3 Ways To Break A Press (Or Any) Plateau

Keeping with yesterday’s pressing theme, I thought this would be appropriate for today.

One of the worst things about training is hitting the dreaded plateau –

That point in time where progress stalls…

Where you can’t seem to make any more progress no matter how much you try…

Where you just feel… Stuck.

(A far worse training fate is when you regress, but that’s another matter for another time.)

James DiStefano wants to know the best way for –

“Breaking through a plateau on the press.”

GREAT question.

The truth is, there are many “best” ways, and they’re mostly dependent on the individual and his or her training background and injury history.

Here are 3 ways to overcome any plateau:

1. Check your technique

In just about every Beast Tamer Challenge I officiated at an RKC or SFG, there was always at least one person who’d attempt a Beast Press and unpack his shoulder, close his eyes, and look away from the KB.

And that means the the KB failed to get out of the rack, or if it did, the upper arm never made it past parallel to the floor.

What this tells me is that this gentleman actually trained that way.


Because under stressful situations, you revert automatically and subconsciously to the way you practice.

So, go back and check your technique.

I cover in detail the foundation for your Press technique in the 3.5 hour, 2 DVD “Kettlebell STRONG!” set here.

2. Cycle or wave your loads

Progress is not infinite.

You cannot just add reps to each and every set of Presses or anything else.

If you could, you’d be pressing a pair of 48kg KBs for multiple sets of 20 by now.

Your rate of adaptation eventually slows down, which explains why you made great progress when you first started, but not so much now.

So make sure you change your sets and reps and even KB sizes on your Presses.

My favorite is alternating between a “light” workout and a “heavy” workout.

This is how the “STRONG!” program is written and why people see such great success with it.

Another popular method is the Light-Medium-Heavy approach.

This also works, but the differing degree in contrasts isn’t as great, so, depending on the individual, the adaptation isn’t as fast.

3. Use “same but different” exercises

This is a popular method inside the StrongFirst community.

It was popularized in the West by Louie Simmons of the famous Westside Barbell Club, one of the world’s strongest Powerlifting clubs.

At it’s heart though, it came from the Soviet Dynamo Weightlifting Club back in the late 60s and early 70s.

The key is to take your pet exercise, find it’s weak links, then train away your weaknesses by making them stronger.

For example, you could train a Nose Press, instead of your Press if you struggle with your lockout.

A Nose Press is essentially bringing the KB down to the height of the bridge of your nose and pressing it back up.

You can also use heavier weights and place more overall stress on your system – with an exercise like the Push Press – a proven way to get stronger.

You can run the “STRONG!” program with the double KB Clean + Push Press and get much stronger than you are now.

So there you have it – 3 ways to break your Press (or any) plateau you may have.

Give one or more a shot and get back to me.

Talk soon.


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