How to Do A Kettlebell Press

Kettlebell Press

The kettlebell press is one of my favorite lifts.

It's one of the best full body strength builders out there and a classic way to demonstrate how strong you are.

Plus, prressing a heavy kettlebell over your head just looks cool.

Although it appears to be an upper body exercise, a proper kettlebell Press is actually a full body lift where your upper and lower body have to work together in order to hoist a heavy kettlebell overhead.

You have to generate tension throughout your entire body and stabilize your legs and trunk in order to transfer power from the floor into the kettlebell.

There's no way you're going to be pressing a heavy kettlebell over your head if you cant tie your body together and press from a stable base.

That's what makes it such a great full body strength builder and a classic test of strength - it takes more than just strong arms to Press a heavy kettlebell.

Here's a step-by-step on how to do a kettlebell press.

Make sure to pay attention to the coaching points, although it seems like a simple exercise, there are a lot of details to practice if you want a strong Press.

How to Do A Single Kettlebell Press

The Single Kettlebell Press should be your starting point for pressing.

With all your focus on one arm, you'll be able press a heavier kettlebell and build a good foundation of strength before moving to the Double Kettlebell Press.

Plus, because the kettlebell will try to bend and twist you, you'll be building a strong set of abs in the process - developing full-body strength in the process.

  • 1
    Clean a kettlebell into the rack position.
  • 2
    Lock your legs out, squeeze your glutes, brace your abs and pull your shoulder blades back and down.
  • 3
    Take a sniff of air in through your nose and, without bending or twisting, press the kettlebell straight overhead until your upper arm is behind your ear.
  • 4
    Sharply exhale with a TSSS! as you press to lockout.
  • 5
    Take another breath in through your nose and actively pull the kettlebell back down into the rack position.
  • 6
    Without bouncing off your chest, repeat for the desired number of reps.
  • 7
    Park the kettlebell safely on the ground following a backswing.

How to Do A Double Kettlebell Press

The Double Kettlebell Press is a great strength movement but, more importantly, it packs a ton of muscle on your shoulders and upper back.

Once you've built a solid foundation of strength with the Single Kettlebell Press you can transition to the Double Kettlebell Press to put on some serious muscle.

One thing to keep in mind is that your legs will have to be wider for the Double Clean.

Make sure you naarrow them for the Press then go back to the wider stance to drop the kettlebells into the backswing and park them.

  • 1
    Clean a pair of kettlebells into the rack position, after the clean you can narrow your stance for the press.
  • 2
    Lock your legs out, squeeze your glutes, brace your abs and pull your shoulder blades back and down.
  • 3
    Take a sniff of air in through your nose and, without bending or twisting, press the kettlebells straight overhead until your upper arms are behind your ears.
  • 4
    Sharply exhale with a TSSS! as you press to lockout.
  • 5
    Take another breath in through your nose and actively pull the kettlebells back down into the rack position.
  • 6
    Without bouncing off your chest, repeat for the desired number of reps.
  • 7
    Widen your stance and park the kettlebells safely on the ground following a backswing.

Coaching Points

The Press is one of the simpler kettlebell lifts to learn but it's definitely more than just pressing a kettlebell over your head.

Here are a few coaching points that will help you improve your Kettlebell Press.

Strong Rack Position

Like I've said before, a strong Clean and rack position is the foundation for a strong Press.

So when you catch the Clean in the rack, make sure your legs are locked out, your glutes are squeezed, abs are braced and your shoulder blades are pulled back and down.

Maintaining that tension throughout your body will create a solid base for the foundation to your press.

Which brings us to...

Press From a Solid Base

Building on the strong rack position, you need to maintain that solid base during the Press.

In order to press heavy kettlebells, you're lower and upper body must be tied together by generating tension throughout your body while you Press.

That means you need to drive your heels into the floor, keep your legs locked out, keep squeezing your glutes and abs and squeeze your armpit to engage your lats as you Press.

Generating tension throughout your whole body like that will prevent "power leakages" where you lose strength from unstable parts of your body.

It's also important not to let the kettlebell bend  you backwards, sideways or twist you during the Press - this will also cause you to leak power and lose strength and puts you in a position where you can get hurt.

Tension is strength and if you want a strong (and safe) Press, you need to generate tension throughout your body and Press from a solid base.

Active Negative

Getting the kettlebell back into the rack position from overhead is more than just letting gravity do it's job.

To safely get the kettlebell back into the rack, you're going to actively pull it down with your lat, or the muscles under your armpit.

If you imagine doing a 1 arm chin up ( or a regular chin up for the Double Kettlebell Press), that's the feeling you want to create as you pull the kettlebell down.

Similar to pulling yourself into the squat, this is more of a feeling than actually pulling it down but it's still an important point for keeping your shoulders strong and healthy.

Don't just defer to gravity, actively pull the kettlebell back down into the rack to set up the next Press.

Power Breathing

Using power breathing during the Press will help you generate tension through your abs and make your Press stronger.

Clean the kettlebell into the rack and take a sniff of air in through your nose.

Sharply exhale with a TSSSS! as you press the kettlebell up to lockout.

Take another sniff of air in through your nose in the overhead position.

Exhale with a TSSSS! as you pull the kettlebell back down into the rack position.

This method of breathing creates intra-abdominal pressure and causes your abs to contract which will make you stronger and protect your back.

Wrapping Up

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 much more than just pressing a kettlebell over your head.

Follow the steps and pay close attention to the coaching points.

Master the Press and you'll build a deceptively strong body and a set of strong, muscular shoulders.

In Strength and Health,

Dave

>