Form Friday: Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Bottoms Up Kettlebell Shoulder Press

Muscle Groups: Anterior Deltoid, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Subscapularis, Uppper Trpezius


While this move works the shoulder similar to the traditional shoulder press, it also places great emphasis on the shoulder stabilizing muscles of the rotator cuff due to the instability provided by the inversion of the kettlebell. This instability also helps you identify your strongest and most stable overhead pressing position, or the path of least resistance. This will provide carry-over to your dumbbell or barbell overhead press. This can be done single arm or with both.

Proper Form:

  • Get the kettlebell in a bottoms-up position (the bottom of the kettlebell should be facing the ceiling, with all of the weight below you knuckles rather than above)
  • Move your arm(s) out laterally into a comfortable overhead pressing position, maintaining the bottoms up position
  • Keeping your elbow directly beneath the kettlebell, drive the kettlebell straight up; always stabilizing and maintaining the bottoms-up position
  • Once your arm reaches the locked-out position, pause for a second before beginning your descent
  • In a slow and controlled manner, lower the kettlebell back to the start position while keeping it balanced and maintaining the bottoms-up position
  • Once reaching your start position, repeat the press 


  • Keep your elbow directly under the kettlebell during the entire movement to help balance in the bottoms-up position
  • Keep a tight grip on the handle of the kettlebell
  • Experiment with multiple pressing paths to find your strongest, most stable path

Sample Workout:

  •     Bottoms-up kettlebell press x10
  •     Turkish Get-ups (R)x5
  •     Turkish Get-ups (L)x5

    3-5 rounds