By Doug Fioranelli
Let’s shift gears in our Hardstyle Kettlebell Series pivoting from our dynamic kettlebell swing back to a more traditional strength training movement; the Overhead or Military Press. Much like we went over in the deadliftand squat, the overhead press is a great movement to build strength and it complements well with the kettlebell.
Traditionally the overhead press is done with a barbell or dumbbells; however, the kettlebell can provide a different, and even advantageous, way to get the most benefit out of the exercise.
Proper Set Up and Patterning:
Most overhead pressing variations with the kettlebell start from the rack position which we discussed in our hardstyle squat series. Though the rack position does make the weight sit lower on the body, thus making the overhead pressing range of motion more than that with a barbell or dumbbell, it also makes for a safer starting platform where you can rest the weight if necessary. Traditionally with the barbell or dumbbells, it is difficult to rest the weight at the bottom near the body because of the positioning of the weight itself. The kettlebells can be supported neatly and close to the body making it much more comfortable to rest in the rack position.
Kettlebell overhead pressing may also be a potentially safer form of overhead pressing due to the nature of how the weight sits in-connection against the lifter’s forearm and the ability to make small, safer adjustments while pressing overhead. With the barbell, where the hands and arms are fixed, it is nearly impossible to slightly adjust the path of the weight overhead to compensate for shoulder mobility limitations. Although dumbbells allow for independent movement of the shoulders during the lifts, with weight distribution of bells being up high and on either side, the adjustments could send the weight in an unfavorable direction and cause an injury in an extreme case.
For pressing success it’s important to start with a good rack position and ground connection. Both of which are essential for stability and strength production during this lift. Here are the steps to perform a proper Hardstyle Overhead Kettlebell Press:
Read more below and watch the full demonstration below!