Breaking Down the Press

The press is one of the best lifts you can do to improve your overall strength.

At first glance, it appears to be just a shoulder exercise. 

But when you press correctly, like you'll learn here, you'll see that it's actually a full body lift.

The press teaches you to generate tension throughout your entire body, and to stabilize your legs and trunk.

You won't be able to press a heavy bell overhead if you don't have a strong base of support.

Before you start pressing though, you need to make sure your clean and your get up are rock solid.

The clean is the foundation for a strong press.

A good clean sets up a good rack position which sets up a strong press, they all work together.

And the get up develops shoulder strength, stability and a strong lockout position, which are all important in the top position of the press.

Once you have a strong clean and get up, the press is simply taking the bell from the rack position to the overhead position at the top of the get up.

The Press

  • 1
    Clean a kettlebell into the rack position - your wrist should be neutral, legs locked out, glutes squeezed, abs braced and your shoulders pulled down.
  • 2
    Without bending back, leaning sideways or twisting, press the kettlebell straight over head.
  • 3
    At lockout, your upper arm should be behind your ear, legs locked out, glutes squeezed and your abs braced.
  • 4
    Use your lat to actively pull the kettlebell back down into the rack position. Imagine doing a one arm pull up.

Out of all the kettlebell lifts, the press is, by far, the simplest to learn.

Don't be fooled by it's simplicity though, it's one of the best full body strength builders you can do.

Make sure you have a strong clean and rack position and that your get up is dialed in before you start training the press.

When you understand how to create tension in the rack and the mechanics of a strong overhead position, the press becomes so much easier, and safer, to train.

In Strength and Health,