The Kettlebell Press

The Kettlebell Press 

The kettlebell press is a popular workout technique used to strengthen and build muscle in your deltoids, upper pectorals, and triceps. Every well-balanced training program should incorporate an overhead press in some manner, and kettlebells are a great piece of equipment to utilize in your workout. The kettlebell allows for single-arm or dual-arm lifts and is much gentler on the wrists and elbows than standard dumbbells and barbells. When it comes to proper use of the kettlebell, however, many people struggle to find the right form that allows for maximum strength training and safety.  

Watch as Kettlebell Kings trainer Mike Salemi and our good friend Justin Andrews from Mind Pump Media break down the essentials for a high-quality kettlebell press. 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. 

It is important to note that unlike doing a dumbbell press or a regular barbell press, the kettlebell’s offset nature will force you to stabilize the equipment and rest the weight against the back of your arm. The benefits of using a kettlebell to perform a press will quickly become clear (if you’ve never used one in your workout before) as you will be forced to use your shoulders and rotator cuff to stabilize and counteract the weight of the bell during the upward and downward motions of the press. 

In the video, you will note that Mike demonstrates two different pressing angles that he recommends, which allows the kettlebell to remain stable throughout the movement. 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. To optimize your full window of motion, Mike also recommends a vertical press. 

Step-by-Step Guide

Begin in the rack with your shoulder down and away and maintain tension in your quads, glutes, and abs (2:28)

Press the arm into the scapular position, with your shoulders pressed down and set (2:36)

Press up overhead, with your thumb at a 45 degree angle towards the wall behind you (2:46)

Pull the kettlebell down, maintaining tension in your shoulder (2:49) 

Return to the rack position (2:53)

We hope that this video can help you improve your kettlebell press form, and you are able to get the most out of your workout. To learn more about improving kettlebell performance, visit our blog at blog.kettlebellkings.com. You can also sign up for free weekly kettlebell workouts that are sent directly to your inbox. For any other questions about kettlebell workouts contact us by emailing info@kettlebellkings.com or calling 855-7KETTLE.