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One Arm Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Press

If you are having problems with pressing overhead or recovering from a shoulder injury, the 1 Arm bottoms up kettle bell press might be a better alternative for your shoulder health. There are various reasons why a shoulder is not able to go into full shoulder flexion. The shoulder is a very complex joint consisting of many parts. It is the most mobile joint making it more prone to injury. Factors such as joint capsule, soft tissue restrictions, motor control, rotator cuff strength, shoulder alignment and thoracic spine can all impair and limit full shoulder flexion.


The benefit of doing the 1 Arm Bottoms ups Kettle Bell Press is that it addresses more of the common reasons related to shoulder pathologies. Rotator cuff strength and shoulder alignment to be more specific.

  1. The position of the kettle bell with bottoms up creates an external pressure on the shoulder. This external pressure cues and activates the rotator cuff muscles to a stronger degree to stabilize the humeral head in the glenoid fossa.
  2. The angle of the shoulder and arm position is in a scapular plane allowing smoother motion between the scapula and the thoracic ribs.
  3. The increase reliance on grip to hold the KB in a bottoms up position activates the rotator cuff muscles at a higher degree.


The exercise starts with the athlete/patient in a seated position or a half kneel position. The first progression to this exercise is to hold the kettlebell in a bottoms up position. This position should be held for 10-15 seconds before the KB is pressed up. Below is a video of the setup. The elbow is held 45 degrees to the body.


The next progression would be to press the KB up. The bottom of the KB stays faced up throughout the entire motion. Below is a video of the exercise preformed. Perform sets of 10-15 repetitions.


Khanh Vy, R.Kin CAT(C), CSCS

Toronto Certified Athletic Therapist | Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach

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