How to hit a new Press PB

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Snapshot of Takeaway Points

  • Isometrics allow you to recruit more motor units and fibres
  • This potentiation protocol means guaranteed PB’s
  • Three 4 week phases included to guide and inspire you

Introduction

I’ve most recently used this for three different phases for three different angles with three different approaches. I have also used it with many different clients and achieved the same results. In short, it works as everyone has hit new repetition maxes!

Here’s what you do:

  • Set 1: Bottom position isometrics (4 reps at 1010, 5th rep at 1016)
  • Set 2: Mid position isometrics (4 reps at 1010, 5th rep at 1016)
  • Set 3: Top position isometrics (4 reps at 1010, 5th rep at 1016)
  • Set 4: Smash your new repetition maximum (3-5 reps at 21X0)

That’s the third session in a series of build ups though.

  • Week 1: 4 sets of 8 reps at 4110
  • Week 2: 4 sets of 6,8,6,8 at 31X0
  • Week 3: Isometrics session as above
  • Week 4: 2 sets of 2-3, 5+ at 21X0

How does it work?

Isometrics offer many benefits. Firstly it’s a maximal voluntary contraction but set at a specific joint angle. Your lift is the sum of its many parts and is only as strong as its weakest link. By breaking down the movement into sections you can work maximally at each angle. You are teaching the body to fire, recruit and coordinate the motor units and fibres needed for maximal output. It’s also been shown that you can recruit anything up to an extra 10% more muscle fibres utilising an isometric. This method I’ve outlined is a potentiation protocol, hence the use of only 3 sets before the repetition maximum attempt.

What are the different approaches I used in applying it?

Phase 1 I focused on a Flat Biacromial Press:

  • Week 1: Flat 3” Barbell Biacromial Press
  • Week 2: Flat 2.5” Barbell Biacromial Press
  • Week 3: Flat 2” Barbell Biacromial Press (I hit a new rep max here)
  • Week 4: Flat Barbell Biacromial Press (I hit 2 x new rep maxes here)

Phase 2 I focused on Incline Biacromial Presses:

  • Week 1: 30° Incline Barbell Biacromial Press
  • Week 2: 40° Incline Barbell Biacromial Press
  • Week 3: 50° Incline Barbell Biacromial Press (I hit a new rep max here)
  • Week 4: 60° Incline Barbell Biacromial Press (I hit 2 x new rep maxes here)

Phase 3 I focused on 60° Incline Swiss Bar, Wide Grip Press:

  • Week 1: 80° Incline Swiss Bar, Mid Grip Press
  • Week 2: 70° Incline Swiss Bar, Mid Grip Press
  • Week 3: 60° Incline Swiss Bar, Wide Grip Press (I hit a new rep max here)
  • Week 4: 60° Incline Swiss Bar, Wide Grip Press (I hit 2 x new rep maxes here)

So there you have it, a new 4 week pressing protocol and also a great way of potentiating your nervous system! This method would and does work with other extensor lifts such as squats and deadlifts. If you don’t have safety pins to smash against you can simply use a supra-maximal weight, set at the different positions.

Article written by: Tom Hibbert

Published on: 3/2/2019

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