Natural Press Overview

Natural Press Overview

We are excited to have Dave Whitley contribute this piece on the Natural Press. Dave has been training with kettlebells longer than most, written on kettlebell movements and performs as Strongman feats across the world. (pictured right, photo credit: )

By Dave Whitley:

If you have been lifting kettlebells for very long, you are probably familiar with the strict one arm press or Military press. For this lift, the body remains almost completely still and the weight is lifted from the rack to an overhead lockout.

Many people have also heard of the Bent Press. For this lift, the weight remains pretty still, at the same distance from the floor and the body moves into a bent over position with a locked elbow. More weight can be put overhead with on hand by this technique than any other method.


If we look at these as two ends of a continuum, we have several choices of overhead pressing variations in between. One of the most powerful is the Natural press, which is term I picked up from strongman Bud Jeffries. In the natural press, we see elements of the bent press, side press, push press and military press. The guiding principle of this lift is to find where YOUR body and YOUR individual anatomy can move the most weight.

Dave Whitley works on his Natural Press with his Competition Kettlebells

Even though it is very individualized, there are some elements that wind up happening for most people.

  • The rack is more to the side than a strict press, but not as far as a bent press.
  • the body and the weight both move, away from each other, to reach a locked elbow.
  • a little hip/leg drive adds power, much like a pushpress. I call it a "heave".

This position is very powerful, but if you haven't done it before, go light because not many of us have practiced the position before.

Happy Pressing!

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