Monday, October 06, 2008

Re-thinking the PRESS

Last week I finally was able to PR in the press by duck-taping a 10 pound weight plate to the bottom of a 32kg KB. Was able to only 1 rep on my right. PR!!! Left? Not yet :(
But I still feel like I am missing something. Something is still not quite working....especially on my weaker left side. Now I realize this is a common problem, especially for a right hand dominant person like me. Anatomically and functionally something still feels "OFF" on my left side.

After reading Kenneth Jay's article on Training for Maximal Strength with the Russian Kettlebell (in the RKC manual on page 127), I realized that I have been lifting primarily the 28kg and 32kg for low reps. What is Kenneth's advice? To go much HIGHER on the VOLUME. I had been maybe getting around 8 to 25 total reps per training session (and that is with both arms combined). Now I am going to keep the high load day in for sure...but I am just adding in a higher volume day to get my pressing volume up which I cannot do safely with a heavier bell.

In other words my Pressing volume is way to LOW. Therefore I am taking the advice of Kenneth and adding in one super high volume day on pressing with the 16kg with the goal of being able to get around 100 reps per arm per session. I instinctively feel that this is important for me and will help practice my SKILL of pressing as I am using a lighter weight. And that is exactly what I started off today with.....a high volume day(at least for me).

Monday (high volume pressing day)
Barbell Dynamic Lunges 95lbs 3 sets x 5/5

Military Press with 16kg
10 sets x 5/5 = 100 total reps

Double Swings w/ 16kgs
5 sets x 10 reps = 50 total reps

Sunday Training w/ Yoana
10 x 10 100 yards Tempo Runs at 60% effort.
BW exercises after each 100 yard run (jumping lunges, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, shuffles, burpees, fisted push ups)

On another note I was able to assist Pavel (along with some other RKC's) at Pavel's NSCA Kettlebell Seminar up in Irvine. It is always awesome to watch Pavel teach and hang out with him. Pavel is just such a class act and has so much integrity! I will be teaching a Level II Kettlebell Seminar for the NSCA (an RKC prep course) on Saturday October 25th at the same place in Irvine. Should be fun!!!


Mike T Nelson said...

Interesting Franz.

Are KJ's thoughts to increase the volume at a lighter weight for more hypertrophy? Strength is a skill and perfect practice is where it is at!

Nice work on the PR!!

A few things I've noted

--watch your head position and make sure you don't stick it out in front. The main nerve to the lat runs around C5-C7 area and additional pressure on it (when the neck is forward) can cause that muscle to be weak. No chickens!

--open palm pressing when using a lighter KB
The wrist for many KB friends can take a beating and you may need to work the opposite--pushing the wrist "open". Plus with the open palm you will not be able to use grip strength to "hide weaknesses"

--mobility work on the wrist and opposite foot/ankle. Do all your other mobility work with your hand back and fingers spread. Go options are Z health shoulder circles, elbow circles, etc.

--use your eyes
You body has built in reflexes, so use them. When pressing the KB up, look up (head neutral), when lowering it, move your eye more from up to neutral (moving them down). Dr. Cobb has an article on DD on this. In my experience that alone will help in about 70% of the cases.

I think I have a new blog post!
Keep up the great work!
Mike N

Nikki Shlosser said...

Oooh. I'm going to copy you, Franz, and put in a high-volume pressing day, myself. I've never done that. Thank you!! I'm excited to see how this turns out for both of us. You will get that Bulldog!!!

PS, Saturday was awesome beyond words.

Franz Snideman said...


You're right....this is awesome stuff! I think we should make this into a post. It's too good!

Wow! I have some cool stuff to use now! Great tools! I will keep you posted on what differences I see and feel!

Franz Snideman said...


Yes. Saturday workshop was awesome! Great job! It was nice seeing you!

Let me know how the pressing goes!



Keats Snideman said...

Franzy, sounds like you might be on to something with upping your press volume.

And...awesome job on the snatches with the 88 pounder; incredible!

your bro

PS- check out my blog for a review of the nutrition seminar I went to last Friday. I'm trying to get back into the blogosphere after a very long hiatus!

Taikei Matsushita said...

Franz, I did KJ's stuff, 100 reps per side with 24kg. The following week, same 100 reps with a little mix of 32kg.

And I got to 4th rep 32kg ladder in about couple months. I was stuck with doing 2 reps of 32kg with my left for quite some time.

I implemented whatever invites tension during break. Pull ups dips, elite rings, and a little bit of Z health impersonation.

Franz Snideman said...

Thanks Keatsy!

That bulldog snatch is fun...but very tough!!

Yes. Everyone go check out my twin brother's blog at :

Jason Marshall said...

Great job on the PR! You'll definitely be ready for RKC II! I'm digging the tempo runs w/ body weight stuff. That seems like a good break.

So, will the NSCA start accepting RKC affiliated events towards CEU's?

Franz Snideman said...


So looks like Kennneth Jay's high volume approach helped out! Let me give it a whirl! At this stage it could only help!

Has the Z-health helped you at all?

Franz Snideman said...


I'm not sure about the NSCA honoring all RKC related courses. The seminar that I am doing at the end of the month was by their request so they have to honor it. They asked Pavel to teach both the Level 1 and level 2 KB courses but Pavel only wanted to teach the level one. He recommended me to teach level 2 for their NSCA trainers and they contacted me.

You might want to contact them and submit whatever courses you have and see whether or not they will accept it and give CEU's for it. You have nothing to lose trying!

Franklin said...

Great PR, 81 lbs of pressing strength is nothing to laugh at! Considering you goal is the bulldog you ARE making great progress.

I do love KJ's high volume approach but my this ole body just can't handle it. It does work, just check out the progress Dustin Silveri is also making for more inspiration.

As for myself, I'm having been making slow but steady pressing gains with lower volume double 24 training following a Mark Mahler approach .. there are so many ways to skin the cat.

Aaron Friday said...

I hope it works for you. The light weights are probably golden, but the heavy-ish weights were a problem for me at high reps.

Franz Snideman said...


Thanks. I still have a ways to go. The Mike Mahler double KB approach is awesome. I love all the double KB Drills. Especially the double KB Press!

Franz Snideman said...


I will only do the higher volume with the lighter weights. I could never handle the higher KB's with higher volume. That is way too much for me. The truth is that I don't like volume at all. I would rather do a couple of heavy low rep sets and call it there.

The challenge is that eventually you have to start adding some volume if you want to get stronger!

Let's see how it works with the lighter KBs!

Anonymous said...

Franz, I am so dissapointed that I missed the Kettlebell level I workshop! I need to recertify NSCA but I dropped my vigilance of the course calendar. Do you think someone like me with kettlebell experience could join your level II workshop? It would be an honor to watch you work in person.

fawn said...

I love when you post how you train. We have something in common... we are both married to people who exceed at pressing. Yoana's pressing ability is awesome.

Franz Snideman said...


The level II workshop would be nothing that you haven't already done. If anything it would be a nice refresher. You are welcome to come of course!

Hope to see you there and meet you in person!



Franz Snideman said...


Thanks for the feedback. You and I are married to strong pressers....what happened to us? :(

No, really, you and I should get together for therapy to deal with our mental problems stemming from "SSS" (Stronger Spouse Syndrome)

Hope you are well!