The Kettlebell Press

Great technique on how to do the kettlebell press

The kettlebell press is great exercise to build formidable shoulder strength, to perform the press you must begin from the rack position, achieved by doing the kettlebell clean.

In the rack position your body must be tense, shoulders down, elbows tucked in and lats out wide, your abdominal muscles must be tight to provide support around your waist, the glutes tense and the knees fully locked out. You must not try to propel the kettlebell up with your legs.

Although the body from shoulders down does not lift the kettlebell in the press, it has an important role in creating a solid base for the shoulders to lift the kettlebell.

Further pointers for performing the kettlebell press

  • At the rack position lower shoulders down as much as possible, so the muscles around the shoulders are stretched, this allows the muscles to load up and get better leverage to perform the kettlebell press. Your elbows should touch your hip bone at the stretched out position.
  • Flare out your lats (back muscles) so they stretch outwards, doing so provides the shoulders more stability, and helps with the lift. The lats are the secondary work muscle in the kettlebell press.
  • Grip the handles as hard as possible, this allows you to have more control of the kettlebell, and helps engage the arms in the lift.
  • When pressing the kettlebell, mentally focus on your shoulders and lats to drive the weight up, the shoulders and lats are the main movers in this lift, not the biceps.
  • Instead of trying to focus on lifting the kettlebell, focus on driving yourself into the ground (away from the kettlebell), this helps to lift better for some reason

Performing the lift

  • For the rack position, rotate the shoulders out so the forearms are vertical and the back of your hand is facing behind you
  • Left the kettlebell up aiming to get to a full lockout of the arm and completely vertical. It’s important to note that the kettlebell follows an arc, it does not go up in a straight line, this is because of the mechanisms of the shoulders. The kettlebell will begin close to your shoulders, and during the press it will move out wide and forward a  little, it will curve back at the top of the lift and up on top of your shoulders.


The bottom up press: You can press the kettlebell upside down to challenge your grip even more, you must grip the handle super tight, to stop the kettlebell from falling sideways, be careful not to drop the weight on top of you and use a light weight to begin. You may need to use chalk to get a better grip


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