Friday, March 26, 2010

A WSB approach to the KB Military press.

I'm actually starting to think I will be able to train to get a bit stronger again. I thought that was over forever, truly, and that I would never be able to push myself under some heavy(er) iron again. And I probably shouldn't but I'm not talking about getting under 3 or4 or 500lbs I'm just talking about wanting to press the Bulldog.

Since my back cleared up and my snatch hasn't been trained my press has been feeling good. Very good. And safe, as well. Much less dynamic and ballistic, of course, than the snatch. And I think my body can safely handle the levels of tension I will have to produce to strict press the Bulldog at a bodyweight of 160-165. That's more than half my bodyweight at age 53; not too bad, I guess.

I've been day dreaming about it and that's a good thing. A very good thing. That's how I've always prepared for training and competitions; I would dream about them. See myself doing it, feeling, in the muscles of the mind, how exactly, in minute detail what it would be like. I would practice it in my head.

When I was a gymnast I dreamt about gymnastics every single night for 7 years. All through high school and my three years at Iowa. To say I was obsessed is kinda an understatement, but remember I had very little talent and lots of will power. And big dreams.

And this is a little dream but I am starting to think like a lifter again and it's cool.Working at Girya all day, everyday, looking at that chunk of iron, now with Max Shank's hand print in chalk on the sides and wanting to put it overhead, Knowing I can, probably right now if I had to, but also knowing I will take the safer and slower road and actually train for it, prepare for it and relearn what I already know how to do.

I was just about to wipe Max's paw print from it to make it mine again but then thought:I can't do that until I press it . Til it is mine. Until then it's still his, he owns it. That and much more but I will own it too. Until then it will just taunt me and that's ok. It will keep me on track.

When I start thinking about my training goals I also start thinking about program design and exactly HOW I need to get to where I want to go. I have always loved the Westside barbell template as it is so simple and direct in it's approach. It's all about all the components of strength and body mechanics and muscles and how to tweak them to your specific strengths and weaknesses.

You never fail a lift, Louie would say, a muscle failed. A weak link showed up. Make that stronger and the lift will improve. Until another link fails and you fix that. And on, and on...

So onto the press

I'm thinking about alternating a heavy day, which would be the equivilant to Max effort day with a volume day.One day per week. I would work up to an almost 100% non psych effort and then go to work on my specific weak points in the press. each week the lift would change.

Specialized Variety. Same but different

week one: strict military press( * done for either max weight or max reps)
week two: bottoms up press
week three: palm press
week four: one kb floor press
week five: start over at week one or test the lift.

working up until I can do 4-6 lifts above 90% of my best. doing mutliple reps above 90% really helps you develop the endurance to do 2-3 really tough attempts at a weight in case you miss.

The next week
Just the classic lift ( strict kb press) done for 5x5 or 4x8 or some basic volume load with a medium weight 70-75% of my best( or my goal) so the 24 or 28kg. slow steady lifts with perfect form and concentration

then cleans as an assistance exercise
one arm cleans or bottoms up cleans or two kb cleans.
on the heavy day go for the weight that you want to press and on the volume day do, well, volume. your press is only as good as your clean.

I will also work the tactical pullup on this day using specialized variety here too.I know I can do the Level 2 requirement of 24 kg hooked on the toes. so this will be part of the training template as well.same muscles as the press, just in reverse :))

then some triceps( pushups, weighted or reps) and some clubbell work should round it off.

It's nice to feel like my old self again,even if just a bit.

will write this down more clearly later.


Faizal S. Enu said...

I am especially interested in this. I remember WSB training the way I lifted back in 2001.

I did a more traditional approach where the GM, Box Squat, Board Press, and speed presses were the main lifts, and I used KBs as assistance work.

And for you not being talented -- please. You were talented AND you worked hard.

Mark Reifkind said...


thanks man.I guess I do have talent for working hard :))
I have been thinking about this for some time but when I couldnt really train had little interest in exploring it. now it's not just theoretical. will keep you updated.

David R Bradley said...

Riff, one of my goals this year is to press that bad boy Bulldog too. I've been working my BUP hard to help with tension, grove and form. Also been practicing the Clean and Swings with the Bulldog. I'll follow your progress and see if I can cyber-siphen your warrior spirit and determination...

Jordan Vezina said...

You should really put out a DVD on pressing. :)

Mark Reifkind said...


I also can't wait to swing and clean the Bulldog, just to get it in my hands for a change. I have Bottoms up cleaned the thing and want to do that and more soon.

I have no doubt I will press it,and actually think I will press the 44Kg as well but I need to develop the approach so that it is 'trained' correctly.

'cyber-siphon" I like that.

I'm sure you will conquer it as well. and more.
thanks for the comment.

Mark Reifkind said...


not a bad idea, Sir, not a bad one at all :))

Tracy Reifkind said...

Can I bottoms press with you Sweetie? This is going to be fun! The training for sure, but watching your training brilliance....I'm already the luckiest girl to have you coach me for my level 2, but to watch you coach your most important and deserving athlete, yourself, is going to be an honor.

Whatever athletic and training ability I have is credited to watching and listening to your training from being married to you for over 22 years. Your knowledge is only outweighed by your dedication and put 99.9% of everyone else to shame (especially me, lol)

Mark Reifkind said...

of course we can train the bottoms up press together my love.Our training together is just beginning!
that is such a sweet comment. I loves you :))

Espiritu Arete said...

You rock Coach Reifkind, I have been terribly ill and was starting to dread getting 'em in hand and getting 'em up. It really helps to read coaches' thoughts, it really helps.

Mark Reifkind said...


so sorry you have been sick, heal fast. glad my thoughts on training help you. more to is the same for everyone, it's hard.

and the longer you train, sometimes, the harder it is to keep it going. you know what's coming :))

thanks for the kind words.