Sets and reps

There's no magic number or set regimen for working your kettlebell press. Do as many as you can with perfect form. If your tension is high, your reps should be low, in the range of about three to five. Multiple sets of singles or doubles are great for building pure strength.

The sport of kettlebell lifting is one of strength endurance more than pure strength, and kettlebell work is particularly good at developing your ability in this realm. While training with world kettlebell champion Valery Fedorenko, I witnessed him press the 32-kg bell for 35 reps with each arm nonstop in ten minutes. That was motivating! So, here's another approach to developing strength endurance. Let's say you can perform five reps with the biggest kettlebell in your arsenal. Set up in front of a big clock, pace yourself for the greatest number of reps you can perform in one minute; then switch hands and repeat. Learn to pause and relax in the rack position. Instantly generate maximal tension needed for the press, and then relax, pause, and repeat. In only a couple of weeks, I went from pressing the 24-kg bell 10 times per side in two minutes to doing 25 reps per side in two and a half minutes. Granted, these numbers are pathetically weak in the kettlebell sport world, but the improvement shows the effectiveness of training with time under tension.

Whichever method you choose, stay focused on the details and never compromise good form for numbers or time. May you all reach new personal bests.

Jeff Martone, owner ofTactical AthleteTraining Systems, was one of the first certified senior kettlebell instructors in the United States. He is the creator of "hand-2-hand" kettlebell juggling, SHOT training, and the T.A.P.S. pull-up system and is the author of six training DVDs. He has over 15 years of experience as a full-time defensive tactics, firearms, and special-response-team instructor. He is currently teaching CrossFit's kettlebell certification seminar

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