Kettlebell press

Kettlebell Press

The Kettlebell Press is one of the best exercises you can do for well defined, strong and mobile shoulders. Unfortunately the kettlebell press can also be cause for a host of shoulder problems. When it comes to injury I believe there are two main reasons as I spoke about in my article here There are two main reasons someone gets injured, the first is that the trainer is a cowboy and has no idea what they’re doing or it’s the opposite and the participant does not listen to the qualified trainer.”.

Following are some common rules that I consider most important for injury prevention as covered in our book Master The Kettlebell Press:

  • Use common sense (this one is hard to beat!)
  • Progress safely, wisely and step-by-step
  • Check your ego at the door
  • If the weight is too heavy, regress to a lower weight
  • If the exercise is too complicated, regress to an easier version
  • If you don’t understand it, stop and ask
  • If it doesn’t feel right, stop
  • When fatigued, rest; this applies both during a set and in overall training
  • Getting out a last rep is great, but not at the expense of your body—if you can’t maintain proper form, either rest, lower the weight or don’t do it

What is using common sense? Common sense is having a good sense and sound judgement in practical matters. Huh, I hear you say! I agree, but you’ll still see some too proud newbies going for that heavy weight and get it above their head whether it’s going to cost their shoulders or not. You’ll still see someone performing a complicated move that takes months to progress to. They’re not using their common sense and did not check their ego at the door.

Progression is taking it step by step, breaking complicated presses down into the most basic variation and slowly over time start adding to it.

Checking your ego at the door means that you think about your body and safety first, not the amount of reps or weight you can press.

Regression is where you or your trainer made a wrong calculation on weight, reps or technique you can perform without issues, and you then regress to a lower weight, less reps or easier version of the exercise. A good example is the kettlebell side press, an easier version and good regression to this is the bent side press and then the hybrid press.


How does injury occur? The following are the most common errors in technique that can cause injury:

  • Using the back to press the weight
  • Pressing a weight that’s too heavy
  • No lock-out
  • Hyperextending the shoulder in lock-out
  • Hyperextending the elbow
  • Pressing in angles that the body is not conditioned for yet
  • Bending the wrist
  • Pressing too fast
  • Hyperextending the elbow
  • Uncontrolled drop

Apart from technique, there are several secondary causes for injury, including but not limited to:

  • Overuse/overtraining
  • Structural abnormalities
  • Tight muscles/immobility
  • Excessive force against muscles or joints
  • Over-stretching muscles

The kettlebell press is an amazing exercise that has so many variations that it deserved it’s own book, check it out if you’re interested to know about more than 100+ kettlebell press variations. We’ve broken the kettlebell press down into:

  • Angle at which you’re pressing
  • The stance and position of the support base (your body)
  • Momentum used
  • Speed at which your pressing
  • Time under tension
  • Duration of pressing
  • Number of repetitions
  • Weight of resistance
  • Balancing resistance
  • Weight distribution / grip on weight

We’ve covered things about the kettlebell press in extremely fine details like racking, tension, breathing, progression, overhead lock-out and even the drop.

If you’re into pressing, wanting to get into pressing, looking for variations to add to your own training or group classes then this is the book you want to get for yourself. Check out our facebook page dedicated to the kettlebell press and join in with the others, submit photos and videos of you or your clients kettlebell pressing and share information on the kettlebell press.

You can buy the ebook in our Cavemantraining shop, the kindle or print version can be purchased on Amazon.

If you want to be in the running to get the book for free, add yourself on the list here and every month we’ll draw a lucky winner from the whole list who will receive the book for free.

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