Best Kettlebell Shoulder Exercises

Maria Johnson
• Friday, 13 November, 2020
• 8 min read

Once the shoulder stability has been mastered then the larger prime mover muscles can be challenged. Failure to develop the shoulders in this order will continuously lead to shoulder / rotator cuff issues as the large prime mover muscles overpower the smaller stabilizing muscles.

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Half Kneeling Position (as shown above, back knee is on the floor) Standing Position (keep abs and glutes tight) Walking (take a walk with the kettle bell held overhead) Overhead Kneeling to Standing (see video below) The kettle bell is held overhead as before with a straight arm and wrist and then you reach down towards the floor with the opposite hand.

The ultimate goals is to reach the opposite ankle with the hand while keeping both legs straight. However, for the beginner achieving this full position can be very challenging both on the shoulder and the flexibility through the back and hamstrings.

Shoulder workout: Your goal is 5 beautifully controlled windmills on each side. The get up conditions the whole body from top to toe working hard into the core muscles and also challenges the stability of the shoulder.

The kettle bell is held with a straight arm and wrist as the participant stands up from a lying down position and then returns down to the floor. During the complete movement of the Turkish get up the shoulder is forced to stabilize the joint through various angles.

Shoulder workout: The ultimate goal is to perform 3 full Turkish Get Ups on each side without bending the arm. Once you can happily complete the exercises above then your shoulder stabilizing muscles will be able to handle any overhead pressing safely.

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Shoulder workout: The goal here is to perform 8 – 12 repetitions on each side for a total of 3 sets. The kettle bell squat and press is a full body exercise that not only works the shoulders but heavily challenges the legs, buttocks, hamstrings, abs, back stabilizers and cardio.

You will also find the shoulders fatigue just holding and maintaining the kettle bell throughout the exercise. Our next kettle bell exercise challenges the shoulders as well as the core muscles and the flexibility of the hips and hamstrings.

The exercise starts from the floor with the kettle bell held by the body with the thumbs around the handle. The legs are kept as straight as possible as the participant sits up and pushes the kettle bell with two hands overhead.

The chest should be kept nice and high at the top position and the kettle bell pushed up and back. The second half of the exercise involve lowing the kettle bell and upper body back down to the floor as slowly as possible using the core muscles to resist the movement.

The kettle bell sit and press is an excellent strict shoulder exercise because the participant cannot use the legs or hips to help with the movement. A great exercise for beginners because two hands are used on the kettle bell making the lift much easier.

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Next onto a huge full body exercise that strongly develops the shoulders too. Kettlebellshoulder workout : Sets of 10 – 12 repetitions of the kettle bell clean and press on each side is a great goal to begin with.

However, it does put huge demands on the shoulder stabilizers and should they not be conditioned as shown above injury is very possible. As with the push press the kettle bell should be lowered down slowly under control with the latissimus Doris muscles, under the armpit, tightly activated.

A kettlebellshoulder workout : Strict overhead kettle bell presses can be performed in a ladder formation : I also like the half kneeling press because it highlights asymmetries between each side of the body.

In other words, if you are weak on your right hip and left shoulder (core sling across the body) then you will quickly find this out. It is very important during this kettlebellexercises that you maintain a nice tall position with the glute squeezed tight and abs activated.

In order to preform repetitions of this exercise the participant needs to have excellent pressing ability and good alignment throughout the body. When performing this demanding exercise the participant needs to be careful that the kettle bell doesn’t flop over and hit them in the face.

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Above I have listed 10 kettlebellexercises for the shoulders starting with the important holding exercises and then finishing with the most challenging. Due to the huge instability of the shoulder joint, overhead exercises should not be rushed or advanced too quickly.

Start with the holding exercises as shown above and then slowly progress onto the more dynamic and challenging ones as your shoulder stability muscles strengthen. Yes, you can improve your mobility and stability using kettlebellexercises including the windmill, Turkish get up and overhead press.

Using a kettle bell the right way is beneficial for the health of the shoulder and can promote good stabilization. Full body dynamic exercises are the best for fat loss including the kettle bell swing, goblet squat, clean & press and the thruster.

These complex ball-and-socket contraptions allow for incredibly diverse movement and function. Using a kettle bell is one of the best ways to promote the proper functioning of the shoulder, while also building size and strength.

If strength is your goal, do lower reps (1-5 range) with high intensity and frequency. If hypertrophy is your goal, go for a high-rep range (8-12) and eat a lot of meat and calories on the side.

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Your shoulder has to work hard to stabilize your scapula and humerus. This is a great way to recruit your rotator cuff, which can lead to pain-free and healthy shoulder movement.

Grab a kettle bell and flip it upside down, pointing the bottom side toward the ceiling. Prevent the bell from resting against your body and your elbow from wedging against your ribs.

This combination of the first two movements requires an enormous amount of control and strength. Use a relatively light kettle bell, because stability is required to hold it upside down.

Aim for the 1-6 repetition range, since staying light will not require enough stabilization. Your shoulders will work hard to find optimal positioning, while maintaining incredible tension.

The exercise is great for strength, size and health of the shoulder. Keep you eyes on the kettle bell until you reach a lunge position.

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Check out the video to see my friend Dewey Nielson performing the Turkish Get-Up with Press at each position. These complex ball-and-socket contraptions allow for incredibly diverse movement and function.

Using a kettle bell is one of the best ways to promote the proper functioning of the shoulder, while also building size and strength. Even having just a couple tucked away enables me to get a full body workout but more importantly, I can also use KB's to focus on my shoulder resiliency and rehab.

As with any exercise adding resistance, volume, and intensity is the key to adaptation. As I said before the rotator cuff muscles need to fire hard to stabilize the shoulder joint and because of the same forces the muscles that stabilize the scapula (shoulder blade) also forcefully contract.

It coordinates the lower body, core, and shoulder complex and can be very potent for all of them. Keep the scapular muscles tight by trying to pull the shoulder back during the whole movement.

This is, after all, a full body exercise but as with all KB swings, it should be a hip driven movement. I prefer to keep the single arm swing at shoulder height, aka Russian style.

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Start light until you feel confident with the pattern then add weight as your strength and skill allow. I use these movements pretty early on in shoulder rehab (as soon as they are OK to carry a light load).

These are a great starting point for someone with impingement or other issues where overhead motion may need to be restricted. Since each hand holds a kettle bell each shoulder needs to work on its own to pull back or retract.

This independence of movement means that each side is responsible for itself which can help to correct imbalances in strength. Just like the swing this exercise ties the hips, core, and shoulders together into a functional movement.

This is one of the bestkettlebellexercises to develop scapular stability while rotating at the T-spine, a motion that is lacking in so many athletes. Keep your eyes on the kettle bell at all times For an extra challenge try a lower weight with the bottom up position Remember to breathe into your belly If you struggle with this and suspect your T-spine is an issue you should try our FREE T-spine mobility email course.

Two prominent movement and strength professionals Gray Cook and Dan John once said in a lecture that “if we were doing more loaded carries than lifts then we wouldn’t be doing as many movement correctives.” A strong statement to be sure but from personal experience, this is very true. The bottom-up carry requires you to grip the handle of the kettle bell very hard, thereby forcing other muscles to contract.

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Most importantly the rotator cuff and muscles that stabilize your shoulder blade. Just like with the arm bar this exercise forces the shoulder to react and maintain the kettle bell ’s balance.

Practice it on one side at a time for an added challenge Remember to breathe into your belly This is especially true with standing presses as the shoulders need a stable base to push from.

I chose these exercises because they challenge the stability of both the shoulder and midline AND connect the movement of both together.

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