If you like the kettlebell chest press then check out my Kettlebell Moves page for a lot more exercises!
Kettlebell Chest Press
The kettlebell chest press is a great way to build size and strength in your chest muscles. This exercise is every bit as effective as dumbbell presses, plus with the addition of the off-centered balance of the kettlebell, requires additional recruitment of the stabilizer muscles of the shoulder.
Detractors will suggest that this exercise is not as effective because you don’t get the full range of motion since your arms can only lower as deep as the ground allows. However, limiting the range of motion in this exercise to 90 degrees is a lot more gentle on the muscles of the rotator cuff. With the lessened range of motion, you might find that you can do heavier weights than you might normally use from a bench.
There are two methods of performing the kettlebell chest press, unilateral and double (bilateral). Neither one is necessarily better than the other, but training your body in different ways is best for overall fitness. Not all activities of daily life require only unilateral or bilateral movements, but rather a combination of both.
Unilateral Chest Press
Doing a unilateral kettlebell chest press requires greater effort from the core to prevent the body from turning towards the weighted side. Doing unilateral exercises is a great way to reveal any weakness or deficiencies that you might have in one side of your body vs the other.
Double Chest Press
Performing a double kettlebell chest press (bilateral press) allows you to use both sides of your body evenly. You might find that you can press more weight in this method.
- Roll to your side with the kettlebell on the floor in front of your chest and shoulder. Firmly grip the handle and use your arm as a fulcrum lever to lift the kettlebell off the ground as you roll to your backside.
- Extend the arm holding the kettlebell straight and press the kettlebell so that it’s held over your shoulder.
- For support and stability, bend the knee and plant the sole of your foot into the ground on the same side that you are holding the kettlebell.
- Lower your triceps side of your arm to the ground with the elbow in the range of 45 to 90 degrees of the shoulder. Once the triceps touches the ground, your upper arm and forearm should be at a 90 degree angle with each other.
- Extend your arm straight and press the kettlebell back over the shoulder.
- With kettlebells on each side of your body, grab the handles and use your core strength to lower yourself down to your backside. Use your forearms as fulcrum levers and the weight of your upper body to lift the kettlebells off the floor.
- Extend the arms straight and press the kettlebells up over your shoulders.
- Bend the knees and plant the soles of your feet on the ground.
- Lower your triceps side of your arms to the ground with the elbows in the range of 45 to 90 degrees of the shoulders. Once the triceps touches the ground, your upper arms and forearms should be at a 90 degree angle with each other.
- Extend your arms straight and press the kettlebells back over the shoulders.
Give both of these methods a shot and let me know what you think in the comments section below. Remember, whenever you lift kettlebells (or any type of weight) over your head, never go to failure!
Be smart, be safe, and kick ass!