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Old 03-31-2014, 10:19 PM   #11
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How do you handle the dreaded plateau? Keep shooting for a weight you can’t quite get?

Or take weight off the bar and shoot for extra reps at that weight?

Or both?

I’ve been stuck at 245 on the clean and push press for almost one and a half months and can’t seem to get to the short-term goal of 250 overhead.

How would you go after it?

Chris Fleming”

Hi Chris,

Excellent question. Here are some points to consider.

1. Success breeds success, and failure breeds failure.

If you keep on trying and missing that 250-pound lift, you’re just setting up a negative mental state. You’re making the weight seem more and more difficult. So don’t do that.

Instead, do more reps in the 220 – 230 – 240 range.
Doubles at 220 and 230 – and multiple singles at 240. Make every lift. Cultivate the success habit.

2. You absolutely are strong enough to make this lift RIGHT NOW.

You’re hitting 245 easily, and 245 is only 5 pounds less than 250. Percentage-wise, 245 pounds is 98% of 250 pounds. So you’re just five pounds or 2% behind that 250.

Everyone has a huge strength reserve in their body – way more than 5 pounds or 2%. If your life – or the life of a loved one – hung in the balance, you could press 260 – 270 – or 280 pounds easily.

Similarly – if we were training together, and I loaded the bar to 250 pounds and told you it was 240 pounds, you’d lift it easily.

3. Focus on 5 pounds – not on 250 pounds.

When Doug Hepburn was facing the same sort of situation that you are facing, he’d pick up two 2 pound plates and look at them and say, “You are SMALL! I am WAY STRONGER than you are! I’m not going to let two tiny little plates keep me from making my next lift.”

4. Divide and conquer.

Try doing power cleans with no push press – and then do push press off the rack (or off of your squat stands).
You may find you can clean more than 250 – and push press more than 250 off the rack. Then it’s just a simple matter of putting the two together.

5. Play with your plates.

Do NOT always load the bar the same way, with the same plates, to get to 250 pounds. You are creating a mental image of what 250 pounds looks like – and every time you see it, you start to psyche yourself out. Load the bar with different plates and it won’t look as heavy to you.

The first time I push pressed 300 pounds, I was training in a basement with low ceilings. I had to load the bar with 25’s in order to have enough room to hold it overhead.
I ran out of enough small plates, and had to finish up by tying some small exercise plates to my OL bar – and then had to add a small length of log chain to each end, held on with tape.

It was a Christmas Tree Barbell!

And the great thing was – when I looked at the bar, I had no idea what it weighed. It took five minutes to count the plates and chains and things and add it all up.

So the barbell did not “look” like it weighed 300 pounds – and that made all the difference.

6. Visualization.

Practice visualization – as described in Dinosaur Training and in Strength, Muscle and Power. Picture yourself hitting that 250 pound lift. Create a mental movie – make it as detailed and as vivid as possible – and play it over and over.

7. Write it down – and say it.

Take a note-card and write 250 POUNDS on it. Put it in your pocket and carry it around with you. Take it out and look at it throughout the day – and tell yourself “I WILL LIFT
250 POUNDS! I WILL do it. I will clean it – and push press it. I will clean it, and drive it high over head. I will lift it easily. I am strong, I am powerful, I am fast, and I am determined. I WILL do this!”

There you have it – seven super effective plateau busters.
And they’re guaranteed to work. Every lifting champion uses them.

And know this. I absolutely KNOW that you’re going to make the 250 pound clean and push press. There is NO WAY that it is not going to happen.

So go out there and get it – use the tips here – and make the lift.

Report back when you’ve nailed the scalp to the wall of your lifting quarters.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik
2017 goals: Stay consistent & get stronger
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