First, we need to address the prevalence of shoulder injuries with resistance exercise in general. Soft tissue injuries (injuries to the rotator cuff, biceps tendon, and PEC major), acromioclavicular disorders, instability, dislocations, mobility restrictions, and nerve injuries can occur with strength training and have been reported in research on resistance exercise.
However, the vast majority of strength-training related injuries can be avoided by focusing on proper techniques, improving muscle imbalances, maintaining or improving shoulder joint mobility, and avoiding stressful joint positions such as the high-five position (we’ll discuss this momentarily). The kettle bell rack is a more optimal resting or starting position to press from.
Finally, when pressing with the kettle bell, you are free to move and adjust the plane of motion, which is not as restrictive as with the barbell. Believe me, I love overhead pressing with a barbell, but it is different from the more natural movement you can perform with the kettle bell.
This is perhaps the single most important point and key distinction of the kettle bell press. The plane of the scapula (POS) is the normal resting position of the scapula on the posterior aspect of the rib cage (the shoulder blade resting on the back of the ribs).
The scapula (shoulder blade) sits in a position that is approximately 30 to 45 degrees anterior to the frontal plane. In other words, your shoulder is in an optimal position when you raise your arm (or in this case, perform a press).
The natural resting position of the scapula, which is 30 to 45 degrees anterior to the frontal plane. Soft tissue injuries, such as PEC major ruptures, have been reported to occur most often in the high-five position.
This position also stresses other anterior structures and the capsule in the shoulder joint. You use full-body tension to increase stability between the ground and the kettle bell (or any other tool) to generate more force production.
Once again, you can certainly “wedge” with a barbell or a dumbbell, but the shape and design of the kettle bell make it different from the other tools. This small difference enables a stronger and more efficient overhead press.
These are the three key distinctions of the kettle bell press based on my own observations and experience. The tool design, the natural movement in the plane of the scapula, and the wedging effect make the kettle bell press a unique variation.
You can do anything you want, but it’s a lot more comfortable and efficient to press with a kettle bell compared to other tools. M. Older, et al. Shoulder Injuries Attributed To Resistance Training: A Brief Review,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, June 2010, Volume 24, No 6, pp.
Martin Kelly and William Clark, Orthopedic Therapy of the Shoulder. Scott Marcella, MPT, CSS, SFG II, NFL, ISSN, Saw, CA CWC.
With over thirty years of unique experiences, he currently coaches kettle bell and Weightlifting techniques to small groups in South Florida. 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 kettle bell press 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.
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). The legs and even the toes can be activated when pressing challenging and heavy loads.
Shoulder and upper back mobility is very important when pressing overhead. 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.
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. Beginners should practice without a kettle bell before slowly adding load to the exercise.
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. Keep one knee on the floor in the lunge position as you press overhead.
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.
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.
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. Practice : 10 continuous repetitions on each side will really get your heart rate racing.
If you can perform nice deep smooth reverse kettle bell lunges then adding a press to the exercise will ramp up the muscle activation. Make sure you keep the arm tucked nice and tight to the body during the lunge to save exhausting the shoulder prematurely.
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.
An excellent full body and cardio based kettle bell exercise. 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.
If you find the last few repetitions too difficult then use the push press to finish off the reps. 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.
The kettle bell press 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.
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. 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. In the video, you will note that Mike demonstrates two different pressing angles that he recommends, which allows the kettle bell to remain stable throughout the movement.
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. 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.
Because of the need to keep the forearm vertical the upper arm needs to open out a bit to allow this to happen. It’s always funny to me that people understand that swings are a whole body exercise.
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. As with many of our kettle bell workouts, you might want to combine this routine with another to work out your abs or your arms.
Throughout the movement only the shoulders should be moving, and your arms should remain straight the whole time. Any kettle bell upper body workout would be enhanced by shoulder presses.
To do an arm bar, start by laying on your back with a kettle bell in your left hand. You will then use your lat to pull your shoulder blade down for stability, and contract your left glute.
Hold the weight with both hands when switching arms to avoid getting hit by a heavy kettle bell. This upper body kettle bell exercise works the main shoulder muscles.
Rotate your arms so the palms are facing away from you as you press the kettle bells up again and repeat. To do a swing, start with your feet shoulder width apart with the kettle bell in front of you.
Then begin to bend over by hinging your hips and moving them backward, while keeping your back straight. Then, quickly reverse the direction of the kettle bell by bringing your hips forward, straightening your legs, and squeezing your glutes.
Remember to keep your chest lifted and back straight throughout the entire movement. The most common mistake made when attempting the swing is to turn it into a squat.
Remember to hinge from the hips not the knees, and keep your back straight for proper form. This kettle bell shoulder exercise is a really popular one because it engages the trapezium and deltoid muscles.
Lateral side raises are great for people who want to build width in their shoulders, but can benefit everyone. Start in an athletic stance holding a kettle bell at your side in each hand.
Begin to lift the kettle bells straight out to both sides until they are about shoulder height. The shoulder is a common source of pain for people because it not properly exercised.
Just like dumbbells, barbells, steel maces, and other weightlifting equipment, there’s no one-size-fits-all with Kettle bells. Different kettle bell sizes will be best for certain genders, ages, exercises, and overall fitness goals.
What is the best Kettle bell size for building muscle, gaining strength, burning fat? It's all organized by sections, so if you want to scroll down to your specific question, it will be easy to find.
Before the end of the 19th century, Russian girl had found its way into the sphere of competitive weightlifting sports in Russia and some parts of Europe while the term, Kettle bell,” was widely adopted at the dawn of the 20th century in the Western world. Unlike the simple structures of Dumbbells and Barbells, Kettle bells have complex, equally-important parts, each of which contributes to its uniqueness.
The anatomy of a Kettle bell, as seen from the above picture, includes the Handle, Corner, Horn, Window, Bell, and Base. The Bell is the center of mass of a Kettle bell while the Window is the space that separates the Handle from the Bell, affording the user convenient and flexible movements that are lacking in Dumbbells and Barbells.
If you are new to weight training, it's best to start at a beginner level so you can learn proper mechanics. Your age, fitness, and experience determine the type of Kettle bell training you can take-on.
Kettlebell grinds are not only the best for beginners, but they are also very great for experts as its technique is perfect for building muscle and strength. The obtuse shape of the Handle also helps in ensuring a perfect grip and some products now come with a chip-resistant coating that enhances grip and lets users see the weight written on the Kettle bell through contrast.
Note: Although those increments may seem big, a jump from training with 15lbs to 20lbs is normal for kettle bell lifting. For one, it gives users greater flexibility to choose between the wide range of weights and ease scaling-up a bit if they please.
When we talk about men here, we mean active males starting from the age of 18 years. The most important thing is an improvement, the ability to fulfill your potentials as your training progresses.
It is our professional recommendation that you start with a weight that is proportional to your skill level and fitness. This helps you to maintain a good form while you scale up with smiles and less stress.
Starting with anything in this range will help you to conveniently learn how to use proper techniques whether you’re training on your own or with a trainer. Like we mentioned with men, the talk of women here refers to females starting from age 18 years.
While we advise everyone to carry just enough weight, some women have been found to underestimate their strengths, opting for Kettle bell sizes that are too small. A general rule of thumb is for you to carry a Kettle bell weight with which you’re able to do 5 repetitions (reps) of any workout you’re starting with.
Also, if you’ve reached a stage whereby you can conveniently do 20 reps of that workout, then it’s the right time for you to pick up something heavier. The American Academy of Pediatric shad since the year 1990 asserted the potential benefits of monitored weightlifting for children and adolescents on health and athleticism.
A kid’s Kettle bell size for a workout will depend on fitness and age. In the end, it will be the level of fitness that will determine the number of Kettle bell workout reps each child will perform.
Kettle bell lifting for kids should be limited to simple exercises. They can help you build your strength and balance, as well as improve your cardiovascular fitness.
And it will be wiser for you to focus on cardio-based kettle bell exercises such as swings, squats, cleans, and presses because you're no longer trying to build excessive muscles, but just enough to keep your bones together and covered. If you have any doubts, be sure to ask your doctor or a physiotherapist about kettle bell training and if it's right for you.
When you aim to do a lot of ballistic workouts with the kettle bell and you have never done any of such activities before, starting with 18LB is good for women while 26LBS will be alright for men. If you had done some moderate ballistic workouts before, 35LBS is a good start for men and 26LBS is okay for women.
When you aim to do lots of slow lifts with the kettle bell and you have never done anything like that before, starting with 22LBS is good for you as a woman while 30LBS for you as a man. Some people start doing kettle bell workouts because they want to build their size and strength.
To build your size and strength using kettle bells, you need to focus on exercises that can give you the most beneficial results. Additionally, you can include another free-weight equipment in your Kettle bell exercise to get the most out of your workout.
Excellent free-weight equipment you can combine with Kettle bells for incredible muscle build-up is the Steel Mace. You can learn more about how to get the best out of these two weightlifting equipment from our Steel Mace and Kettle bell Arm Blast Workout.
The kettle bell swing is a ballistic exercise that you can use to train your posterior chain muscles and it’s most useful in building your hip power and speed. To perform the kettle bell swing, you need to move the bell in a pendulum motion from between the knees to anywhere at your eye-level or above it.
For average active men doing Basic Goblet Squats, the best Kettle bell size is 40LBS. The Goblet Squat is a typical beginner’s exercise to help new Kettle bell lifters get positional awareness, accumulate basic squat strength and technique, and get a better balance.
You can learn more about perfecting your squat by reading our How to Fix Hip Pain article. The Kettle bell Turkish Get-ups are very useful for developing your solid movement foundation as they tend to focus on your small stabilizing muscles.
Not only does it reveal your problems, but it also helps you develop a functional core, serves as a safeguard against back pain and improves your posture. Beginners, intermediate and advanced flows exist for individuals fitting each level.
It is best to use the Kettle bell size that you are most comfortable with for two to three exercises you want to put into a flow. Complexes can be done in a sequence or one exercise after the other (i.e. 5 x squats then 5 x presses then 5 x sumo dead lifts, without resting or putting the kettle bell down).
Unlike other Kettle bells, their handles and other parts are always of the same shape and dimension regardless of their weights because of the need to maintain consistency in competitions and fairness among competitors. They are usually based in kilograms and range in 2 or 4 kg increments according to international standards, each weight having varying color for convenient identification.
Some Gregory Sports competitions start male competitors with 26LBS, up to 88LBS; and females from 18LBS, up to 53LBS to a varying number of repetitions in lifts such as Snatch, Jerk, and Long Cycle. A kettle bell workout is a great way to tone your body, burn fat, earn some killer abs and keep fit.
For average active women, the best Kettle bell sizes for tone-up, burning fat and keeping fit is 18LBS for beginners, with a gradual build-up to 26LBS as you get used to the bells. For average active men, the best Kettle bell sizes for tone-up, burning fat and keeping fit is 26LBS for beginners, with a gradual build-up to 44LBS.
If your goal is to burn fat, you want a weight that you can use with little rest and for HIIT workouts. This means you should go lighter than what you would use for traditional sets and reps workouts with longer rest.
If we had to choose the three overall best Kettle bell sizes, we'd go 26, 35, and 44LBS or 20, 30, and 40lbs, depending on the supplier you buy from. It enhances core strength and stability through its multi planar and unilateral movements.
It’s the most convenient way to reduce body weight, burning up to 400 calories in 20 minutes. Embedded in this ancient weight-measuring tool is everything you need for your total body-conditioning goals and you can know more about what you'll start to gain from it by reading our 18 Benefits of Kettle bells article.
Brett Jones, Strongest’s Director of Education, asked me to write an overview of Kettle bell STRONG! I was promoted to Master ROC in early 2010, just before the release of my book, Kettle bell Muscle.
A wrestler must train to overcome the effects of hydrogen ion and lactic acid accumulation. So my programming for performance has always been geared toward maximum force production and minimizing fatigue, regardless of the goal.
Both are designed to make your old 4RM starting weight feel like a toy. This does start to get mildly glycolysis, but if you choose the “Slow and Steady,” it is not intolerably so.
The majority of folks opt for the “Slow and Steady” for this reason. The third and final phase is a 5 to 8-week program that capitalizes on all the work you’ve done to date, and is focused on fat loss.
In fact, most people stop after the “Slow and Steady” and start over, using heavier kettle bells, with their leaner, more muscular bodies. It’s a conditioning program meant to be performed using the Double Swing.
Stay with the first phase of the program and recycle it with a heavier pair of kettle bells. Double or even triple the prescribed work sets over the course of time and use it as a pure A+A program.
Then, if you’re up for it, you should be fully prepared to run the last fat loss program. The “2020” AGT-friendly variation would simply alternate different cycles of “Strong!” and “One:” 8 weeks of the first phase of “Strong!” followed by 8 to 12 weeks of “One,” modified to a low-rep Mom program.
For Men: Hold half of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells in the rack position for 30s minimum. For Women: Hold a third of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells in the rack position for 30s minimum.
For Men: Press half of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells at least once. For Women: Press one third of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells at least once.
Use a pair of kettle bells you can press 5 times, but would struggle to get 6 reps with. Perform one clean, followed by the prescribed number of presses.
Session # 3: Perform a Rep Max (RM)* with the same pair of kettle bells you’ve been using. Session # 3: Perform a Rep Max (RM)* with the same pair of kettle bells you’ve been using.
Rest as much as necessary between sets to get the prescribed reps. Do light mobility work or walk on non-training days, but nothing else. Everything you need to know about the “Strong!” program inside Kettle bell STRONG!, how to modify it to meet your anti-glycolitic training goals, the qualification criteria for starting the program, and two different ways to prepare yourself to meet those criteria so you can reap the benefits from the program itself.
Sags can also master how to perform and teach double kettle bell skills by attending their Strongest SFG Level II instructor certification. Our most recent program at Queensland Kettle bells has included a lot of floor presses, with good reason.
He’s been in the strength & fitness industry since 1993 and has worked as a personal trainer, Division 1 strength and conditioning coach (Rutgers University), a personal training business owner, and an education provider. He has trained people from all walks of life, from middle school athletes, to military special operators, to arthritic grandmothers in their 70s.
ULTRA, Kettle bell STRONG!, The Olympic Rapid Fat Loss Program, Six Pack Abs 365, The Permanent Weight Loss Solution, and Pressing RESET: Original Strength Reloaded. Geoff has presented workshops on advanced kettle bell training, body maintenance and restoration, and Olympic lifting all over the world, including the US, Europe, SE Asia, and Australia.
Geoff currently trains clients online and lives in Colorado with his beautiful wife and his two children who are growing like sunflowers.