A 4-Week Plan to Increase Overhead Pressing Strength
A 4-Week Plan to Increase Overhead Pressing Strength
By: John Doss
If you are looking for a simple way to increase your overhead pressing strength, then I have some good news! You don’t need any fancy equipment or complicated training methods. All you really need is four weeks of hard work and dedication. And believe me, it’s not going to take long before you see results!
Before we get started, let me say that I am not a professional trainer or even a certified personal trainer. However, based on my own experience and from what I’ve read in books like Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and The Strongest Shall Survive by Ed Coan, I feel confident enough to give you the best advice possible. If you follow these guidelines, you will certainly see positive changes in your lifting performance.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure that you are getting enough sleep. When I was just starting out with weightlifting, I would often wake up at 3 AM because I had overslept and didn’t get enough sleep. Nowadays, I try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night so that when I wake up in the morning, my body isn’t tired from a lack of rest. This is really important for recovery and building up your muscles.
The next thing you want to do is start a diet. Obviously, you’re not going to build up your muscles if you don’t put any food into your body. I know it’s hard when there are so many yummy fast food joints around, but you need to resist the temptation. Try having a chicken salad for lunch instead of a double cheeseburger and fries. Maybe even eat some fruit or drink a protein shake for a snack instead of reaching for that bag of chips.
Another thing you can do is to buy yourself a weightlifting belt. Weightlifting belts are designed to be very stiff so that your core (abs and back) can provide additional support to your body while you are lifting. It will remind your body to keep your abs and back tight even when you are not actively thinking about it.
Now that you have a routine down for eating and sleeping, let’s talk about your actual workout plan. The first thing that I want you to do is go to the gym and find a squat rack. Now, before you start putting heavy weights on your back, I want you to practice with just the bar. Part of proper form is being able to lift the weight off of the ground without assistance. So, grab the bar and lift it off of the ground from a standing position.
Now, walk in a circle and get used to the weight distribution. Keep your back straight and look forward as you lift the bar.
Go ahead and set the bar down for now. The next exercise I want you to practice is the bench press. Find a spot on a flat bench where your legs can go off to the sides (but not so far that you would fall off). Put the bar at that height and lift it off of the rack. Lie on the bench and lift the bar above your chest.
As with the squatting, make sure your back and neck are rigid and your eyes are looking straight ahead. Lower the bar back down slowly back to the rack. Do this several times until you feel comfortable with the weight.
Once you’ve got that down, it’s time to put both together! Grab the bar and put it back in the squat rack. Set the bar at a height that when you squat down, your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure you can easily walk the weight out and back in again with no assistance. Now, walk out with the bar.
Keep your back straight and head looking forward. Take a deep breath as you bend your legs and bring yourself down into a squat. Go as low as you can while keeping good form. Inhale as you stand back up. Do three sets of ten reps (each leg).
For the next part, I want you to find a bench that is at the proper height for doing bench presses. Pick the bar up and set it at that height. Lie down on the bench and lift the bar above your chest. Take a moment to get used to this position before you begin. As with the squat, keep your back rigid and head looking straight ahead.
Take a deep breath and slowly lower the bar to your chest (take at least one second to complete the motion). Now, breathe out as you push the weight back up. Do three sets of ten reps (each).
You might find that these exercises are a little difficult at first. Don’t worry about it. They should get easier as your muscles become stronger. Also, make sure to keep your diet in mind. If you don’t eat enough food, your body won’t have the energy it needs to rebuild itself.
I’ll be checking in with you every now and then but feel free to write to me if you have any questions or concerns. I want you to keep everything up (running) while I’m gone!
P.S. Don’t forget about your stretches!
As you read the letter, a flood of emotions overtake you. You can’t believe that this is what she wanted you to do all along. It’s crazy! But, maybe it isn’t. She wants you to get stronger so you can defend yourself if need be.
Also, there’s a part of you that wants to get stronger. To see what you’re truly capable of.
If anything, this whole event has taught you that the only certainty in life is uncertainty. You can’t predict the future so you need to be ready for everything. If that means swinging a sword or shooting a gun then you’ll do it without hesitation. However, you would prefer not having to kill someone. It’s scary enough having to do it in a controlled environment like the shooting range or with supervision like you had to do with the stalker.
To just be out there, alone, and have to fend for your life?
You don’t know if you could actually do it. But, you guess that’s what it means to be human. You weigh the costs versus the benefits and act accordingly to ensure your survival.
You can only hope you’ll be ready if the time comes.
As much as you hate visiting them, your parents have been on your mind lately, especially since your lastest letter from Ashe didn’t mention anything about them. You haven’t heard anything from her in about a month which is rather odd since she always writes to you at least once a week.
Since you’re really worried now, you decide to head to your parent’s house despite the late hour. You remember mom telling you that the cops found the stalker’s body in some woods a few miles from where she used to live. Knowing your stubborn parent, she tried to handle this alone and probably got herself into a mess she couldn’t get out of. Either that or your parent’s finally decided to cut ties with the both of you for good.
You lock up your apartment and begin heading to your parent’s old house, though half way there you realize you don’t have your cell phone on you. This would be useful right about now since the police station is only a couple blocks away. Not wanting to go back, you head to the police station instead.
The waiting area is empty save for a lonely desk clerk who doesn’t even glance in your direction. You quickly head over to the counter and bang on it several times until he notices you.
“Hey! You can’t…” He says before you interrupt him.
“My parents have been kidnapped and I need to report it!” You say.
“Oh, um…okay…” He looks around nervously like he’s expecting someone to come down and yell at him for not doing his job.
When it’s obvious no one is coming, he hesitantly asks you to have a seat and he’ll get to you as soon as he can.
Five minutes later…
You’ve been sitting here for nearly ten minutes and he still hasn’t come back. In fact, you don’t even see him at all anymore. You want to bang on the counter again to get his attention, but once more something stops you.
“Hey, purdy…I knew that dress would look good on you.”
You turn your head and spot a ghostly image of a man standing just behind you. He looks fairly distinguished with a mustache and goatee, though the odd part is he’s wearing modern clothing from what you can tell.
Who are you?”
“Oh we’ve known each other for quite some time now, but I think under the circumstances, you can just call me Reed.”
you ask in surprise.
He laughs at this. “No, no, dearie. You can call me God.”
You have no idea why, but somehow this doesn’t come as a surprise to you.
Have you happened to see my parents?
I can’t find them and I’m worried.”
He nods. “Yes, I know. I’ve been keeping an eye on them for quite some time now. They’re fine, have no worries.”
At this point, you stand up from your chair and begin to get angry.
“No, I HAVE worries! They’ve been missing for a month and no one will help me find them! Even the police are useless!” You shout.
“Hmm, well that isn’t really my fault you know.”
Well whose fault is it?
!” you nearly shout in his face.
God backs away from you and gives you a disapproving look.
“I don’t tolerate thatkind of language.”
“Yeah well I don’t tolerate people who won’t help when others are in trouble!”
God just shakes his head. “You are a very disrespectful child. I don’t know what I saw in you. I gave you a beautiful home, a caring family and all you do is scorn me and my help.”
Oh yeah? Well if you’re such a loving “father” why don’t you stop the earthquakes then? Why don’t you stop all the horrible things that are happening in this once great town?”
“I have my reasons.”
What reasons could you have for allowing so much suffering?
What is the point of all this?
! TELL ME!”
You want to know why? You really want to know?”
God now looks very grim, his tone has changed from disappointed to one of someone about to tell a story they’ve told many times before…but one they still hate to this day.
Do you remember 2001: A Space Odyssey?”
What? The movie?”
He shakes his head. “No, the movie was 2010. I’m talking about the original book. By Arthur C. Clarke.”
I think I’ve heard of it, why?”
“Because in the first few pages of that book, Arthur describes the inspiration for the story.
He says it was a party where a couple of professors were talking and one turned to the other and asked ‘What would you do if you could throw a tennis ball and have it come back to you, every time?’
“And the other professor responded, ‘I wouldn’t throw it in just any direction, I would throw it so it would loop all the way around the Earth and then return to my hand.’
The first professor then said ‘Ah, but then what if the Earth was spinning away from you? Would you not have to throw it harder, so it would loop far enough to catch up? And what if you threw it too hard, so it would loop all the way around the sun? What if it were to loop around a black hole? Where would it go then?’
God continues. “He then said that he wished there was someone at the party, a rational person, who could answer these questions. And that’s when he realized he was that person. Because he was the creator of Earth and all its lifeforms.”
He looks at you, awaiting your response.
“That’s me. I am that professor. And you are the rational person who can answer the questions I have. Because while I know my creations, you know yours.”
“I’m not following.
What are you even talking about?”
“I’m talking about the Chaos. The Cataclysm. I’m talking about why this is happening and what caused it.”
You stand there staring back at God without saying a word.
“I need you to help me find out what created this,” he says, pointing at the TV screen.
“No. I don’t think you understand. I don’t think you’re capable of understanding. I am NOT YOUR TOY! I am a human being with free will and my own mind.
You do not control me. I will not be used to answer your petty questions! Now, leave me alone!”
“If you are harmed, then your family, everyone you know and love, everyone in this town, and everyone in this country will suffer unimaginably before they are finally killed. I’m not threatening you, I’m promising you. You know I can do it. But if you help me, then I can promise you and your loved ones a better life. You won’t have to work another day in your life.
You can go to college, have a career, have children, whatever you want. It’s all there for you. All you have to do is help me. Please, consider it.”
And with those words, God disappears.
“No! Come back!
You’re not done torturing me yet?”
you shout at the empty TV screen.
You rest your head against the screen and let out a deep sigh.
What the hell am I going to do?
I can’t let God kill everyone I know, but I can’t help him, either. There’s no way out of this.”
You pace back and forth in your living room for hours, thinking about what you should do. You eventually arrive at a conclusion. There’s only one way to find out if you’re right or wrong. You have to visit your family. If God doesn’t do anything to them or the town, then you know you were right about him and can try to stop him.
If he does do something, then you’ll go along with it, if only to protect your loved ones.
You call a cab and tell the driver to take you to your family’s house. You arrive within minutes. As you walk up to the front door, you notice that everything seems normal. If God is going to strike, you think he would’ve done it by now. You take out your key and unlock the front door.
I’m home!” you yell.
You hear some footsteps walking towards the foyer, and soon your mother appears.
Honey, why are you here? Is something wrong?”
she asks as she gives you a big hug.
“No, nothing’s wrong, Mom. I just came to visit you guys for a bit.”
“Well, that’s nice. Your father is out right now, but your sister should be home from school soon. You can hang out with her.
How long are you here for?”
“I don’t know. A couple days at least.
Is that OK?”
“Sure it is! Your room is still here; you can stay here as long as you want.
Now, what do you say we go out for some pizza?
I’ll even let you pay this time.”
“You don’t have to do that, Mom.”
“I know I don’t have to, but I want to. Come on, get your coat; let’s go. I’m starving.
You put on your coat and follow her to her car. After driving for a few minutes, you arrive at the pizza place. You and your mother enter and are seated immediately. You both order a small vegetarian pizza and two cokes. Your mother starts up a conversation about how school is going and make various small talk topics.
After about twenty minutes, the pizza arrives and you both eat while continuing the conversation. Everything is normal so far; there’s no sign of God. Maybe you were wrong about him visiting you, although you still doubt it. Maybe he’s visiting your sister or father. After lunch, you decide to give your sister a call just to see what she’s doing. You don’t really expect her to be available because if she is, it’ll be luck. You go through your mother first, but she says there’s no answer. Then you try your father, but after several rings, he doesn’t answer that either. You don’t really understand. They’re usually always in the house unless they’re going out somewhere or in the garden.
Mom, can I go try my sister one last time?”
“Go ahead, but don’t take too long. We need to get home soon.”
You stand up and walk outside with your phone and search for your sister’s number. Luckily, you find it in the first try. After a couple rings, someone picks up. It’s your sister.
Sarah, what are you doing?”
“I’m at school taking an important test that I’m sure you’ve never heard of.”
“It’s the afternoon and you’re supposed to be home right now.
Why aren’t you?”
“I’m in the bathroom, da-ta-da-ta, tada,” your sister sings.
How old are you again?”
“Just because I’m in high school doesn’t mean I can’t take a gap year. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have studying to do.”
You sigh heavily. “Forget it, Sarah. I’ll see you later. I’m at the pizza place down the street. If you want to meet up with me and my mother, then come here now.”
“I can’t right now. I need to get back to studying. Later, David! Love youuuu!”
You flip your phone shut and return to the small pizza place. Your mother is sitting in the same place you left her, although now she looks troubled.
Who was that, honey?”
“My sister,” you reply as you sit down.
She doesn’t want to come here?”
“She sounded busy.”
“That’s too bad. Oh well, more pizza for us then! Here’s our waitress. Now, what should we get…
You stop listening to your mother and look around you. You find it odd that the place is almost completely empty. There are a few people sitting at a table not too far from you, but other than that, the place is deserted. It almost makes you uncomfortable since there’s no one here other than your mother, who you now notice has a small, black, metallic object in her hand. The waitress comes by with a notepad in her hand and a strange smile on her face.
It almost looks… permanent. Like it’s a part of her face.
“Hello. My name is Jenny and I’ll be your server today.
Can I start you off with something to drink?”
Your mother orders a coffee, while you order a sprite. Jenny smiles at your order and skips off to the kitchen to place the order. Your mother turns to you and gives you a serious look.
“Son, we need to get off of Longneck. The Yevethan scum have ties to the Syndicate and they found out about our business here. We need to get off of this moon as soon as possible.”
How long do we have?”
“We don’t. We need to leave before the restaurant closes today.”
What about our stuff?
We can’t just leave without our stuff.”
“We’ll send for it later. I have a friend on Castra who can shelter us for now. After that, we see how the game plays out. Now, come on. Grab your stuff and let’s get out of here.”
You do as your mother says and follow her out of the restaurant. You take one last look at it before closing the door behind you. You doubt that you’ll ever return here again. The pair of you head outside and are about to head for the car when a voice from behind stops you.
“Well, if it isn’t Jeanette and her son, David. I thought the pair of you would be halfway to Castra by now.”
You turn around to see Mason, a young man around your age with tanned skin and shaggy black hair. He has a wide grin on his face as he leans against the wall behind him. You’re not exactly sure of his specific species, but you know it has to do with cats, given his brown eyes and facial features.
“That’s not funny, Mason,” Jeanette says, “David just got out of the hospital not too long ago. We were about to go so he could rest in the car on the way to Castra.”
So which hospital was it?”
“It was a medical center, not a hospital,” Jeanette says, clearly getting agitated with Mason’s questioning.
How many medical centers can there be in this part of Longneck?” Mason asks, “Was it Holitorium?
I bet it was Holitorium.”
Mason, why do you care so much? Why don’t you just leave us alone? We’re trying to leave, ok?”
“I’m just saying, David needs to rest if he just got out of the hospital.
Why not rest at my place?
I’ve got a couch he can sleep on and we could hang out for a bit.”
Mason suggests this as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. You have no desire to go with him, especially considering how he’s acting right now. Jeanette, however, is clearly torn.
“Mason, I’ll call you soon. David needs to rest and we have errands to run,” Jeanette says.
“Ok, I understand,” Mason says, “It’s not like I can come with you two anyway. I’ll see you later then.”
Mason smiles and winks at Jeanette and walks past you two towards the entrance of the restaurant.
“David, we need to go,” Jeanette says, motioning towards the car.
Who was that?” you ask, “And why didn’t you want to go with him?”
He was just a guy I dated a few times. Nothing serious. C’mon let’s go.”
So why didn’t you want to go with him?”
“He just… nevermind. Let’s go.”
Jeanette and you walk over to the car and get in. Your mother pulls out of the parking lot and onto the main road.
“We need to stop at the grocery store so I can pick up a few things,” your mother says, “We can go home after that.”
“I need to go to the library before we go home,” you say.
“It closes in an hour and a half,” Jeanette says, looking at her phone.
“…Yeah but…” you mutter.
“No buts,” your mother says, “it’s out of the question.”
“Fine,” you say, lying down on the back seat of the car.
You rest your head and close your eyes. Jeanette turns on the radio but turns it right back off. Silence dominates the car for the remainder of the ride, which is fine by you. You just want to rest your eyes for a bit.
Ten minutes later, Jeanette speaks up.
“Ok, no more than five minutes.”
“Mm,” you grunt in agreement.
You open your eyes when you hear the beep of the parking break being turned on. Jeanette opens her door and gets out, then comes around to your door. She opens it and extends her hand.
“Come on, let’s go.”
Where are we?”
you ask, taking Jeanette’s hand as she helps you out of the car.
“The library,” Jeanette responds.
The library certainly is different at night. The few cars in the parking lot are gone, and the lights inside the building are dim. The only noise is the occasional hoot of an owl in the distance. Jeanette walks up to the front door and taps a key code into the number pad by the door, unlocking it.
You have your own library card?”
you ask in amazement.
“Yeah,” Jeanette says, opening the door, “Come on.”
You walk through the door and into the library. There aren’t many lights on inside, but there is enough for you to see. The carpeted floors make almost no noise as you walk across them.
Why are we here?”
you ask, “It’s closed.”
It’s not closed to me,” Jeanette says, walking ahead of you, “I work here, remember?”
You walk after Jeanette as she leads you through the library. You’ve never been here at night before, and it’s almost a little thrilling walking through a place where you’re not supposed to be.
Jeanette walks over to the counter and grabs a set of keys out of a drawer.
I’m gonna give you the nickel tour, ok?”
Jeanette asks, “Come on.”
You follow Jeanette as she walks away from the counter and into an aisle. Unlike the rest of the library, this aisle has it’s lamps turned on, giving the place a warm and cozy feel.
“This is religion,” Jeanette says, standing by the aisle.
You look at the books that surround you and smile. They haven’t changed at all since you were last here. The bible series “Understanding Christianity”, “Buddhism and You”, “The Qur’an and it’s Insights”, and many more line the shelves.
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