Build Your Press with Better Programming

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In this re-release, Matt & Scott discuss strategies for programing your press--practical tips as well as the underlying principles.

The press typically stalls before the other lifts. Fewer muscles contribute to the press and the smallest deviations from an ideal bar path will cause missing reps. Unlike the other lifts, we also have more choices here in terms of form--strict, hip movement, arm movement, Olympic press, etc. Because the press stalls first, MED changes are used first.

Here are the typical MED changes for the press.

  • Microloading (2.5 or potentially even smaller weight jumps)
  • 3x5 to 5x3
  • Move to 4-day split
  • Intensity day & volume day
  • Change in form: hip throw, Olympic press, bar dip
  • Supplemental lift: for press, especially pin press or press lockouts

The press reacts to programming more like an Olympic lift. The press requires practice, especially if a hip throw or Olympic style is used. Heavy triples, doubles, and singles can help.

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