Thursday, November 11, 2010

Assistance for the Press - Bob Hoffman

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Tommy Kono


Norbert Schemansky


Dave Sheppard



Assistance Movements for the Press
by Bob Hoffman (1968)


Fast Pressing. Tense your hips and knees and stand in the usual pressing position. Explode with speed as you press the weight overhead.

Overweight Presses. Practice with a great deal more weight than you can press the entire way up. Push it as high as you can, which may only be as high as the eyes. Or get a heavy weight overhead and press it out after lowering it three to six inches. If you come down too far you will have to jerk it up again, but see how far down you can lower this heavy poundage and still press it back up.

Push Presses. Hold the weight at the shoulders in the usual pressing position. Bend the knees as if you were going to jerk the weight, but as it is not so heavy you give it a slower, smoother start, then perform most of the movement with the arms and shoulders. In lowering the weight, lower slowly and you will receive almost as much benefit as in pressing it. Practicing this movement will not only help your press but it will help you jerk. You will get in the habit of pushing or pressing the weight straight up instead of forward as some do when they lose their jerks.

Slow Pressing. Start light with a very wide grip and as the weights get heavier come in a bit with each succeeding set of presses. 5 reps with a very wide grip; five with a slightly narrower grip; then four reps, three, two, and one, slightly narrower each time as the weights are increased.

Of course, PRESSING is the best training for improvement in the press. Our York lifters use the heavy, medium and light approach in their training. Once a week they will handle the heaviest poundage possible in their pressing. Another day they will come within 90% of their limit, and on the light day within 70-80% of their limit.

Incline Board Presses. These are done with the board set at an angle of 60 to 70 degrees. The press is done with an arch and is not too much different from the standing press when the chest is raised high. With this position, which has little back bend, the chin is drawn in so it is out of the way when pressing, and the weight is pushed straight up. When it reaches the sticking point there is a sort of a shift. Not back bending, but a slight lowering of the shoulders to get past the sticking point. (Note what the traps are doing when there is a lowering of the shoulders in this position.) I have seen a number of lifters who were able to place a barbell on their chest, stand straight, and it would remain there without being held by the hands as the chest was held so high and rounded. Ivanov of Russia could lay any weight he could press in this position upon his chest and hold it there without the use of his hands. Garrido of Cuba brought a framework to practice incline pressing on with him at the Pan American games in Argentina in 1951. He sat between 2x4’s which he had bolted together, had a sloping seat much like a canoe seat, would pull the weight toward him into the pressing position and would press and press and press. I thought that he would lean back in the competition but he maintained this chest-high position with no backbend throughout his press. Although he weighed only 170 in the 181-lb. class, he pressed 275 cleanly.

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