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Aggressive Strength Q&A 11-3-2015: Pre-workout drink recommendations, increasing pressing strength, should you avoid grains?

Are there any pre-workout supplements that you recommend?

I have been playing around with a pre-workout combo recently that works very well. Have a cup of black coffee and at the same time have two teaspoons of beetroot powder (or you can juice 2-3 beets). Both the coffee and beets increase circulation big time and I find the combination makes for an incredible pump when training. You will also notice an increase in strength and work capacity. Especially the latter! For further benefit you can add 2 caps of the Aggressive Strength Testosterone booster an hour before training. The Mucuna in ASTB really gets you dialed in and increases focus for optimal training.

I recommend the following beetroot powder: https://www.neogenis.com/products/superbeets-canister 

Do you have any tips for improving overhead pressing?

In my experience, overhead pressing takes a lot of practice and I get much better results with higher frequency programs. Pavel Tsatsouline’s grease the groove (GTG) is a great program that has worked well for me over the years to improve double kettlebell pressing.

Take a training load that you can complete ten solid reps with and execute several sets of five through out the day. Add a rep every week until you are up to eight reps per practice set and then move up to heavier kettlebells. Start over at sets of three with the heavier bells and work back up to eight reps per set before moving up again.

Make sure to take at least an hour in between each set and complete a minimum of three total sets per day and a maximum of six. You should not struggle on any of the practice sets. All of the reps should be completed with relative ease. Take two days off each week to stay fresh and avoid burning out.

At some point you will maximize technique and the only way to increase overhead press work will be to gain some size. When I asked top strength coach Mark Philippi how to increase overhead pressing (Mark has strict pressed a whopping 400lbs!) he said to put on the feed bag and gain some weight.

I have always found that I get an automatic increase in pressing anytime I gain a few pounds. When I weighed 180lbs, pressing double 70lb bells for more than seven reps was difficult. When I gained some size and was up to 195lbs, sets of 10+ with 70s was easy. However, doing more than 3-4 reps with double 88lb bells was tough. When I did some heavy squat and deadlift work, my weight went up to 205lbs and pressing 88s for 10 reps was not a problem.

Gaining muscle not only improves overhead pressing (assuming you’re training for strength) but just about every exercise such as barbell back squat work, deadlift training, and bench press performance. Of course, some exercises will become tougher such as pull-ups so there is always a trade off.

What is your take on gluten?

While I don’t recommend overdoing grains such as bread, oatmeal, pasta etc, I think many have a paranoia of gluten which is often unwarranted. Many years ago, gluten was determined to be harmful for people with celiac disease. Some had the not so bright idea that if gluten is bad for people with celiac then it is probably bad for everyone else as well. If you have a food sensitivity to gluten containing foods, then you should no doubt avoid it. However, if you don’t then I don’t see any reason to avoid grains. I have gone through long periods of time without grains and long periods with grains and I have never noticed a difference pro or con. No gut issues, no fatigue, depression, or any other measurable negatives. Each person is different so if you feel you don’t do well on grains, by all means keep grains out of your diet.

Yours Free

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