Exercise to Make You More Awesome: Kettlebell Floor Press

I think I've found my twin....No?

I think I've found my twin....No?

One of the many great things about where I work is that I'm surrounded by kettlebells (and other, large heavy things) all day long.  Aside from being in my own personal playground, it probably comes as no surprise that I'm constantly trying to think of ways to use them that will get my clients stronger.  In fact, feel free to think of me as a mix of Ivan Drago from Rocky 4 and a mad scientist.

Having said all of that, I wanted to share my latest solution to making people strong: the Kettlebell Floor Press.

(Beware: epic post looming)

So, why in the world am I so hot on this exercise?  There are actually quite a few reasons which I'll explain after the video (and that's 40 kg or 88 pounds, in the clip).

As you can see, all you need is a Kettlebell (or you could use a dumbbell) and a floor.  And, when you have a set of bros hogging the bench press on Mondays, it's a great, lower impact variation to receive a training stimulus.

First off, pressing from the floor is terrific option for many people as it's a lot more shoulder friendly.  Since you cut down the range of motion as opposed to performing presses on a bench, there's a better risk/reward as you avoid the last few degrees of humeral extension. 

Next, going with the one arm (or, in nerd speak, unilateral) press offers a ton of core stability you wouldn't receive from a two handed press (think push ups, bench press).  Now, it's important to clarify that stability does NOT equal strength.  Stability simply means the ability to resist movement.  Watching the video, you can see that I need to have a ton of core stability in order not to have my entire body rotate and crumple over to my left side when I'm pressing the kettlebell (and, on a few reps, I even struggle with keeping everything on the ground).

Don't let this be you..

Don't let this be you..

I also really enjoy the kettlebell option more than the dumbbell simply due to the placement of the weight.  As the majority of the weight on the kettlebell sits on your forearm, it forces you to keep your elbow close to your body instead of flaring your elbow out.  As I said in my last post, flaring the elbows is one of the more common mistakes I see, and it can really put your shoulder in a provocative position.  Any exercise or tool that reinforces a good movement pattern is going to get two thumbs up from me. 

Lastly, the weight on the outside of the hand makes this pressing motion much less stable as it demands more shoulder stability.  While we're training strength with the press, you also need shoulder stability (remember, the ability to resist movement) to make sure the kettlebell doesn't sway and end up on your face.  In fact, you will not be able to press as much with a kettlebell as you would with a dumbbell, but if you're solely obsessed with the amount of weight you pick up, I'd like to suggest that you have larger issues than simply exercise selection.

Moving on to actually performing the exercise, start simply by rolling to one side and pressing the weight up with both hands.  Once again, it all comes back to shoulder safety, and this is by far the easiest way to get it off the ground.  Once you have that weight up in the air, you need to pinch your shoulder blades as far back as you can.  I tell my clients to pretend as if they're trying to hold a penny between their shoulder blades, which helps your shoulder stay packed and will keep it healthy.  From there, simply pull the kettlebell back down to the the floor (as opposed to letting gravity do the work) and press it back up.

So there, you have it.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!