I can find a good groove, but I also do them behind the neck. I hate presses to the front. Bottom line, if a movement in a certain plane of motiuon is bothering you, try a different plane of motion, different exercise or run a higher rep range. Intensity can come in many forms.

Do you recommend the branford press?

Mr. Someday
12-13-2014, 12:12 PM
Standing, barbell, no smith.

I'll go down in weight and try behind my head next week. Thanks for the response!

Well I'm not saying do what I do, just that you should look at some different ways to basically do the same movement that doesn't cause discomfort. Standing was always too tough on my lower back for the weight I was using. I'm not an Olympic lifter and I work my core with heavy squats and rack deads, so was more concerned with just blowing my shoulders up, which led me to using a seated bench for any of my pressing movements. Much more comfortable, especially when going heavy.

InternetTuffGuy
12-13-2014, 02:38 PM
I had the same issues when I started up earlier this year. My solution was to lower the weight, focus on form and then move back up gradually which has worked for me. I can now press more than I could starting out minus the discomfort.

angrypenguin54
12-14-2014, 04:52 AM
I had the same issues when I started up earlier this year. My solution was to lower the weight, focus on form and then move back up gradually which has worked for me. I can now press more than I could starting out minus the discomfort.
Perfect advice. Lower the weight and go through the progression, you will be better off for it.

PiperBill
12-14-2014, 09:30 AM
I almost failed on the BB OHP today. I am on week 4 of SL 5x5. 95 lbs working weight. I have just spent an hour reading through the Starting Strength book and realize that my form is off. The OHP is a tricky one to get right and the SS book was a real eye opener with precise instruction and points on id'ing problem areas. I am gong to drop the weights and work on form only until I get it right.

You might consider the same? I have seen the book online in PDF format but I'm pretty sure this is a nono as far as copywright goes.

Bill

philipj
12-14-2014, 04:00 PM
Due to injury I have had to really lighten the weights I use. I have greatly increased my reps to 20+. For delts the standing press is one of the two best weight exercises we can do. Consider going way too light, let's say 15 lb dumbells for 20 reps. If you do them seated you will get more out of the exercise. If you can do a set to 20+reps with 15's walk away. Very slowly you can make progress, do not let influences outside of you affect you in the least. The goal is to be able to do the job, high reps and very light weights will get you there.

One day in the future other will ask "How did you get those shoulders"?

markewallace
12-14-2014, 04:30 PM
One day in the future other will ask "How did you get those shoulders"?

I get asked that now, and my OHP still sucks. :( I would prefer to have weak-looking shoulders that can OHP a truck.

- Mark

nod2014
12-14-2014, 05:19 PM
You don't need to do over head presses, just cut them out all together.

mirroroferised
12-14-2014, 08:12 PM
Did you start with just the bar like he recommends or at a heavier weight? Maybe throw up a form check video in here. Lots of guys around here can help you tweak your form and it helps a lot. I'm guessing you started too heavy.

RestoringTally
12-14-2014, 09:20 PM
Hi guys,

I started lifting again five weeks ago after several years of getting out of shape. I decided to start with Mehdi's Stronglifts 5x5. I get pain in my upper back and neck if I go heavy at all with overhead presses. You guys think dumbbell presses (where I can rotate my wrists a bit) are a suitable substitute? Or is it more likely that my upper back is too weak, and I should stop being a wuss?


Did you start with just the bar like he recommends or at a heavier weight? Maybe throw up a form check video in here. Lots of guys around here can help you tweak your form and it helps a lot. I'm guessing you started too heavy.

^^^^^ This.

Since you started lifting after a long layoff, you should have started with an empty bar, or maybe even lighter depending upon your size and starting strength. I gave a friend a standard bar (20 lbs) and some standard weights to start SL 5x5 for bench and OHP.

If you started SL 5x5 five weeks ago and you OHP is already hurting, you started too heavy. You should not be lifting 'heavy' after only 5 weeks. With a 5 lb increase each OHP workout, you should have only added 35 lbs to your OHP.

garuss
12-14-2014, 10:12 PM
You don't need to do over head presses, just cut them out all together.

Agreed. Especially the behind the neck press, high risk of shoulder joint injury as well as neck strain. If you must press, use dumbbells with a neutral grip and elbows pointed forward. Or the lift shown at the end of the third video below, with a barbell stuck in a corner.

www t-nation.com/training/shoulder-shocker

www youtube com/watch?v=Sw3r2lytys8#t=12

www youtube com/watch?v=BR38_ZKKUCs

I never do any forms of overhead press, except occasionally the barbell in a corner press (forgot what its called). Variations of raises to shoulder-level (dumbbell and cable, lateral, front , and rear) work well for me as long as i hit them very hard with good form.

Richie71
12-15-2014, 12:15 AM
As most advice is above, work on form. There's a lot can be wrong on an OHP: elbow position, back and head (leaning back with heavy weights becomes common) and using legs to push. Some people prefer behind the neck, some feel that has a high risk of injury. I've always been OK with behind the neck, but am using front presses right now. DBs are better for some, but I always have trouble getting them into position as the weights get heavy, and there's a risk putting them down too.

PersonaNonGrata
12-15-2014, 03:24 AM
Standing strict overhead press (ie; no push with the legs) is a great exercise.

Don't go behind the neck though, it's really bad for the shoulders biomechanically, you're asking for an injury

Casedogg43
12-15-2014, 09:18 AM
I really enjoy this exercise. front and back are addictive as shoulder growth occurs!
Really work the various heads of the shoulder when proper form is used. It has helped me with my range of motion on my shoulders a bunch as well. Helping with additional growth.

great exercise.

Cleveland33
12-15-2014, 09:33 AM
Hi guys,

I started lifting again five weeks ago after several years of getting out of shape. I decided to start with Mehdi's Stronglifts 5x5. I get pain in my upper back and neck if I go heavy at all with overhead presses. You guys think dumbbell presses (where I can rotate my wrists a bit) are a suitable substitute? Or is it more likely that my upper back is too weak, and I should stop being a wuss?

Thanks ahead of time for any advice,

Matt


I get asked that now, and my OHP still sucks. :( I would prefer to have weak-looking shoulders that can OHP a truck.

- Mark

Are you guys OHPing in the manner that Medhi/Rippetoe/Wendler/others preach? Elbows in front of the shoulders? Or the more "traditional" military press with the elbows flared to the side?


You don't need to do over head presses, just cut them out all together.

Unless you are a bodybuilder, you'd be better off cutting out bench presses.


Standing strict overhead press (ie; no push with the legs) is a great exercise.

Don't go behind the neck though, it's really bad for the shoulders biomechanically, you're asking for an injury

I like to use BTN as a finisher, 3x10 with light weight, usually just the bar to help balance out the shoulder girdle.