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Kettlebell Get your grip ... great article and a question

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
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Nate

If you want to post a picture of your hand I will try to help.

Key is to not try to force the position—just bring the hands up and allow the hand/wrist to be in a natural position.
Then look at the overall direction/position.
"tilted" to the pinkie side = ulnar
"straight up" = neutral
"tilted" to the thumb side = radial
 

renegadenate

Level 6 Valued Member
Not sure if I did
Nate

If you want to post a picture of your hand I will try to help.

Key is to not try to force the position—just bring the hands up and allow the hand/wrist to be in a natural position.
Then look at the overall direction/position.
"tilted" to the pinkie side = ulnar
"straight up" = neutral
"tilted" to the thumb side = radial
Not sure if I did it right, but this is my left hand.
 

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Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
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Nate,

Open hand pic looks like a slight ulnar deviation with the thumb being "middle" to high in the hand.

Closed fist looks like you change the position to more neutral (even erring toward a slight radial position).
Maybe "flexing" the wrist a bit and squeezing the grip?

I would try the neutral grip recommendations with the handle angled along (parallel but deeper) the callouses.

Thoughts?
 

renegadenate

Level 6 Valued Member
Nate,

Open hand pic looks like a slight ulnar deviation with the thumb being "middle" to high in the hand.

Closed fist looks like you change the position to more neutral (even erring toward a slight radial position).
Maybe "flexing" the wrist a bit and squeezing the grip?

I would try the neutral grip recommendations with the handle angled along (parallel but deeper) the callouses.

Thoughts?
Thanks! I'll see if that's different from how I currently press and if it makes a difference.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
Yes.

For the kettlebell military press, one generally sees two "grooves," those who press straight up and those who "open the door" (meaning the elbow moves more out to the side than the straight up groove). If your groove is what most of us do, with the elbow moving out to the side a bit, we generally advice maintaining a neutral spinal posture; if you press straight up to the front, then the movement is a bit more like a barbell military press and some thoracic extension would seem to make sense. Personally, I can only execute the straight-up groove with a light weight, and it doesn't feel like to me like what most people will do once the weight gets heavy.

-S-

I've always wondered what caused this difference in groove, whether it was a skeletal frame difference or just motor patterning.

FWIW, I'm a straight upper.
 

Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
I do puzzle allot over groove in the press.

Different paths feel easier than others on different days.

I practice press in 3 ways and I haven't found a favorite yet.

1. I press straight up off the last shelf palm forward soonest, and elbow stays out. Right now this seems to be easiest, more often tham not.

2. I press out of the rack with my elbow opening from in front of my chest till I get the palm facing forward at the top of the rep. The elbow naturally retreats to the side as the wrist corkscrews up. This has a close resemblance to the main dish in 'victorious'

3. And when I handle my lighter bells sometimes I press with the elbow kept forward of the chest as long as I can till it resolves at the top . With heavier bells this demands about 45 degree angle press away from the body, a la 'victorious', away from myself through the sticking point.

This last one Stresses out my shoulders and reminds me of how some body builders will move in such a way to max out leverage and put more work than necessary on the musculature. It's something I did by accident one day, and I use it on purpose with my 24kg bell when things feel too light and boring.
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
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Press groove is individual and can be influenced by multiple factors:
Structure—length of the humorous and/or forearm, structure of the glenoid, acromion (Type II or III etc.)
Injury history—I have a different pressing groove on my left arm from an SC joint injury from a car accident in high school.
Mobility—t-spine, scapular control etc.

The bottom up press and the active negative (one arm band pulldown for example) are both useful for finding the individual groove.

Adachi—video of the different pressing grooves you are referring to would be helpful but I would avoid the ones that stress the shoulder.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Elite Certified Instructor
@Brett Jones, thank you very much - your experience and expertise goes under-appreciated around here far too often!

Question: I have a theory that people who come to the kettlebell military press from a background that strengthened anterior shoulder muscles more than posterior ones will tend to choose the straight up groove because that's what their strengths favor. I ask in part just because I'm curious, but also because one "assistance" exercise I've used to help my military press is using the "wrong" groove for me, which is straight up to the front, with lighter weights, and I think - although I can't say I can prove this - that it helped strengthen my press in my own groove. This is the same reason I DL sumo in training some of the time even though I pull conventional in competition.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

-S-
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
@Brett Jones, thank you very much - your experience and expertise goes under-appreciated around here far too often!

Question: I have a theory that people who come to the kettlebell military press from a background that strengthened anterior shoulder muscles more than posterior ones will tend to choose the straight up groove because that's what their strengths favor. I ask in part just because I'm curious, but also because one "assistance" exercise I've used to help my military press is using the "wrong" groove for me, which is straight up to the front, with lighter weights, and I think - although I can't say I can prove this - that it helped strengthen my press in my own groove. This is the same reason I DL sumo in training some of the time even though I pull conventional in competition.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

-S-

Maybe?

But I do a lot of behind the neck work for snatch and jerk lock out reasons, which puts your arms behind your ears and a lot of the supporting load on your upper back, and I still go straight up (with wrist cork screw). But this could just be because going straight up and holding the weight 'with your back' is the optimal bar path for a jerk and that's my what I'm trained and adapted for.

62_Funky_Lockout_Blues_Fixing_The_Jerk.jpg



On the other side, I see plenty of physique guys doing arms out on dumbbell presses, I think because they're trying to hit their medial delts more. And their starting rack position isn't even on the front.

seated-dumbbell-shoulder-press.jpg
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
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Steve,

Thank you

RE: your question
Training a "different style" of press or DL or....can be an effective strategy as long as that different style doesn't overload/challenge the structures in a way that creates damage, pain etc.

I prefer using the presses through the Get-up as a way to hit a variety of angles and press grooves.
Your Multipurpose Strength Tool (aka the Get-up) | StrongFirst
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
3. And when I handle my lighter bells sometimes I press with the elbow kept forward of the chest as long as I can till it resolves at the top . With heavier bells this demands about 45 degree angle press away from the body, a la 'victorious', away from myself through the sticking point.

Interesting.

My KB press motor pattern is probably engrained by barbell work, where you have to move your body around the bar, instead of the bell around the body.

When I do KB presses, the torso/arm angle change happens from me moving my torso/head 'through the window' -- which isn't even necessary with KBs.
 

Árpád Csillik

Level 4 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
@Brett Jones , thank you again for this article. I really couldn't decide which hand structure I have.
Uploaded two video: the first one looking more neutral(?) to me and the second one more ulnar.
What is the main difference what I didn't recognise?
Thank you for your help!
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
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@Árpád Csillik

I would say neutral but with a thumb that is high in the hand so I would go towards the middle of the handle but with the handle angled deeper but parallel to the callouses.

Thoughts?
 

Ben Bradbury

Level 4 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Similar to a few people here, after reading the article a few times I'm struggling to see the differences between the neutral and radial deviations in the pictures of Fabio & Kathy's hands.
From looking at my own I don't think I have a ulnar deviation but I'm not sure which of the other two I tend towards.
I've attached some pictures and a link to a test video, your input (as always) would be greatly received.

 

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Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
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I would say neutral to slightly radial.

Try more centered on the handle (maybe a bit towards the pinkie side—handle parallel (angled) to the callouses.
 

John K

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
@Brett Jones do you think that if we kept our fingers together rather than splayed it could be clearer what our tilt was? When I splay my fingers and do the hand opening, my forefinger points up or slightly towards my thumb, but when I keep my fingers together it looks pretty clearly ulnar (which is what you said it looked like).
 
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