Wednesday, February 9, 2022

How to Train for the Press -- Phil Grippaldi (1971)

Prior to working out, a lifter should employ stretching and loosening up exercises. Some of the flexibility exercises which should be employed are:

1) Bend-overs -- Toe touching
2) Frog kicks
3) Hanging leg raises
4) Twisting Movements

The first thing to check is the proper grip for the press. One has to experiment and eventually select the correct grip which is suitable for the individual. Try a parallel to shoulder width grip. If uncomfortable experiment and select a grip to suit one's build. Once the grip has been established, work on the proper clean either of the power or squat type. I recommend the squat clean. The rationale for the squat clean is that the power clean takes too much energy. 

It is imperative that the lifter have powerful legs. Squat cleaning ability and powerful legs go hand in hand. 

Once a lifter assumes his pressing position he should keep his eyes on a fixed object, which is vital for balance. Never look at the bar or at the referee, just listen for the clap. 

A lifter should also become accustomed to pressing in different places. Don't always stand in the same place, as you might be thrown off in a strange auditorium. Be sure to select a fixed point in the auditorium prior to the competition. Always check the platform and the bar prior to the competition.

Since the press has been revolutionized, it is vital for the lifter to get as much acceleration in the thrust of the bar without rule violations. A lifter has to have excellent abdominal and intercostal muscles. It is imperative that a lifter employ some of the following abdominal exercises in his routine: 

1) Hyperextensions with weights held behind the neck.
2) Roman chair situps with weights held behind the neck.
3) Frog kicks.
4) Hanging leg raises. 

If he has strong abdominals it will help a lifter's pressing.

While lifting he must be a "Giant Spring" -- hips, abdominals and glutes must be part of a powerful thrust. An important point to remember is to keep the hips forward as the weight goes overhead. A lifter must work on his thrust. S

Another important point to remember is never to relax while the weight is overhead. Keep the body as tight as possible until the referee signals down.

Some of the auxiliary exercises which are very important for the press are: 

1) Incline Press with about a 70-degree angle layback technique -- no great extreme in the angle of incline -- try to imitate the exact angle of the press. 
6-8 sets, 5 reps.

2) Simultaneous Dumbbell Presses. Bells should be held in the same position as the barbell.

Another exercise which is quite arbitrary is the: 

3) Bench Press. Phil believes that the bench press does not impede the Olympic press. He recommends that a lifter always do some dislocates with a broomstick after performing bench presses. Another excellent auxiliary exercise is the:

4) Push Press which helps to develop speed and drive.

If a lifter has a sticking problem this can be corrected by using the isometric rack in the particular position involved. I recommend 3 reps and not more than 4 sets. Heavy weights must be handled.

A lifter should always keep in mind that these exercises should be done in the "dormant" stage of the season. As the contest approaches he should emphasize technique and form and less auxiliary exercise work. 

Practice pressing with both long and short claps in order to become accustomed to all types of signals. 

An advanced lifter can take a pressing workout at every training session, however this is not recommended for the novice or neophyte lifter. 

The proper foot position is important along with the proper grip hand spacing and body position. As a lifter rises from the deep clean position he should place his feet in the proper pressing position in order not to waste valuable time and depletion of strength. 


ROUTINE A -- for power.

1) Isometric Press -- employing 3 levels on the rack: 
A. Start
B. Sticking Point
C. Finish -- (excellent for overhead support power) -- 
Employ 4 sets of 3 reps, using substantial poundages for effect. 

2) Dumbbell Press (simultaneous) -- 
Employ heavy weights -- 5 x 5.


1) Seated Press -- 6 x 5 reps, 10 lb. increases.

2) Push Press -- 5 x 3-5, depending on the weight.


This program should be used prior to a competition, perhaps 10 weeks before. 

1) It consists of the Press with hip and body movements. Start with 135 lbs. and jump 10-15 pounds -- 8 sets. 


2) Incline Press -- 5-6 sets of 5 reps. This exercise should be done heavy, however it should be not be done on the same day -- do one or the either. 

One other important point for a lifter is to have plenty of pulling power. 


Enjoy Your Lifting! 


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