...Since overhead pressing didn’t hurt, I figured I would stop benching and focus on overhead. ...In fact, in early September, Jim Wendler asked me if all the overhead pressing I was doing had any carryover to the bench press. I told him that I honestly didn’t know because I didn’t bench much. (Up until that point, I had benched a total of four times in 2006.) Around that time (maybe November), I decided that all the Strongmen should train hard in the off-season to get stronger, and it seemed natural that we should do a powerlifting meet. However, that meant some bench press training—NOT! I did some shirt work and got the gear dialed in, but I continued to do the overhead press as a staple and even warmed up for the big shirt days with overhead pressing... I opened with 551 lbs, which was five pounds under my max, and took a second attempt at 650 lbs. I didn’t arch or use my legs, but I hammered it anyway—a 94 lb increase in my bench press. I hadn’t used bands or chains. I hadn’t done any speed work. I had never gone raw. I had never done a floor press or a lockout lying down, and I hadn’t used fat bars or weight releasers. Everything was done overhead. So the answer to Jim’s question is yes. There is tremendous carryover from overhead pressing to bench pressing. Also, there’s much less stress on the shoulders and elbows. Speed work and max effort work become one and the same because when pressing overhead one must be explosive. There’s no need for a separate day to add bands and chains and grind up your elbows. Work the shirt when you bench and press overhead otherwise (and not from a seated position either).
Overhead Pressing To Raise Your Bench Press
Mike Johnston relates how overhead pressing has helped push his bench press higher in an article at EliteFTS.