Expert tip “Many people get it wrong and let the bell travel too far out to the sides, which will limit the weight you can handle and the reps you can do,” says leading kettle bell coach Mike Mahler. Make sure the bell handle is at a 45° angle pressing into your palm to help further the mind-body connection for the most efficient form possible.”
But the smart way, says Mahler, is to use the same weight but perform a version of the exercise that’s more challenging, such as the bottom-up kettlebellpress. When you have a strong foundation in technique, you can go into new weight territories and not worry about getting injured.”
If you can’t control the kettle bell, you either have weak wrists or are trying to press in an inefficient path. Photography: Glen Burrows; Models: Sean Merrill, Daniel Ventura
So how did the early fathers of strength — men like Sand ow, Hackenschmidt, and Saxon — build such impressive upper bodies? Pavel Tsatsouline wrote in Enter the Kettle bell that, “…if you work your overhead presses hard, you will hardly need to do anything else for your upper body.” Looking at the Herculean torsos and shoulders of the strongmen of yesteryear it would seem to be correct.
The kettlebellpress is unlike a normal barbell or dumbbell press. With the weight of the bell resting against the back of your arm, a kettle bell is always trying to pull you out of your groove and into a potentially dangerous position.
I’ve always thought of this as a two-for-one bonus deal kind of thing because it means when I press a kettle bell I am getting a great shoulder stability workout as my rotator cuff has to work overtime to counteract these forces. So step one in a successful heavy press is a solid and consistent clean.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make as they bell arrives in the rack is to let it knock some air out of them. Imagine someone trying to knock you over as they walk past — tense your body the exact same way.
In this position — a standing plank — you will be tight with legs locked, abs and glutes switched on, and body rigid. Letting your forearm go out of vertical increases the torque at the shoulder if it goes backwards or causes your arm to be caved in by the bell lying on top of it.
Because of the need to keep the forearm vertical the upper arm needs to open out a bit to allow this to happen. But all of a sudden we get to the press, and they revert to their inner bodybuilder and think it’s a shoulder exercise.
Imagine trying to suck your shoulder blade on the working side down into the opposite hip pocket and keeping it there during the duration of the press. When trying to get my groove, particularly with a new bell, bigger than one I’ve been used to training with, I like to perform a bottoms up press with an appropriate sized bell that makes a single rep difficult.
I find this reminds me of good mechanics and how to develop tension. After a short break I go straight to my new bell and try to get that same feeling of tension and alignment.
The single rep gives you a high level of neural activation and actually makes completing a set of five immediately after easier, allowing you to use a heavier weight which in turn leads to more strength and muscle gain. If you follow the drills above and take your time you’ll build a strong press and an upper body to make Sand ow jealous.
The Military Press places resistance in a straight line down the forearm, teaches proper alignment in the overhead position while simultaneously the arms, shoulders and back. It is also the foundational lift for vertical pushing & pressing movements. This overhead movement also develops more definition of your upper body because building strong, healthy shoulders in the safety zone.
The kettle bell overhead press naturally aligns to the plane of the scapular, about 30 to 45 degrees anterior to the frontal plan. Holding the kettle bell in the rack position requires optional because of the gravitational pull of the mass against the body This is a bonus to building strong shoulders, posterior chain, back besides engaging the lats, abs & core will carry over to other exercise with movement under tension to increase strength, endurance & power.
It was never designed to be a lifelong program to follow — if such a thing even exists — nor did I consider the exercises necessarily the most important kettle bell drills. Given that we’re looking for exercises that fit kettle bells the best, you have to start with the question of what that means, and then choose the most effective movements accordingly.
So let’s walk through that discussion and I’ll share what I believe to be the three most effective kettle bell exercises for the advanced trainee. Kettle bells also offer a nearly unprecedented amount of variety to train the shoulder girdle.
Among the many benefits of using long cycle, he found that it contributed to improved military PT testing and other varied athletic events such as obstacle courses (the infamous “WTH effect”). In addition, body weight increased, blood pressure decreased, and in Return of the Kettle bell, Iron Tamer Dave Whitley (former Master SFG) is quoted as saying, “The long cycle added 15lb to my dead lift , even though I had not done dead lifts in over a year.”
For those wanting some research that is a little more modern and Western, there is ample evidence to back up the use of faster eccentric training for muscle growth. If you’re after big arms and shoulders as well as some serious strength endurance, then long cycle may be the best kept secret in the training world.
Having had the luxury of being around the kettle bell scene for quite a while, I can remember a time when the famous “program minimum” (what would later become Pavel’s Simple & Sinister) did not include the get-up. It was the bent press and the snatch, not the swing and get-up, that were regarded as being the two most essential exercises, provided you had the requisite shoulder and hip flexibility.
But the thing to remember about steroids is that while in the right dose they can help deliver powerful athletic performances, they can also give you cancer and you can die. In other words, the windmill and bent press are more powerful than the get-up as exercises and train more components of movement to higher degrees, but for many people they may be too much to begin with.
Strength pioneer Bob Hoffman wrote in 1938, “The bent press is the making of a lifter. It promotes efficiency in all lifts, and its practice will promote a great increase in strength development.” To perform the bent press, and its earlier progression the windmill, you will need a good hip hinge and flawless thoracic rotation.
Exercises like farmer walks and rack carries are a fantastic way to develop real-world core strength and stability. But not many people have access to a free-range style of gym like mine at RPT, and they lack the space to effectively carry.
The anterior load makes squatting better easier, as it forces the abdominal to engage fully, which in turn allows the hips to free up and work better. That placement of load also allows for a more upright torso angle, meaning there is less stress on the lower back.
Speaking of your back, the lats, which are an essential element to core stability, will have to fire up like crazy to stop you dropping the bells in front of you as you squat. Even large humans who can seemingly squat Ohio will find this variation challenging.
The windmill and bent press include high degrees of hip and shoulder mobility and stability, which will injury-proof you and keep you supple and strong. He is both a black belt and an Iron man and has been honing the craft of training for over twenty years. Having trained alongside industry leaders in everything from Taekwondo to Brazilian Jim Jitsi to boxing, as well as kettle bells, running, triathlon, and weightlifting, Andrew has a wealth of experience to draw from.
Pressing or placing heavy stuff overhead has been a feat of strength favored by many a strongman of yesteryear. This year so far we’ve had many ladies move up to larger kettle bells in their programs whilst others simply got more comfortable with their current presses — another valuable note of progress — but one chap started the year with a notable goal in particular.
A combination of long, skinny arms, former injuries from bike crashes holding me back and a natural propensity for endurance over max strength has left me with a humbling 32 kg kettlebellpress. Now, I’ve written about this concept before but because it keeps delivering for not just me, but for other people with totally different make-ups, its validity keeps growing stronger.
The key to making this program successful is in creeping up volume very, very slightly over the training cycle. We add a rep, add a rep then back step to a previously completed stage — it’ll make sense below but in essence we sneak the volume up a little and before it gets noticed as a stress, we back off to a comfortable level we’ve completed before.
The program is very specialized and didn’t leave much room for progressing other lifts but the goal was to improve the press, nothing else. We train three times a week, with active rest days in between to work on mobility and other maintain other qualities.
If the body felt a bit battered or tight, we back off to a simpler days training. (You’ll see that below when we cut volume down to 24 total reps a couple of times)
Always warm up each session with a thorough mobility routine like Original Strength, some crawling, farmers carries and a few swings. I’m not saying this exact layout will work for everyone, but I believe in the concept, the waviness of volume and expanding the comfort zone to achieve new layers of strength.
At the end of this program, the client rested a few days with active recovery before retesting his weights. Workouts are some of the most effective ways to get rid of body fat and keep fit.
Kettle bell routines are great exercises you can do to lose a good amount of weight and tone your abs. We have come up with 10 kettle bell exercise routines that will help you burn fat all over your body.
As you probably know, weight loss is simply burning more calories than you intake. Another great thing about our selection of kettle bell exercise routines is that it also conditions all the muscles you engage.
Choose a combination of these kettle bell exercise routines on different days to add some variety to your workout. This will keep things fun and you will be able to work many muscle sets to achieve an all-round and lasting weight loss.
This is an awesome kettle bell exercise routine if you are looking to lose some weights fast. It is also a great cardio workout as it helps to pump blood through the body while lubricating your joints 1.
Now, lift yourself back up and then raise the kettle bell up above your head until your elbows lock. If you also need to correct your posture along with losing weight, this kettle bell exercise routine for abs will do that for you.
This routine will work your entire leg muscles, your core, your abs, and your back. Hold a kettle bell in your right hand and slowly lift your left leg off the floor.
Lean your torso downward while keeping your back straight and in line with your left leg. Keep leaning downward until your back all the way down to your left heel is straight.
By now, only your right leg is on the floor with the kettle bell hovering above the ground in your outstretched right hand. Slowly return to the starting position to complete one rep. Do this kettle bell routine exercise for 12 reps on each leg.
This simply means that you will be using a lot of muscle sets to accomplish this workout. Raise it to shoulder height and then twist your wrist and lift it above your head in a swift movement.
Bring it back down by reversing the process and finish it off with a squat placing the kettle bell on the floor. The reason simply is that it engages almost all the muscles in your body turning you into a fat burning machine.
Your buttocks, hamstring, and your entire back muscles are put to work during this exercise. Kettle bell swing routine, however, is a bit technical so it might be a little tricky to get your form right for a beginner.
Lower your torso towards the floor while keeping your back straight. This kettle bell exercise routine will put your arms and pecs to work.
Grab the handles of the kettle bells instead of placing your palms on the floors as with traditional push ups. Now lift one kettle bell off the floor towards your side while retracting your shoulder blade.
This is a good kettle bell exercise for chest and it will also put your shoulders, arms, and pecs to work. Grab the kettle bell with one hand while the other is firmly on the floor and perform a push up.
This is another great kettle bell exercise for arms and will also involve all the muscles in your body. Hold the kettle bell in your hand close to your shoulder with your elbow pointing to the ground.
Now, lower yourself into a lunge putting the corresponding leg of the hand holding the kettle bell backward. Bring your hand back to your elbow to complete the rep. Repeat 10 of this routine to make a set.
Your upper torso gets a full workout with this kettle bell exercise routine. Even though you are seated and much of the muscles from your midsection downward are not really getting worked, this is still a good workout.
So, get your butt to the floor, keep your back straight, and stretch out your legs wide apart. Slowly lower the kettle bell back to the starting position to complete the rep. Do 10 to 15 reps of this to make one set.
This workout mainly targets your back muscles and also strengthens your core and legs. If you are a beginner, you might want to rest your free hand on something to help you maintain a good form.
Lower your torso at the hip while keeping your back straight and your knees slightly bent. Grab the kettle bell with one hand and pull it up to your side in a smooth movement.
Lower the kettle bell without it touching the floor to complete one rep. You will do 10 to 15 reps of this (depending on your fitness). This extra workout is a kettle bell exercise routine for a stark beginner.
This routine teaches you the way to bend at the hip and not arch your lower back. Stand straight and hold the kettle bell by the base of the handle with both hands.
You can rest assured if you do these exercises the right way, you will start seeing results sooner than later. Commit to these kettle bell exercise routines and you will soon be burning calories round the clock.