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Behind Perfecting the Press!

October 26, 2010 12:11 PM

It has been almost two years since I started putting Perfecting the Press! together and it is always rewarding to see something come to life. For a long time the kettlebell military press was one of my very favorite things to do and for a long time my training revolved around presses, pullups, pistols and snatches. As you may know I recently stepped down from my Master RKC position and this decision caused me to look back not only on all the great experiences in the RKC but also made me pull out all my old Moleskine notebooks containing most of the kettlebell training I have ever done.

Throughout my years with the kettlebell (I was introduced to it in late 2003) I have accumulated close to one million ballistic repetitions and around 300.000 presses in my quest to conquer the kettlebell. That is a lot in a relative short amount of time. So why am I telling you this? Well, one popular model used to describe motor learning suggests three different stages in the development and acquisition of a skill set. The model suggests that in order to become autonomous in any skill you need several hundred thousand repetitions under your belt and the very elite athletes, those competing at national and international levels, have done millions. All these repetitions serve a purpose. Practice with thorough evaluation of all aspects of each repetition and then choosing what single thing to improve in the next repetition is what makes a great athlete. That was exactly what I wanted with the presses, pullups, pistols and snatches- I wanted to be better than good. I wanted to be among the elite. If I succeeded or not I will let you decide, but I did manage to press two 32kg bells in one hand and press the beast 11 times on my left and 10 on my right. While that is not equivalent of pressing the Inch dumbbell it is still pretty good for a guy who is 6'4'' and as Pavel says; "has a wingspan of a 747". Perfecting the Press! Outlines the various methods I utilized to get there along with a scientific rationale of why they work. Perfecting the Press! also contains one of my approaches to monitoring fatigue while fitting in this much overlooked parameter with Intensity, density and volume.

At this point I should give you a training tip to really boost your pressing abilities but instead I will give you a tip that will boost EVERYTHING you do, be it pressing, squatting, deadlifting- you name it! Get a coach. Get a coach that can provide you feedback on what you do. A coach that will specifically take the skill you are working on apart and provide constructive feedback on each and every little segment of the movement you are practicing. Right now you might be thinking: " Is that supposed to be the big training tip? Of course! Everybody knows that.......blah blah blah..." Well, how many of you are actually doing it? How many of you are actually spending money on proper coaching? Not just occasional coaching but ongoing frequent and structured coaching? My guess is that it is not the majority of you and that is OK. Just remember that if you want to be way above average you have to have a coach. The best athletes in the world have coaches so why shouldn't you?

Oh yeah, one more thing: If you are wondering if the program template outlined in Perfecting the Press! will work for pullups and pistols as well I can tell you that I utilized the exact same template to get me to a double Beast dead hang pullup and and 64kg pistol.

Please take the time to review Perfecting the Press! on - whether you like it or not, I am a firm believer that we all need feedback to get better, and getting feedback from you will help me get better as well.

Finally, remember to enjoy movement because life happens in motion!

Kenneth Jay, author of Perfecting the Press! has worked with elite-level athletes since 2000, including world champions and Para-Olympic and Olympic medalists in wrestling and swimming. In addition to working as a strength and conditioning coach to elite-level athletes, Kenneth currently does research at the University of Copenhagen and the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment and is working toward his PhD in neuro-science. He is the author of the first university experiment done in the Western world on kettlebell training and cardiorespiratory physiology. That experiment served as the basis for his first book, Viking Warrior Conditioning. A former Master RKC, Kenneth is now, along with his studies, a Z-Health Master Trainer candidate.

KJ Movement Coaching