Monday, October 11, 2010

Kenneth Jay's "Perfecting the Press!"

I got Kenneth Jay's "Perfecting the Press!" recently, a deep study on kettlebell press mechanics and corrective drills. The program design chapter caught my attention: one day at 120-150 reps 65% 1RM, one day at 10-20 reps with near-1RM. That's it. Corrective drills specific to high- and low-volume days are provided, and each month a small adjustment in work/rest is made and a 1RM test attempted. There's an impression of "Back and Shoulder Day" in the design's single huge workout that runs counter to the frequent "practice" training espoused by so many in our discpline. It still holds the idea of training high volume to develop neural patterning and good form, but that volume is organized for hypertrophy and probable soreness. (Even 20 reps/session at 85%-100% 1RM could be considered "high volume" in another program.) Not saying it does or doesn't work, but it's the first program I've tried that crosses the three-digit mark on a grind.

My first session was today. I just had a back-off week, with swing and get-up sessions using a heavy bell Thursday and Saturday that felt GREAT. As usual, today was out in the sun. Sweat, chalk, last week's calluses... I screwed my hands up. I should have known better.

10/10 16kg Volume presses
warmup, incl upper body
- goal = 90 reps + swings
- Short Cycle Clean & Press, 2 x "6 reps", alternated with 2 x 20 swings

1-2-3CP, 2-4CP
3-3CP, 4-2CP

3 circuits/45min, 30cp + 90sw ea
Total = 90 presses, 250 swings

The presses felt good, and I did not let my form slide. I like the way this incorporated ladders. Doing 1-2-3 15 times would have gotten boring and would have ingrained that short-term volume into me. I did the middle 1-2-3, 2-4 sets in a half-kneel position, which firmed up my torso and hips for the remaining ladders. 20kg short session Tuesday or Wednesday, based on my recovery. I have already done 5x1-2-3 at 20kg, so this will be 100-120 reps next weekend.


At the time KJ's book was released, a Dan John program (credited to Pavel for the design) called the 40-Day Workout was making the rounds. "High volume" strength training laid out as 10 reps x 5 exercises x 5 days a week. The 5-10 rep practice principle is broadly applicable to strength training and can be seen in other program designs. Personally, I'm intrigued by the regularly spaced schedule, as this would probably have a much lower DOMS and recovery burden. By contrast, KJ's 100-rep/low-rep protocol has been in the RKC manual as a heavy-bell program for years. Interesting.

Here's what's in motion. Delaine Ross started the 40-day workout after her return from the recent Dan and Pavel workshop, and I started the Perfecting the Press program this week. I've arranged 3 training days so each movement (press, swing, pullup, get-up, squat) gets 2 sessions, 1 heavy and 1 long, and a single day for snatch practice. She's a couple weeks ahead of me and has a more refined sense of her own training and development. She will probably thrive. I've already got 3R/2L in my biggest bell, so my goal will be either to finish 5/5 @24kg or to finish 1/1 @28kg stacked. That gives me both a benchmark with a single bell and a reason to work on combinations stacked or hung from one another. This should be fun.

1 comment:

  1. great debrief. I gotta get this book.personally I like smaller jumps and more intermediate level( 70-85% ) work but I need to read this. thanks