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Kettlebell Press

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.

author
Danielle Fletcher
• Thursday, 19 November, 2020
• 8 min read
kettlebell press overhead forearms exercise kettle bell shoulder muscles master exercises clean rack variations form position dumbbell tips carry wide
(Source: www.coachmag.co.uk)

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.

kettlebell press arm workouts fantastic menshealth source arnold
(Source: bodyhacks.com)

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 kettlebellpress is a popular workout technique used to strengthen and build muscle in your deltoid, upper pectorals, and triceps. Every well-balanced training program should incorporate an overhead press in some manner, and kettle bells are a great piece of equipment to utilize in your workout.

Watch as Kettle bell Kings trainer Mike Salem and our good friend Justin Andrews from Mind Pump Media break down the essentials for a high-quality kettlebellpress. In their training experience, Mike and Justin have seen a number of people fail to maximize the use of their muscles and put themselves at risk by using the incorrect form.

press military kettlebell exercise health
(Source: www.menshealth.co.uk)

Justin notes that some bodybuilders perform a “half- press,” in which the arm is only half-extended above the head, in an attempt to better isolate certain muscles, but this variation is not necessary and may even be less effective overall. By utilizing the correct form for your press, you not only work these muscle groups but you also generate a safer movement that reduces the risk of injury.

Although this is the standard position, you also have a range of angles you can place your arm in that isolate different parts of the upper body and allow you to perform more repetitions. The kettlebellpress or military press can transform your upper body making it look, feel and perform at its peak.

Let’s delve deeper into this important kettle bell overhead press exercise and understand why and how it should be used for maximum results. When performed correctly the kettlebellpress lights up almost all the muscles in your body.

Good overhead pressing also demands perfect alignment throughout the body from head to toe in order to produce a strong and stable base of support. There are a great many kettle bell shoulder press variations for you to practice adding to your workouts in order for you to keep things interesting.

Activates most of the muscles in the body when performed correctly Improves overhead strength for daily tasks Develops better alignment throughout the body Increases cardio due to the heart having to work harder to pump blood to the top hand Conditions the shoulders and upper body Adds variety and spice to existing workouts and combinations However, the main muscles that do most of the heavy lifting are the shoulders (deltoid) and the back (latissimus Doris & trapezium) and the arms (triceps).

kettlebell press push bell workout kettle palm shoulder kettleball exercises facing hold challenge bend fitrec straight sure
(Source: kettlebellsession.com)

The legs and even the toes can be activated when pressing challenging and heavy loads. If you lack the movement necessary in the upper back or shoulders to extend the arm directly overhead then compensations must be made further down the body in order to maintain correct alignment.

The human body is strongest when all the joints are stacked in good alignment one on top of the next. When you press a kettle bell overhead you can increase your overall strength by activating as many muscles as possible.

Squeezing the handle of the kettle bell, clenching your other hand into a fist, clamping your buttocks together and locking your legs straight. The act of ‘ getting tight ‘ will cause as many muscles as possible to activate and through the process of irradiation transfer the strength throughout your body.

Basically the body conserves valuable energy by only using the muscles it needs to in order to perform a movement. By getting tight your can ‘ up regulate ‘ your muscle activation and become much stronger in your movements.

When you hold a kettle bell overhead it challenges your smaller endurance based stabilizing muscles. Use the following 4 overhead kettle bell stabilizing exercises in order to strengthen your muscles in preparation for your heavy lifting later.

kettlebell press arm shoulder single overhead exercises workout shoulders dumbbell weight each palms bigger better facing arms forwards bolder position
(Source: www.mh.co.za)

Practice : Holding, Walking or Performing the Overhead Warm Up for 60 seconds non-stop is the ultimate goal. Practice : 5 repetitions on each side is enough as the exercise is performed slowly and deliberately.

The shoulder will be challenged from all angles as you stand up and then lay back down again all while keeping the arm locked. The kettle bell bottoms up clean is a fun exercises that will help correct shoulder and arm alignment issues.

I talked earlier about the importance of stacking joints when load is added in order to gain strength, the bottoms up clean helps you naturally develop this skill. As the kettle bell is cleaned to the racked position the handle is pointing downwards and the weight balanced above it.

You will need to keep your shoulder and arm in the correct position in order to maintain balance of the kettle bell. Practice : use as a nice warm up performing 6-8 repetitions holding in the balanced position for as long as possible.

The half kneeling kettlebellpress will not only challenge your pressing strength but also your core stability. Keep one knee on the floor in the lunge position as you press overhead.

kettlebell press shoulder arm exercise fitness workout total
(Source: totalworkout.fitness)

Do not allow your hips to rotate backwards and for your midsection to fall forwards, stay upright. The kettle bell tall kneeling press isolates the upper body by taking away your base of support.

Keep the buttocks and abs pinched nice and tight throughout the full movement. Do not let the hips slowly track backwards as you progress through your repetitions.

The classic standing kettlebellpress or military press takes the kettle bell from the racked position and overhead. Engage the Lats by tensing the armpit as you press Make sure the forearm is vertical as you press Keep the shoulder down away from your ear and back in its socket Squeeze the whole body to create tension Push away from the floor Use your breath by inhaling first, then forcing air out through tight lips as if letting air out of a balloon Lock the arm at the top with the shoulder away from the ear Ensure that the kettle bell is vertically overhead and not in front or behind the head Actively pull the weight down slowly and with control

The hardest part of the KB strict press is taking the kettle bell from the racked position and moving it the first 12 inches. The kettle bell push press does not involve much work from the legs just a slight knee bend and then a sharp snap of the hips.

Once the kettle bell is moving upwards you can then use the momentum to help with the rest of the overhead press. First you use a slight push press to begin the momentum of the kettle bell moving upwards before dropping for a second time underneath the kettle bell and driving upwards with a straight arm.

kettlebell press arm single shoulder bottoms workouts exercises muscle shoulders fitness
(Source: www.muscleandfitness.com)

You will need excellent body and arm alignment in order to press the kettle bell overhead from the bottoms up position. Maintain a strong grip throughout the exercise and always be prepared to get out of the way if the kettle bell flips over.

You will need good upper back and shoulder mobility in order to complete this exercise. At the bottom of the squat press the kettle bell overhead and then return it to the racked position before standing up.

If you struggle with good squatting technique or have mobility issues then this exercises is going to be a real challenge for you. One of the simplest and most common ways to incorporate the overhead press is to add it to the kettle bell clean.

Make sure to complete the clean correctly and rack the kettle bell securely before moving into the shoulder press. From a deep squat you use your momentum on the upward part of the movement to help push the kettle bell overhead.

You can think of the exercise as an even more exaggerated type of push press with a full squat at the bottom. If you can perform nice deep smooth reverse kettle bell lunges then adding a press to the exercise will ramp up the muscle activation.

kettlebell overhead press push ways jerk bent military muscle flex kettlebells fst
(Source: breakingmuscle.com)

Make sure you keep the arm tucked nice and tight to the body during the lunge to save exhausting the shoulder prematurely. The back knee should kiss or get very close to the floor in order to activate the buttock muscles fully, do not cheat the movement just to get in the overhead press.

Practice : work up to 12 repetitions on each side for a full body and cardio based workout Drive up from the bottom position using the momentum to press the kettle bell overhead.

You will need good core stability and cardio in order to perform a number of quality repetitions. Keeping the legs straight sit up and press the kettle bell overhead.

The format of this strength workout is simple just alternate sides adding 1 extra repetition to the total each round. You don’t need to rush between sides, take your time so you are fully switched on for every repetition.

As you get stronger and can manage all 5 repetitions without using the push press then add a second set starting at 1 and increasing to 5 again. Finally, when you have mastered the overhead kettlebellpress there are 5 kettle bell combination pressing exercises that you can use to really ramp up the cardio and full body muscle engagement.

Related Videos

Sources
1 breakingmuscle.com - https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/how-to-do-the-perfect-kettlebell-press
2 www.kettlebellkings.com - https://www.kettlebellkings.com/the-kettlebell-press/
3 kettlebellsworkouts.com - https://kettlebellsworkouts.com/teaching-points-for-the-kettlebell-overhead-press/