Kettlebell Shoulder Press

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Kettlebell Shoulder Press

Kettlebell Exercise Information

The Kettlebell Shoulder Press is a Loaded Exercise upon which the following exercises build:

Individual exercise information is available by clicking the links above, and more detailed information specified for the Kettlebell Shoulder Press can be found below.

Press

The press is an exercise where a weight is pressed away from the body. It is not the same as a push-up, as in a push-up the body is pushed away from the ground or another object.

A press can be performed while standing or laying down. While laying down, the angle of the body can also vary, i.e. incline or decline.

The main movers for the press are the delts, pecs, and triceps. How much the pecs are involved will depend on whether it's performed from a supine position or not and the angle of the arm.

Even within the shoulder or chest press exercise, there are many different variations created by the angle at which the arm is positioned. The angle and body position has an impact on what muscles or part of the muscles do most of the work.

The shoulder press is an exercise where a weight is pressed away from the body. The starting position is at the chest in racking, and the ending position is overhead with the arm straight. The exercise has two phases that can be used, concentric (up), and eccentric (down).

To use only the eccentric phase, one has to jerk, snatch, or push press the weight overhead. This is beneficial to work with heavier loads and load only the eccentric phase of the exercise.

To use only the concentric phase, one presses the weight overhead and then drops it back into the racking position. The up phase is powered, and the drop only requires deceleration when the weight is nearing the racking position.

Lighter weight and faster reps will work more on cardio, and heavier weight and slower reps will work more on strength. Working super slow and taking advantage of both phases is showing that you have full control over the weight. Our recommendation is to work on that at every stage of your load increase.


RPM

Slow tempo:

4RPM for the Kettlebell Shoulder Press at a fast tempo.

Fast tempo:

32RPM for the Kettlebell Shoulder Press at a fast tempo.


Alternatives

Alternatives for this exercise are:

  1. Arm Raise

Common Mistake(s):

This information flows through from Press

  1. Not straightening the arm when overhead

    The elbow is still bent and the arm is not straightened once the weight is overhead. 

Kettlebell Shoulder Press

  1. Doing too many reps and transferring work to other joints

    Performing more reps than the body is conditioned to handle and the work is then shared by adding other joints like those in the legs or spine.

  2. Using a weight too heavy and transferring work to other joints

    If the intended exercise targets a certain joint or joints but other joints are added because the weight is too heavy. For example, the exercise is intended to be performed strict and the legs are added (ankle, knee, and hip joints), or even the spine.


Also know as: Overhead Press

Parent exercise: Press

This is a: Loaded Exercise

Is loaded with equipment: Kettlebell

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On-page quicklinks:

Exercise Photo Gallery

Related Workouts or Warm-ups

Form and Technique

This section explains the form and technique for the Kettlebell Shoulder Press exercise.

As a registered member you will be able to evaluate yourself against the technique and record any issues which you can then work on.

Set-Up

  1. Clean Any variation of the kettlebell clean can be used to clean the weight and end in a racking position.…
  2. Rack Obtain a good racking position.…
  3. Tense the base Tense the legs to provide a solid base where the exercise can be performed from. Tense the calves to…
  4. Tense the core Tense the abdominals and obliques like you are expecting an impact in the stomach. Pull the armpits…

Form

  1. Keep the shins vertical Keeping the shins vertical means keeping them where they are when you stand upright. No movement sho…
  2. Joints in line when viewed side on once overhead Once the weight is overhead, all joints should align when looking side on. Wrist, elbow, shoulder, h…
  3. Weight above the shoulder joint once overhead When viewed front on, the weight should be placed above the shoulder joint and the wrist, elbow, and…

Goal

To move the weight(s) from a racking position into an overhead position.

Muscles Used:

If no muscles or no prime movers are listed, drill down deeper by selecting an exercise variation..

  1. The heavier the weight, the more work fixators will need to do. For example, with a bodyweight squat, the fixators don't have to do much work but add load to the exercise and they will work a lot.

    1. Latissimus Dorsi

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Back

    2. Pectoralis Major

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Chest

      Muscle group: Pectoralis

    3. Pectoralis Minor

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Chest

      Muscle group: Pectoralis

    4. Serratus Anterior

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Chest

    5. Trapezius Inferior

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Back / Middle / Lower

      Muscle group: Trapezius

  2. Agonists and synergists are combined under the umbrella of prime-movers.

    1. Biceps Brachii Long Head

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Upper Arms / Anterior

      Muscle group: Biceps Brachii

    2. Biceps Brachii Short Head

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Upper Arms / Anterior

      Muscle group: Biceps Brachii

    3. Coracobrachialis

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Upper Arms / Anterior

    4. Deltoid Anterior Head

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Shoulder / Anterior

      Muscle group: Deltoids

    5. Pectoralis Major

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Chest

      Muscle group: Pectoralis

  3. Agonists and synergists are combined under the umbrella of prime-movers.

    1. Anconeus

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Lower Arms

    2. Triceps Brachii Lateral Head

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Upper Arms / Posterior

      Muscle group: Triceps

    3. Triceps Brachii Long Head

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Upper Arms / Posterior

      Muscle group: Triceps

    4. Triceps Brachii Medial Head

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Upper Arms / Posterior

      Muscle group: Triceps

  4. These muscles can be used intentionally as antagonists, only in slow movements on the return phase. Meaning, they don't have to be used and in some cases can't be used. If the exercise allows you to drop to the start position you can choose to use them if you perform it slowly, for example from overhead to racking, and from overhead into backswing is a good example of where it would not be possible to slow down.

    1. Deltoid Posterior Head

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Shoulder / Posterior

      Muscle group: Deltoids

    2. Latissimus Dorsi

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Back

    3. Teres Major
  5. Agonists and synergists are combined under the umbrella of prime-movers.

    1. Biceps Brachii Long Head

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Upper Arms / Anterior

      Muscle group: Biceps Brachii

    2. Biceps Brachii Short Head

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Upper Arms / Anterior

      Muscle group: Biceps Brachii

    3. Brachialis

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Upper Arms / Anterior

    4. Brachioradialis

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Lower Arms / Posterior

    5. Pronator Teres

      Body Part(s): Upper Body / Arms / Lower Arms / Anterior

Exercise Variations

Exercise variation(s) that are based upon this exercise:

  • Bottoms-Up Press View
    • Double Kettlebell Bottoms-Up Press
      Loaded Exercise Variation
  • Kettlebell Rear Shoulder Press View
  • Kettlebell Strict Press View
    • Double Kettlebell Strict Shoulder Press
      Loaded Exercise Variation
  • Single Kettlebell Shoulder Press Front View
  • Spinal Press View
    • Kettlebell Spinal Press Extension
      Loaded Exercise Variation
    • Kettlebell Spinal Press Lateral
      Loaded Exercise Variation
    • Kettlebell Spinal Press Rotational
      Loaded Exercise Variation

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