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How to Power through a Kettlebell Military Press Plateau with ‘The Rack’!

June 22, 2004 08:46 AM

If you've hit a plateau in your pressing movements and need to break out of your rut, you might want to try The Rack. During the Spanish Inquisition, the rack was a torture device used to obtain confessions. What I call 'The Rack' won't get any confessions out of you, but you'll probably be inclined to consider it torture. But you'll sure get great gains in strength, thanks to the way you'll be cranking up your total tonnage.

I starting training on The Rack after hitting a plateau myself in the 2-pood Military Press. I had managed to get my max reps up to five, but couldn't seem to crank out any more. Now, five isn't that great, but it was a considerable improvement from nine months before, at the RKC certification, when I BARELY managed one rep. Still, I wanted more. And I wanted a routine that could be accomplished in half an hour or less.

Here's what I came up with: I placed a 1-pood, a 1 1/2-pood, and a 2-pood KBs a few feet apart on the ground. Now I'm going to Run the Rack. I started with the 2-pood, and crank out as many MPs as I could, in this case 5. I IMMEDIATELY went to the 1 1/2-pood and di 5 reps, then immediately on to the 1-pood another 5. Then the other arm.

I take a break for a minute or two and go back to the 2-pood. This time I go for 4 reps, and again go immediately to the 1 1/2-pood for 4 reps, then the 1-pood for 4 reps. I follow this protocol all the way down to one rep with each arm. The tonnage works out this way: 5+4+3+2+1=15 reps times 72kg (that's 16 plus 24 plus 32) = 1080kg lifted.

I give myself a few days' rest between workouts, and do the same routine. After a few weeks I add a rep: 6 reps, then 5, then 4, etc. 21 reps times 72k g equals 1512kg. A few weeks later I start at seven reps: 7, 6, 5?, etc. Now we're at 2016 Kg. During my third set, I realize "Hey, I'm on my third set and I'm still pressing this 2-pood five times!"

A few tips: I've found that midway into the routine, my arms and shoulders are toast. So I do not military press after a clean but rather do a push-press to get the bell up over my head, then lower it to my shoulder and do my set. For some inexplicable reason, even when I can't eke out that first rep, I can always crank out the required number of reps after lowering it from above.

It's easy to stay motivated on this your routine, since you always have fewer reps to look forward to on your next set. I say to myself," Well, I don't need to do THAT number again!"

Don't do this indoors or around children and pets! As you get down to about the 2-rep set, you're pretty worn out, and can lose control of the bell pretty easily. If that happens, just jump out of the way and let it fall to the ground. Better a crease on your lawn than a crease in your head!

Try to eat a lot of protein within an hour of finishing your workout. I try for a daily total of at least 1 gram of protein (preferably 1 1/2) per pound of bodyweight on my pressing days.

When I get to running The Rack starting at 10 reps, it will be the time to buy the Bulldog KB and start over!





George Nolly is a United Airlines B-777 Captain. He was the First Runner-Up in the 2000 Body-for-LIFE Challenge, and, shortly after attending one of Pavel's seminars in 2001, bench pressed 325 at a body weight of 162. He is a Denver based Certified Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor, and can be reached at GNolly@aol.com.


 

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