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In case it can prove useful I’m typing up some notes on the path I took to a 500lb deadlift. Who are these notes most likely to help? I would guess someone with circumstances similar to my own. Lots of days I didn’t have time to do to the program as written. Often my priorities (family, work, school) displaced the time I would otherwise reserve for lifting. After I finished the linear progression I had to experiment and find intermediate programming that worked for me. (That was probably the greatest challenge, and was ultimately achieved through a combination of the all but the first tip provided below.) Hopefully these notes will help you mitigate these challenges in your own life allowing you to make the best of your circumstances.
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How much am I missing out on by doing my multi-rep press sets with only the first rep starting from the bottom and the others coming from the top and utilizing some of the stretch reflex?
Should I reset the weight and focus on starting from the bottom on each and every rep? Starting Strength 3rd ed notes the approach but does not come out and say always start from the bottom.
In order to do the Press 2.0, you need to re-set at the bottom of each rep. This is the best way to do it and the way I recommend learning and then progressing upwards.
Many of us who learned the regular press (Press 1.0, if you will), never transitioned over in earnest. The two styles are sufficiently similar that it takes quite a bit of work to get the new way when you learned something similar but not quite the same. Many good lifters and coaches simply didn't want to take the time and weight off the bar that it would require to transition over to the Press 2.0 for an already proficient and strong presser in the 1.0 style.
Personally I did transition, but it took me a while and I never got quite as used to it as I was to utilizing the stretch reflex. When I do a set of 5, my first and last reps are Press 2.0 but the middle three I breathe at the top and use a stretch reflex at the bottom. One of my clients refers to this jokingly as the Press 1.5. When I do a single, it's ALWAYS Press 2.0.
In all honesty, I'd probably be best off in the long run by doing what it took to transition fully even for sets of 5. This is how I coach all new lifters I work with, and I highly recommend it since you're still doing linear progression and aren't all that strong on the press yet. Do it now, while the transition is much easier. If you get strong using the stretch reflex, it'll be a lot harder to switch later.
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