Off-Season Training: Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Press for Shoulder Stability and Strength [ARTICLE]

Off-Season Training: Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Press for Shoulder Stability and Strength

By: Lindsey Smith - Moxie Strength & Nutrition

Originally Published in: Coaching Volleyball

Provided by / Copyright: American Volleyball Coaches Association

The purpose of this drill is to train outside the standard, straight path overhead press with the kettlebell to increase muscle recruitment, shoulder stability and athleticism.

Shoulder strengthening exercises are crucial to any athlete's training program; however, the conventional overhead pressing movements are not always safe for athletes - especially if the athlete's back arches when their arms move overhead, which signifies limited external rotation capabilities.

Think of the shoulder as a spiral, diagonal rotational joint - in other words, it likes to move in rotation and not necessarily fixed into a straight path like a barbell is going to force it to do. This is why I like to introduce the kettlebell for overhead pressing. The kettlebell press, specifically the bottoms-up kettlebell press, is unlike a normal barbell or dumbbell press because of the offset nature of the kettlebell.

Here are two variations of the kettlebell shoulder press that are safe for all athletes - the Bottoms-up Kettlebell Press and the Standard (external rotation) Kettlebell Press.

Bottoms Up Kettlebell Shoulder Press

1. Assume athletic position, grasp kettlebell by the handle with the round part of the weight pointing upward, or in an inverted position (upside down). Holding the kettlebell in an upside-down position forces stabilization of the core musculature to prevent the kettlebell from flopping or changing position.

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2. Hold the handle with a strong grip to prevent the kettlebell from falling to the side. Gripping recruits the rotator cuff and fires up all the shoulder's small stabilizing muscles.

3. Slowly and controlled, press the kettlebell up until your arm is fully extended.

4. Slowly return to the starting position - that is one rep. Athletes can perform the bottoms-up kettlebell press single or double arm, as well as standing or taking a split stance on one knee. If you want to take this even further you can make it a functional exercise by adding a reverse lung to press.

Think of this as a two-for-one bonus exercise because the athlete is getting a great shoulder stability workout and the rotator cuff has to work overtime to counteract the force of the kettlebell.

Standard (External Rotation) Kettlebell Shoulder Press

1. Assume athletic position, grasp kettlebell by the handle with the round part of the weight resting on the forearm.

2. Hold the handle with a strong grip to prevent the kettlebell from changing positions.

3. Slowly and controlled, press the kettlebell up until your arm is fully extended, allowing external rotation (or for the palm to face away from the body).

4. Slowly return to the starting position - that is one rep.

Similar to the bottoms-up press, but here you are going to see more of that spiral,diagonal rotation towards the top of the movement. The additional weight of the bell helps produce an external rotational force, which has to be countered by internal rotational force - in other words, the sub-scapular firing up to keep the humeral head down in the socket where it belongs, which is great for injury prevention.

Perform exercise for desired number of reps and sets that align with goals; I recommend 10 reps per arm x 3 sets.

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03 May 2017


By AVCA
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