Master the kettlebell shoulder press

Kettlebell swing

The shoulder press is a very effective upper body exercise that specifically works the shoulder through a good range of motion and increases shoulder stability and mobility.

It is essential before using this exercise that you are competent with the kettlebell clean and able to achieve a solid 'rack' position as the shoulder press requires a strong foundation and solid setup.

Muscles used during the shoulder press

With all dynamic kettlebell exercises there is a demand for large muscle recruitment.

Below are the specific lower body muscles used during the kettlebell shoulder press.

Muscles used in kettlebell swing

Coaching points for the shoulder press

Start with the kettlebell in a strong 'racked' position with the feet well grounded. Press the kettlebell up vertically, keeping the forearm vertical and the wrist fixed throughout.

Straighten the arm with the palm of the hand facing forwards. Stabilise the shoulder and contract the triceps so the arm is straight. Lower the kettlebell under control and pull it back into the 'racked' position.

How it should be executed

To be able to execute the shoulder press correctly, it needs to be broken down into the ascending and descending phases. 

See how its should be performed in this demonstration video which we have broken down into the two phases.

Common mistakes

The shoulder press is a dynamic exercise which has many benefits once executed correctly, however with lack of practice or poor execution then injury can occur.

When performing the shoulder press make sure that you avoid:

Spinal hyperextension.

Locked elbow.

Locked knees and hips.

Extended arm drifting from ear.

Alternative exercises

Once you are comfortable with the single handed shoulder press you may wish to progress and try the following alternative exercises which are slightly more challenging;

Double press.

Alternative press.

Sitting press.

Soft press.



Download our free kettlebell exercise guide.

Download our free booklet here, explaining exactly how to complete the 7 different fundamental kettlebell exercises which will be a great addition to your or your clients workouts.



Would you like to become a kettlebell instructor? We deliver online and face to face courses, to become level 2 qualified through our Active IQ qualifications.

If you would like to enrol onto our next course or find out more information about our course click here