The Kettlebell Military Press is the toughest upper body Kettlebell movement, and also the most important. This exercise trains your shoulders, chest, triceps, and abs, and is a great way to increase overall strength.
Conquer the Military Press, and you will be able to incorporate Kettlebell combination drills into your regimen such as the Clean and Press, and Thruster (Front Squat and Press). These movements will help recruit more muscle, translating into more fat loss and muscle gain.
Learning the Military Press
The military press is a HARD movement. It takes brute strength and perfect technique to press that weight over your head. To learn the military press, I feel that you must first learn the Push Press and Push Jerk.
Of course, people will disagree, but all three movements involve pressing a Kettlebell over your head. The Push Press is the easiest of the three variations, so lets start from there. In fact, I was teaching the Push Press to my new Pupil, Derrick.
I always love training someone new, because it allows me to re-teach myself. Each individual has different issues that they must get over. Some people just can’t tend to keep their back straight.
Well, Derrick is a fast learner, but there were some key issues he had to over come. But before I go over these issues, lets go over a basic tutorial. Chris Lopez shows you how to perform the Military Press:
Fixing Common Issues
So lets go over 3 issues I saw with Derrick’s kettlebell press:
#1 – Using a Stance that’s TOO Narrow
I like to use a stance that’s slightly wider than shoulder width apart. It keeps my body grounded. Just as Chris Lopez stated, the press is a full body movement. Power comes from the bottom up. So, make sure your legs are wide and grounded.
#2: Bending Backwards when Pressing
Another problem I see often is bending backwards when pressing overhead. This problem gets worse as the weight gets heavier. So I like to use a “window” technique I see Crossfitters use. It is also how Olympic Lifters press heavy weight over head.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
So, to explain the window technique, imagine your arm is like a window. As you press the weight over your head, push your head out the window. This protects your lower back and spine.
#3: Not Keeping your Elbows Tucked in
Another mistake that Derrick was making was not keeping his Elbow tucked in when in racked position. So he would start off right, press the weight, but then when returning the weight, it would travel outside his body, just like in a regular shoulder press with dumbbells.
So, think Arnold Press, for those that are familiar with dumbells, instead of dumbbell shoulder press. Your elbows are tucked in close, so that the Kettlebell is resting close against your body.
Here’s another great tutorial where she focuses on keeping your elbows tucked in close:
With Derrick, the problem was returning back to starting position. To fix this, I told him to lean back slightly, and to keep his elbows pointed down. Once he had these mental cues, he was able to nail the technique…well, he’s almost there.
Better then most people I’ll tell you that.
The military press is actually a very technical movement, so your best bet is to practice, practice, practice. To help you with your movements, I recommend grabbing a copy of Chis Lopez’s Kettlebell Revolution program.
There are also lots of great workouts to get you stronger and fitter! Click here to learn more about Kettlebell Revolution.