5 KB Snatch on each arm
5 KB Clean and Press on each arm
5 Push Up Jacks
Wendler Shoulder Press week 2… 3×3 @ 70,80, and 90%.
Ground to Overhead (95/65)
Easy 750 Row
Shoulder Band Stretch
*Courtesy of T Nation… This is the readers digest version
My Favorite Upper Body Lift
by Jim Wendler – 4/02/2012
The year was 2001. It was a Sunday morning and I’d just finished bench pressing. I felt like crap – another bad bench workout, and it was pissing me off.
I was sick and tired of being awful. Tired of having a shitty bench press. Sick of being weak.
I tried to figure out what I needed to do. Was it my programming? Technique? A “magic” assistance exercise that I wasn’t already doing?
I decided right there that I would no longer listen to or read anything on training. I already knew enough to figure out my problem – acquiring more random training “knowledge” wasn’t going to help me. I needed to rely on my gut and my experience, and certainly not any trends.
I had to start by being brutally honest with myself and realize that I was plain weak.
Weak everywhere. Everything needed to get stronger. Weak Point Training, while good in theory, suggests that you have “strong points.” I’m sorry, but few people with such glaring holes can really classify themselves as strong, period.
So I resolved to make everything strong. Quads, hamstrings, abs, low back, shoulders, triceps – you name it.
For the shoulders, I decided that until I pressed 500 pounds for 8 good reps, I was weak. With that goal I had a lot of work to do.
So every Sunday morning after I bench pressed, I did five sets of 10 reps on the press. I didn’t use a machine. I didn’t sit on a bench and turn it into an incline. I did them standing with a barbell.
I started with 95 pounds. Pathetic. Keep in mind that at the time, I was bench-pressing 410 pounds.
After two months of steady pressing, my bench rose to 440. One month later, it rose to 455.
I fell in love with the press, first because of the effect on my bench press. Now it’s no longer a means to an end, but the end itself. The press has become a mainstay in my training program and easily my favorite upper body lift.
Here are some things that have helped me increase my press from the paltry sets at 95 pounds to doing 300.
Hold your Air and Use Your Lats. If your body wilts when you take the bar off the rack, your press will follow suit. This isn’t groundbreaking but it bears repeating.
Before each set, I grab the bar at the appropriate width and grind my hands into the knurling. I take in short breaths and start to stabilize my torso. As I get under the bar I make sure my lats and upper back are very tight and pulled (somewhat) together.
The key to taking the bar off the rack and a quality starting position is using the lats as a shelf. This means that you shouldn’t support the bar with just your arms and shoulders, but also the lats. This ensures that the bar path stays close to the body, not arched out in front.
The only problem that I’ve run into with keeping your air is getting too dizzy. The solution is simple – learn how to flex, stabilize, and hold your body without taking so much air. One thing that can help is taking the breath in with your nose, not your mouth.
Turn the Volume to 11. As noted in my press revelation above, I did five sets of 10 reps with my initial press training and it helped quite a bit. If you’re a beginner and have a very weak press, this is crucial. I still recommend a good base program with heavier, progressive weights, but don’t be afraid to do a lot of volume after the main training.
There’s nothing magical about five sets of 10 reps. I recommend 50 & 100 reps per assistance work phase.
Learn the Form. Strength training experts have dealt a huge blow to the press in recent years. It’s been demonized as being the culprit of all upper body injuries. The one thing that bothers me is this: everyone with shoulder problems bench presses, but few press.
It’s like being attacked by one person and then punching another in retaliation. That kind of logic might work in New Jersey, but in the gym it doesn’t make sense.
You can’t say an exercise is bad if you don’t do it correctly. Any exercise done incorrectly is bad – so that’s a poor excuse to shit on an exercise.