Why The Double Kettlebell Push Press

by Aaron Pierson on June 12, 2014


Aaron Pierson performs a double kettlebell push press.

The double kettlebell push press may easily be one of the most under-used skills when it comes to training clients. In many circles it’s become known as the “cheater” press or the equivalent to a kipping pull up. For some individuals the push press may not always translate over to a stronger strict press and because of that, many people feel it’s a skill not worth working on.

Most people would agree that the best way to improve a strict press is to work the strict press on a regular basis. What about those who are not concerned with max strength or those who have a history of shoulder injuries? How about the athlete who needs to focus on strength endurance or power rather than raw strength? For those people, the push press may be the perfect answer.

The push press and the strict press have similarities. Both require an appropriate degree of shoulder mobility as well as core and shoulder stability. However the push press offers many qualities the strict press does not offer.

  1. The push press allows a heavier working weight and/or higher repetitions. Consider a person working the strict press with a basic ladder of 3 x (1-2-3-4-5) for a total of 45 reps with double 24kg kettlebell. That same person can nearly triple the amount of work completed with the same weight using the push press ladders of 3 x (2-4-6-8-10).
  2. Another benefit often forgotten about with the push press is the utilization of the legs. Instead of initiating the movement from the upper body, the push press utilizes the legs as it’s driving force. Add a clean between each push press and you have a very powerful full-body workout.
  3. The third piece the push press can offer is shoulder protection for those with a history of shoulder problems. Obviously this is dependent on shoulder mobility and injury history but let’s face it, not everybody is built to overhead press. In this case the push press may be the better alternative considering it bypasses the most risky part of the overhead press.

When building a program for yourself or clients, keep the big picture goal in mind. If the goal is to improve GPP, lose weight, increase muscle mass or increase power, the double kettlebell push press should be considered a top candidate for exercise selection.

About Aaron Pierson RKC Team Leader: Aaron has been apart of the RKC since 2010. He currently works full time as an EMT and owns Fundamental Strength in Fort Collins, Colorado. He can be reached at aaron@fundamentalstrengthllc.com or by visiting www.fundamentalstrengthllc.com

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