Can You Overhead Press Every Day? (Pros and Cons)

There are a couple reasons why someone might want to do the overhead press every day: 

  1. The overhead press is an excellent exercise for strengthening your shoulders. So, if you have weak shoulders, the argument can be made that more pressing may be beneficial. 
  1. A strong overhead press can carry over to a stronger bench press. Therefore, if you’re looking to add pounds to your bench press, then performing more overhead press could be a quick win.

So, can you overhead press every day? You can overhead press every day as long as you vary your reps and exercise selection and monitor your fatigue levels. However, daily overhead pressing shouldn’t be done over the long term, if you’re an athlete and close to a competition, or if you’re unable to dedicate seven days per week to training.

We’ve written quite a bit on daily training for specific lifts.  Check out our other guides if you’re interested in learning about high-frequency training:

Overhead Press Every Day: An Overview

Overhead pressing every day is a short-term, high-frequency training strategy for advanced lifters. While it’s not necessary to train the overhead press every day, temporarily incorporating it into your training cycle can help you gain strength and technical proficiency in the movement.

Beginners, individuals who are returning to the gym after a long break, and athletes with a history of shoulder injuries shouldn’t overhead press every day. High-frequency training can exacerbate pre-existing injuries or cause injuries in individuals who aren’t used to it.

CrossFitters should also avoid overhead pressing every day. Your shoulders already take a beating from movements like snatches, thrusters, wall balls, pullups, and handstand walks. Adding a daily overhead press routine to all of that volume could lead to overtraining.

I also recommend that powerlifters who are getting ready for a competition (or any athlete) to avoid daily overhead pressing in the weeks leading up to your competition date. This will allow you to prepare for your meet without placing extra stress on your body.

The Pros of Overhead Pressing Every Day

1. It allows you to add variety to your training.

As you’ll see in the sample program below, if you want to overhead press every day, you should switch up the movements, tempos, and training stimuli.

This gives you a chance to add variety to your training. You can work on muscle imbalances, strengthen the upper body muscles that barbell overhead presses don’t target, and practice movements you may not perform otherwise.

2. It helps you improve your technique.

When you train the overhead press every day, you get more opportunities to practice the movement.

A daily overhead pressing routine will include 1-2 days per week of technique practice. You have more chances to perfect your technique, which will help you become stronger and prevent injuries.

You’ll also be able to address your weaknesses that lead to form breakdown and practice better movement patterns on a more consistent basis.

3. You don’t have to spend as much time in the gym.

Some people aren’t able to spend 2 hours in the gym 3-4 days per week, but they can manage shorter training sessions on a more frequent basis.  

For example 20-30-minute workouts over 6-7 days per week. 

If this sounds like you, overhead pressing every day will allow you to make progress even if you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the gym.

By focusing on one specific muscle group during a short training session, you can still maintain a consistent training schedule while maximizing the time you have available to work out.

4. You can break through strength plateaus.

Upping the frequency of your training can help you break through a strength plateau if progress on your overhead press has stalled.

By switching up your programming and changing up your training volume and frequency, you introduce your body to a new training stimulus. And because you’ll also have days where you’re focusing specifically on your technique, you’ll become a more efficient lifter, which will help make you stronger.

I would recommend increasing training frequency for any lift that has plateaued, and the overhead press is no exception.  However, it should be viewed as a short-term strategy (4-6 weeks), and not long term. 

Check out our other guides on breaking through plateaus: 

Want to get advice on programming, technique, or competing? Speak with one of our coaches.

The Cons of Overhead Pressing Every Day

1. It Impedes your ability to recover properly.

Proper recovery is essential for allowing your muscles to heal and giving them the chance to rebuild. When you train the same muscle group every day, it doesn’t leave much time for recovery.

The shoulders and upper back are involved in some way in all of the main powerlifting movements. They remain active throughout every part of the bench press. The lats and upper back keep the bar in place and support the spinal erectors during a squat. The lats, traps, and rhomboids support a proper shoulder position and help keep the bar close to the body in the deadlift.

Overhead pressing places stress on these same muscle groups, which could negatively impact your other lifts since you’re not giving your upper body an adequate amount of time to rest.

2. You increase your risk of injury.

Performing the same movement every day increases your chance of injury. This is especially true if you follow the same rep schemes and train at a high intensity every day.

Training while fatigued can also lead to form breakdown or inefficient movement patterns. Over time, this can cause the muscles and tissues in your upper body to break down, which can lead to muscle strains and overuse injuries.

3. Doing the same movement every day for a long period of time is boring.

If you were to perform the barbell overhead press every single day, you’d get bored quickly. 

There’s something to be said for consistency, but too much repetition can result in a loss of motivation. You’ll start dreading your workouts and be tempted to skip the gym. Even if you push through it, you may not perform at your best.

If you tend to get bored easily in the gym, overhead pressing every day may not work for you. There are plenty of other ways to train at a high frequency and strengthen your shoulders without going to the gym every day.

4. The daily time commitment can lead to burnout.

Most lifters have lives outside of the gym. You have kids to care for, full-time jobs or school, and friends and relatives that you like to hang out with. You may even enjoy other sports outside of the gym.

For most people, getting to the gym every day isn’t possible. Trying to force yourself to work out every day when you’re already managing outside stress from work, school, or family responsibilities can lead to burnout.

Does Overhead Pressing Mean Maxing Out Every Day?

When following any kind of high-frequency training routine, you have to manage the intensity properly.

For a lift like the overhead press, you don’t want to tax your shoulders too much. You want to have enough energy to continue squatting, deadlifting, and bench pressing throughout the week, even if you temporarily decrease volume for the other three lifts.

Maxing out every single day is an easy way to injure yourself or burn yourself out. You don’t want to train to failure during each workout, and you shouldn’t try to test your 1RM every day.

Instead, you should vary each training session. So one day you’ll focus on technique work, the next day you’ll focus on hypertrophy training, another day will be dedicated to strength work, and so on.

Training different qualities each day is called Daily Undulating Periodization, which is a highly effective model for structuring your training. 

How to Overhead Press Every Day Safely and Effectively

Anyone who wants to overhead press every day should gradually work up to it. If you’re currently only training your shoulders or doing the overhead press once a week, increasing the volume suddenly can cause injury.

I recommend spending a few weeks increasing your overhead press volume to 3 days a week, then 5 days a week, before starting to train your shoulders every day.

I also recommend that you perform pulling movements 3-4 times per week to balance out all of the pressing you’ll be doing. Even if you’re only following a daily overhead press routine for a few weeks, this will prevent muscle imbalances.

You’ll need to monitor how well you’re recovering every day. Getting enough sleep and eating enough to support your daily workouts are essential. This will prevent you from accumulating too much fatigue and will make it easier to get through each of your workouts.

Working on your shoulder mobility can help prevent injury and allow you to achieve the proper range of motion for all of the shoulder movements you’ll perform. It also helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), so you can continue training every day without discomfort.

Overhead Press Every Day: Sample Program

This is a 1-week sample overhead press every day program. 

I would run this program for 3-weeks, followed by a 1-2 week deload where you drop the frequency of overhead pressing to 2-3 days per week.  

The program loads the barbell using both RPE (a measure of how many reps you have left in the tank when you finish the set) and percentages (a percentage of your 1 rep max overhead press). 

If you don’t know what your 1 rep max overhead press is, then you can estimate based on prior workouts. 

Day 1: Strength

Standing Overhead Press

  • 1×5 @ RPE 7 (leave 3-4 reps in tank)
  • 2×5 @ 10% off topset

Day 2: Technique

Tempo Standing Overhead Press (4-sec lowering)

  • 2×3 @ 60% of 1RM 
  • Choice pulling exercise
  • Stability Exercises (YTWs, Scapular Pushups, Face Pulls)

Day 3: Hypertrophy

Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press

  • 3×8 @ RPE 8 (leave 2 reps in tank)

Day 4: Strength

Seated Barbell Pin Shoulder Press

  • 1×3 @ RPE 8 (leave 2 reps left in the tank). Start with barbell on pins just in front of eye level.
  • 2×3 @ 10% off topset
  • Choice pulling exercise
  • Stability Exercises (YTWs, Scapular Pushups, Face Pulls) 

Day 5: Technique

Standing Overhead Press

  • 3×4 @ 65% of 1RM

Day 6: Speed/Power

Push Press

  • 4×3 @ 55% of 1RM.

Day 7: Strength

Dumbbell Arnold Press

  • 1×6 @ RPE 8 (leave 2 reps left in tank)
  • 1×6 @ RPE 9 (leave 1 rep left in tank. 
  • Choice pulling exercise
  • Stability Exercises (YTWs, Scapular Pushups, Face Pull)

Other Overhead Press Resources

Final Thoughts

Overhead pressing every day isn’t necessary for most people, especially beginners, people recovering from injury or returning to lifting after a long break, and athletes in other sports with a heavy focus on the upper body.

If you do decide to overhead press every day, you should vary your exercises, reps, and training stimulus. You should also only overhead press every day for a short amount of time. And if you’re having a hard time recovering, you should decrease your training frequency.

About The Author

Amanda Dvorak

Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.