Q&A: Why no military press in the new program?


“Thanks for the check in. I successfully downloaded all the stuff, now I’ve got to organize it all! I think I’ve got your basic idea down.Was listening to some of your audio files last night. In looking through the manual I noticed there was no Military Press which you had said was one of the three basic exercises to do on some other postings? Change in thinking?”



Great question…I still think the barbell shoulder press (aka military press) is a great exercise but over the last few years of working with mountain bikers I have observed that they tend to be very tight in the scapulo-thoracic joint. Since the can not effectively slide their shoulder blades down and back to clear room for the shoulder joint to press straight overhead you end up with compensations that can lead to shoulder problems.

The DB version is much easier on the shoulders since it allows for each shoulder to move on its own and you can not use as much weight. If I was training someone and saw that they had the upper back mobility and core strength needed to perform a solid barbell shoulder press I might add it in but when I am writing a program like the Ultimate MTB Workout Program, which is for someone I have never seen move, I don’t want to take any chances.

I personally do very little barbell shoulder pressing and do more with kettle bells. Strength is not the only issue, stability is a big one as well. For example, you should be able to hold a heavy weight over your head for an extended period of time. If you can press more than you can hold overhead for 10+ seconds then you have too much “strength” and not enough “stability”. DB and kettle bell shoulder presses work on this stability factor better than barbell presses do which is the main reason I do the bulk of my overhead pressing with them.


Let me know if you have any more questions…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

The Ultimate MTB Workout Program

The Ultimate MTB Workout ProgramThis workout program is designed with one simple purpose – to be the best mountain bike training program on the planet. When you are ready to take your training program to the highest level possible then you can’t do better than this workout program. Based on my years of working with some of the best riders on the planet, this truly is the Ultimate MTB Workout Program.
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  1. Simon Boyce says:

    I recently switched from barbell presses to DB ones because of James’s recommendations. At first I was surprised that I had to lower the weight of the DBs (divided by 2, of course). I’d assumed that the bilateral deficit means you should be lifting more weight with DBs than a BB. But then I read that Mike Boyle recommends using 80% of the barbell weight, divided by 2, to calculate the DB weight. FWIW.

    Reply • February 27 at 4:44 pm

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