How To Do Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press Properly

Bottoms up kettlebell press is a great routine to build shoulder strength and mobility.

The challenge of keeping the kettlebell upside down will teach you how to tighten your core and become better in the press.

However, being that it is a simple exercise, you should be very keen on your body form. Before you decide to grab a kettlebell and begin pressing, it is important to pay attention to your movement.

The way you hold the kettlebell and your positioning is important to make sure you are getting the most out of this routine. Below, we have broken down things you need to consider.

BOTTOMS UP KETTLEBELL PRESS TIPS TO CONSIDER

DO NOT FLARE YOUR ELBOWS

Avoid flared elbows at all costs. While doing the bottoms up kettlebell press, think about keeping the bell right in front of you, and having your upper arm in front of your body.

This will let you drive the bell up smoothly, and it will help you maintain a vertical forearm, too.

KEEP YOUR CORE TIGHT

Arching your back and flaring your rib cage effectively changes the angle of the press so subtly and depending on how big your arch is, it may shift the focus of the exercise from your shoulders to your chest.

The aim here is to build your shoulders, and the way to reinforce this is by keeping your ribcage tight to your body.

To achieve this, you need to squeeze your abs tight.

Performing the bottoms up press from a half-kneeling stance can also help, and it will help protect your lower back, too.

MAINTAIN A VERTICAL FOREARM

This is not only important in bottoms up kettlebell press but also a helpful tip in other press variations.

The bottoms up kettlebell press will however force you to be stricter with your form in order to maintain the control of the bell.

You will notice this first in your forearm positioning. Especially as you press heavier weights on this routine, you will find that you must own a vertical forearm.

By keeping your wrist stacked directly above your elbow, you’re more able to balance the kettlebell easily. Aim for a vertical forearm, both when you are driving the bell up and when you are bringing it down.

HOW TO DO THE BOTTOMS UP KETTLEBELL PRESS PROPERLY

Basically, the bottoms-up position refers to a kettlebell being held vertically by the handle with the bottom of the kettlebell facing up and the handle on the bottom, hence the name “bottoms up.”

Although it might earn you a few stares at the gym, the bottoms-up position packs a serious punch.

Here is how to do the exercise with the proper technique.

  • Hold a light kettlebell and position it onto your shoulder in a bottoms-up position.
  • The bell should be facing up and the handle down.
  • Ensure that you grip the kettlebell tightly, and keep your elbow close to your body as the bottoms up position will immediately create an unstable weight.
  • Brace your core, squeeze your glutes, and focus on keeping the kettlebell very still before beginning the exercise. Doing this will activate all the surrounding muscles of your shoulder joint.
  • Begin pressing the kettlebell directly overhead until your elbow is locked out.
  • Don’t worry if your first lifts are a bit shaky, your body will naturally find the path of most stability, ensuring that your technique is correct.
  • Slowly lower the weight. Continue to perform for the desired number of repetitions.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES BOTTOMS UP KETTLEBELL PRESS WORK?

Multiple muscles go to work to pull off the bottoms up kettlebell press as it is one of the big compound lifts that will work the shoulders, triceps, traps, abs and more.

If you want to build big broad shoulders then this routine is a must do exercise. Below are the muscles it works.

DELTOIDS

The prime mover is the anterior deltoid, or the front of the cap-like deltoid muscle that sits where your upper arm meets your torso.

The movement known as shoulder abduction (moving your upper arm up) away from your body is one of its key jobs.

Your medial or lateral deltoid, the middle portion of the same cap-like muscle, also helps with this movement.

CORE

When doing bottoms up kettlebell press the core is engaged to keep the body stabilized in an upright position. Compared to the other main compound lifts of bench press, squats and deadlift, this exercise stimulates the abs more.

TRICEPS

To press the weight up over our heads the triceps are activated. The long head, lateral head and medial head of the triceps are put to work. However, to target all three heads of the triceps you’re better off doing isolation exercises such as overhead extensions or skull crushers.

BENEFITS OF BOTTOMS UP KETTLEBELL PRESS

Teaches you the importance of keeping your core and glutes braced, which is a technique that you must learn for all compound exercises.

Significantly improves your pressing technique as you perform a repetition.

Strengthens and improves the stability of the deltoid muscles and the rotator cuff, which is useful for someone undergoing rehab.

Easy to perform, and it requires minimal coaching.

The instability of the load will require you to recruit many more muscle fibres which will help to strengthen the rotator cuff muscle.

ALTERNATIVES TO BOTTOMS UP KETTLEBELL PRESS

OVERHEAD PRESS

The overhead press is an essential movement that strengthens shoulder position when reaching overhead. This movement serves as a great pre-facilitation exercise to maintain healthy shoulders.

STANDING DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

The standing dumbbell overhead press is a very close variation to the bottoms up kettlebell press which allows for a more natural range of motion of the shoulders.

COMMON BOTTOMS UP KETTLEBELL PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID

Avoid ego lifting as this could lead to unnecessary strains to the targeted muscles.

Avoid gripping the weights loosely as this could cause it to fall off and injure your head.

CONCLUSION

It is almost impossible to do the bottoms up kettlebell press incorrectly. Any deviation from perfect technique will simply cause the weight to become unstable and prevent you from performing a repetition.