Sunday, December 2, 2012

For The Love of Bent Press III: Two-Hands Anyhow my Bodyweight

A little over a year ago, I started expanding my Ironmaster set by picking up a second handle. The first thing I tried with two kettlebells was doing a two hands anyhow with a 65 lbs and a 55 lbs KB. It was the start of a "lift" that I fell in love with ever since and beginning on that modest incursion into two hands anyhow lifting, the goal that floated around in the back of my mind was to be able to do my bodyweight (175 lbs, or 180, depending on how much ice cream I eat) in this lift.

It's been a slow climb but I can now confidently do 176 lbs (111 lbs on one KB, 65 lbs on the other). Calling this pile of movements a lift is a misnomer since it's actually three or four lifts into one. They all have the same basic core move: bent pressing one weight heavier than the other. What kinds of weights lifted, how the first weight gets to the starting position, how the second weight is lifted, and if how the weights get put down can change. My Two Hands Anyhow looked like this:

1. Clean the 111 lbs 'bell.
2. Bent Press it, grab the second 'bell.
3. Curl it up to a racked position.
4. Press it overhead.
5. Bringing the 65 lb'er down to the ground via partial windmill.
6. Carefully lower the big guy with two hands to the ground.

While I have a natural attraction to the odd when it comes to working out, I learned a lot from this whole excursion into Two Hands Anyhow excellence.

First and foremost, the bent press got rid of any lingering doubt of dropping the first weight. Looking at the bottom of a pack of iron that weighs as much as a petite woman will either force most to get over it or get your skull stoved in. I did. It'll also make you bilk every ounce of strength you have on that side of your body.  I enjoy these kind of do-or-die challenges in my training.   
My right-hand bent press isn't as pretty in video

Second thing that I absolutely had to get better at if I was going to bent press any kettlebell over 85 lbs was cleaning and racking the KB properly. I got into the habit of having a wide stance when I was using a sandbag to bent press. That wide stance played hell with heavier KB's. I just couldn't pop that bitch up enough to get it into a good rack position with my feet so wide. My poor wrist and elbows paid the price. Good, focused practice made permanent and I got that under control.
Not the most fun part of the lift
The biggest carry-over benefit I got from this 15 month journey came from pressing the second weight overhead. When you've already got a skull-crushing quantity of metal in an overhead position, you can only press another 65 lbs one way: THE RIGHT WAY! No leaning forward, backward or to the sides. Otherwise, you risk dropping the first weight. Not fun.
I feel like Arthur Saxon already!
Most people I've seen bent press don't bother to put down the weights. They simply drop them. I opted to partially windmill the second, lighter weight. Windmilling when the bottom hand has a weight actually makes the exercise easier. So, it was good practice to getting the quantity of iron I can windmill up. When I traveling by car, I usually brought only one kettlebell. So, a common practice on those trips was to substitute a bent press/windmill for my Two Hands Anyhow work. I don't think this would have been possible had I not thrown in the windmill move into my Two Hands Anyhow.
So, there's been some practicality to doing this for so long but really, this is just a fun way to lift weights. As long as I've had the equipment, I've done this lift twice a week since pretty regularly since that first stab at the two hands anyhow back in late-January, 2011. It's easily my favorite lift and now that I've maxed out the capacity of my Ironmaster Kettlebells on the bent press, I'm looking forward to trying out bent pressing on a barbell.   

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