Seven Ways to Train for a Stronger Press – Part Seven: Get-ups, Cleans, and Racked Carries

I’ve been a little behind with writing these past few weeks because I’ve been working on some really exciting projects! I hope to get back on track soon.

Online Personal Training


As I mentioned in Part Six of this Press Series, Crawling for Time, Eric and I launched our online training platform through and it’s up and running and rocking and rolling! We are really excited about it!

It’s been less than one month since we launched the online training platform and we have already received positive feedback from multiple clients. You can read some online training testimonials HERE.

We are about to enter month two since its launch earlier in October. This next month we will roll out five more instructional videos and three new workout programs, Level I, Level II, and Level III. Each workout is structured over a 12 week program, that’s 36 weeks of a training program per month!

If you’re interested in learning more about and signing up for our online training platform, you can learn more and register HERE.


This past June 2014 Reebok contacted me and invited me to become a ReebokONE Ambassador. It took some time to finalize things, but I accepted their invitation and as of October 1, 2014, I am officially a ReebokONE Ambassador.

I am beyond thrilled about this opportunity and to be a ReebokONE Ambassador alongside some of the most well known names in fitness such as Nick Tumminello and Tara Stiles.


It still seems a bit surreal at the moment, but I’m really looking forward to my role as a ReebokONE Ambassador.

Once I create my profile on the ReebokONE site, the Pulse, you will be able to follow me on the Pulse where I will post instructional content and be available to answer questions you have about training. I will let you know once my profile is up and running! You can check out the ReebokONE site HERE.

Don’t worry, I will still be writing my blog along with my new responsibilities as a ReebokONE Ambassador. I always keep a running list of topics and ideas and can’t wait to be able to carve out some time to write about a few topics I have on deck.

Oh, and by the way, I stopped by Reebok Headquarters in Canton, MA yesterday (they are only about 15 minutes from Iron Body Studios) to try on some clothes to determine if I was a small or extra small in their clothing. Usually I wear an extra small but sometimes with long sleeve tops I need to wear a small because of my bangin’ guns ;).

As it turns out I am definitely an extra small in everything Reebok. But wait???? I thought lifting weights made women bulky??? Clearly I debunked that myth yesterday when I proved that lifting weights makes one’s body leaner and more compact 🙂 .

Where in the World is Xena?


I have an opportunity to take my workshop I Am Not Afraid To Lift to both London, England and Queensland, Australia in 2015. London is still pending, but Australia is pretty much confirmed as long as we have enough interested.

I Am Not Afraid To #LiftAustralia will be held at Queensland Kettlebells 4/62 Didsbury St, East Brisbane, 4169. If you are interested in attending this workshop in Queensland, Australia in late 2015 then please complete the contact form below. Don’t worry, I will not add you to any other email list. I will only send you information and updates about #LiftAustralia2015.

Here are my upcoming Workshops for 2014-2015:

  • November 8, 2014, I Am Not Afraid To Lift Workshop, Iron Body Studios, Needham, MA – There is still time to register! Register HERE under EVENTS.
  • December 6, 2014, Four Hour Kettlebell Workshop, NY Sports Med and Physical Therapy, NYC – This is open to both internal NYSM and external clinicians and non-clinicias. Register HERE under EVENTS.
  • May 30, 2015, Superhuman Strength Training, Perform Better, West Warwick, RI (held at their Functional Training Institute – Registration link pending.)

Potential locations pending but not confirmed for 2015 for I Am Not Afraid To Lift:

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • North Liberty, Iowa
  • London, England
  • Queensland, Australia (please fill out the contact form above if you are interested!)

NOW onto the seventh and final installment of this seven part press series!!

This is the seventh and final installment of a seven part series about how to train for a stronger press. In this installment I will talk about how training get-ups, kettlebell cleans, and racked carries with your goal press weight or heavier can help you to train for a stronger press.

If you missed the first six installments you can read them here:

As I mentioned in my post “How I Completed The Iron Maiden Challenge As a Lightweight” I wrote myself a specific training program to build strength for a half body weight military press in order to press 24kg (53lbs) successfully. Part of this program included Turkish Get-ups, Cleans, and Racked Carries, all with my goal press weight or heavier, multiple times per week.

Part of training to press a heavy weight, particularly a half body weight press, is to become really comfortable moving around the weight that you plan to press overhead in all other ways. Training the Turkish Get-up, Kettlebell Clean, and Racked Carries with this weight or heavier helps you to do that.

Turkish Get-up

28kg Get-up_v2

Once the movement is mastered, the Turkish Get-up is meant to be trained with a heavy weight. Typically, people can complete a Turkish Get-up with a weight heavier than they can overhead press. For example, I completed a Turkish Get-up with 24kg in August 2012. Almost two years before I owned the 24kg overhead press. Now my max get-up weight is 30kg (66lbs). Read more in my post “Is Your PR Safe?”.

By building up strength to train get-ups with your goal press weight or heavier, not only will you also build up upper body strength for the overhead press, but you will also build up confidence having that heavy weight, or even heavier, overhead.

Now you don’t want to train heavy get-ups every time you train because you want to have success every time you train them.

Program in two days per week where you ladder up singles to your goal press weight or beyond if you can complete a get-up with a weight beyond your goal press weight. Make sure to train get-ups on the other days that you train as well, but just vary the load and rep count.

If you want more detail as to how I structure get-up training over the course of the week, then please join me for my workshop I Am Not Afraid To Lift. This is something that I go over in detail during the Program Design segment of the workshop.

Kettlebell Clean

When it comes to having a successful press, the clean is half the battle. The clean sets the tone for how your press is going to go. If you have a crappy clean, where the kettlebell doesn’t feel light and just float up into the rack position, and it ends up sitting in the wrong place in your hand and on your forearm, that bell is not likely to go up. Sometimes when that happens it’s best to put the bell down and re-clean it.

Practicing both single kettlebell cleans with your press weight or heavier, and double kettlebell cleans with the heaviest weight that you can successfully clean, multiple times per week, will help you to get enough practice.

I did not program kettlebell cleans separately. Instead, as a result of training racked carries, single and double kettlebell press ladders, and double front squats, I gained practice with my clean by virtue of training these other movements. This way, I was able to practice heavy cleans but without any added volume that might result in overtraining.

Single Kettlebell Cleans & Racked Carries

Every time I trained racked carries, I had to clean the kettlebell into the rack position. I would focus on executing a perfect clean each time and maintaining tension after I cleaned the bell before I started off for the racked carry. I would also visualize how I would press the kettlebell from the finish of the clean each time I cleaned the kettlebell.

This careful practice and visualization helped me to train to have a successful press.

The racked carry helped me to become comfortable holding that weight so that every time I went to clean it I didn’t think, “Wow, that was heavy.”

I programmed racked carries two times per week for 3 to 5 sets. This would total 3 to 5 cleans per session, two times per week. This was enough volume to get practice without over training.

In addition, when I trained single kettlebell press ladders, I would go through the same visualization and practice and apply tension techniques for the press.

I programmed single kettlebell press ladders once per week for 5 sets of 3 rung ladders. This would total 15 cleans per side per session, once per week with a moderate weight. Again, this was enough volume to get practice without over training.

Double Kettlebell Cleans

As I mentioned in my post,Seven Ways to Train for a Stronger Press – Part Five: Double Kettlebell Front Squats”, training both heavy double kettlebell front squats once per week, and double kettlebell press ladders once per week, far more improved my clean for a 24kg press than training single kettlebell cleans with 28kg (62lbs). Training double kettlebell cleans forces you to have to generate enough hip power to clean twice as much weight. So when you go back to clean your goal press weight, it feels much lighter.

I programmed double kettlebell front squats once per week for 5 sets of 3-5 repetitions. This would total 5 heavy double cleans once per week. This was enough volume to get practice without over training.

I programmed double kettlebell press ladders once per week for up to 10 sets of 3 rung ladders, 1 press, 2 press, 3 press. This volume would range from anywhere from 24 to 30 cleans with a moderate weight. Given the weight that I was using, this was more than enough volume to get practice without over training.

This concludes my seven part series on how to train for a stronger press. I’m excited to wrap up this series and move onto new topics! In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions about this series and if you are interested in attending my Lift Workshop in Queensland, Australia then please complete the contact form included earlier in this post.

Below is information about my Boston Lift Workshop, there is still time to register!


If you would like to learn more detail as to how I structure programming specific to pressing or to train for a half bodyweight press then I hope you’ll join me for my workshop I Am Not Afraid To Lift on November 8, 2014 at Iron Body Studios in Needham, MA.

If you have a current strength goal that you are working towards, or need help deciding on one, this workshop will help you to decide on a strength goal and learn programming to work towards that strength goal.

I look forward to lifting with you on November 8!


Read more about I Am Not Afraid To #LiftNYC HERE!

Learn more HERE ==>

Register HERE under EVENTS ==>

Early bird pricing through October 1 – $149.00

Regular price after October 1 – $199.00

I will see you on November 8 & I look forward to lifting with you!




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