How To Do Kettlebell Shoulder Press Properly

The kettlebell shoulder press or the military press is an essential addition to your workout routine that helps build strong shoulders, upper arms and the upper-back.

In today’s fast-paced world, a lot of automation has been seen in almost every aspect of our lives however, there are certain activities that still require our muscle strength regardless. For instance, on board a plane for a flight, lifting hand luggage into the overhead lockers is an essential skill that requires no prior preparation.

It’s therefore important that you build up strength in the upper body (shoulders, and upper arms) in order to push up such weights off the ground.

The Kettlebell shoulder press ensures that each side of your shoulders grow equally strong. It’s a great addition to your general strength training.

HOW IS THE KETTLEBELL SHOULDER PRESS PERFORMED?

Here’s how to do it:

Kettlebells vary in weight, it’s important that you choose the one that you feel is comfortable, especially for beginners, so as to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your shoulders. Start with a kettlebell that is between 4 to 12 kilograms in weight.

  • Step 1: Get a wide and open space. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step 2: Grip a kettlebell in one hand and place it on your shoulder. Grasp the kettlebell’s handle, and position it, upside down such that it is pointing upwards, towards the ceiling. Keep the kettlebell steady throughout.
  • Step 3: Press your arm straight up, extending your elbow. Ensure that you keep your wrist perfectly straight.
  • Step 4: Cautiously bend your elbow and lower the kettlebell back to shoulder height. Do this for at least 8-10 reps for 2-3 sets.
  • Switch sides with the other arm and repeat the above steps. Continuously breathe in and out to maintain proper oxygen flow.
  • Visit the link to view a simple demo on the workout.

WHAT MUSCLE GROUPS DOES KETTLEBELL SHOULDER PRESS WORK?

The exercise targets the following muscle groups:

DELTOIDS (SHOULDER MUSCLES)

The deltoids are the largest shoulder muscles. These are large triangular muscles that cover the glenohumeral joint and give the shoulder the rounded-off shape.

The muscles stretch across the shoulder from the clavicle, to the scapula in the back.

Their main functions include raising the arm, assisting the pectoralis muscle in the chest and prevents joint dislocation when a person carries heavy objects.

TRICEPS (ARM MUSCLES)

Triceps are major muscles located in the upper arm in the human body. They run along the humerus (main bone in the upper arm) and between the shoulder and the elbow.

The triceps enable the extension and retraction of the forearm along with the biceps. In addition, the triceps also stabilize the shoulder joint at the top of the humerus.

TRAPEZIUS (BACK MUSCLES)

Trapezius muscle forms one of the widest back muscles. They are broad muscle bands that provide the upright posture support.

The muscles and semispinalis capitis muscles create a muscle column along the back portion of the neck.

The muscles are a postural and active movement muscle used to tilt and turn the head and neck, steady the shoulders and twist the arms.

BENEFITS OF KETTLEBELL SHOULDER PRESS

The exercise has numerous benefits to the overall upper-body training. They include:

IT ACTIVATES MOST OF THE BODY MUSCLES

Pushing the weight (kettlebell) upwards, especially with one hand, requires total body effort. The shoulder press tenses up the core and protects the shoulders, giving them more power as you push the weight up from behind your lats.

Different muscles groups get involved in the upward movement to counter the resistance generated by the kettlebell and consequentially building more muscle strength.

IMPROVES MOBILITY

The Kettlebell constantly pulls away from the body due to the spherical design. This pulling away movement creates tension and resistance on the muscles.

The pulling away builds muscle strength when the body fights to overcome the resistance generated.

In addition, it improves the shoulder range of motion and hence the overall upper-body mobility.

IMPROVES COORDINATION, BALANCE FLEXIBILITY

The kettlebell shoulder press requires a great deal of focus, coordination, and balance to get the exercise right.

The presses stretch your shoulders when they are “locked out” with the weight overhead. This gives the shoulder, arms, back and core abdominal muscles a good stretch.

Repeated sets build up great body coordination, balance, and flexibility over time.

ALTERNATIVES TO KETTLEBELL SHOULDER PRESS

There are great alternatives to the exercise, such as:

DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS

The dumbbell shoulder press is great alternative to the kettlebell shoulder press.

It adds a slightly neutral grip which alleviates a little shoulder discomfort and feels a little easier.

Moreover, the dumbbells increase the shoulder stability required.

Z-PRES

Z-Press is an overhead press performed while sitting on the floor with your legs straight on the floor.  Z-Press isolate your shoulders to a greater extent.

MACHINE SHOULDER PRESS

Machine shoulder press is a basic version of the overhead press. When performing it, you can follow the machine’s fixed bar path.

Machine shoulder press enables you to maintain constant tension on the shoulder muscles throughout the workout.

KETTLEBELL SHOULDER PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID

To achieve the maximum effect from the workout then you have to avoid the following:

AVOID PRESSING UPWARDS WITH YOUR WRIST BENT

Avoid bending your wrist while you press the kettlebell upwards. As this reduces the tension build up and thus decreasing the overall effect of the workout.

Maintaining correct position of the kettlebell i.e., the handle of the bell and the wrist stack up vertically, is essential in building up tension in the muscles and therefore building up strength.

AVOID HEAVY KETTLEBELL WEIGHTS ESPECIALLY AT THE STAR

Kettlebells vary in weight. It’s therefore essential to work out with a weight that feels comfortable to avoid strains or unnecessary injuries.

Stick to a kettlebell weight that is comfortable (manageable weight), and build up your capacity with press variations, and more volumes.

CONCLUSION

Kettlebell Shoulder press is a simple home workout exercise that can be done right at the comfort of your home or at the gym.

It’s worth noting that the overhead press with a heavy iron is not a risk-free venture. Train cautiously and preferably work with a certified trainer to ensure that the workout routine is done properly.

Most importantly, consistency is key in achieving your gym goals. Be sure to keep a consistent track record on your workout routine to achieve the best effect on the target muscles.