kettlebell bench press (single arm)

marcelotine

Level 4 Valued Member
Hi folks. Can someone suggest any good instructional video for KB bench press?

Also, any suggestions on programming and progression would be appreciated. I'm a beginner weight lifter with no KB experience. I'm looking to supplement my barbell bench press with the KB press or possibly replace it for a bit.

Thanks.
 

barrak

Level 5 Valued Member
Hello,

@marcelotine

Kind regards,

Pet'
I just took your suggestion to the next level by performing the press while lying on a soft 3-ft foam roller along my spine and head.
Even at 50% of working bell size it required plenty of tension and attention.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello,

@marcelotine

Kind regards,

Pet'
Hmmmm....

Let's run the math on "the best kettlebell chest exercise".

"Standard" push up = ~65% bodyweight

100 kg person = 65 kg lifted by a push up / 2 = 32.5 kg per arm

80 kg person = 52 kg lifted by a push up / 2 = 26 kg per arm

60 kg person = 39 kg lifted by a push up / 2 = 19.5 kg per arm


You'd have to be a really light person (like 50 kg) for the 1 arm press with a 16 kg bell to be a harder workout than a standard push up.

And if you're a bigger person, you're going to need some pretty heavy weight bells for it to be better.

As for the instability argument...

If you really want to work instability, gymnastic rings blow this out of the water, and you can do flyes.

Gymnastic rings are waaay cheaper than heavier kettlebells...like $30.
 
Last edited:

natewhite39

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
@marcelotine

IMO the Floor Press is the way to go if you are looking for a horizontal press. Your shoulder will be in an optimal position the entire time and the mechanics follow the same standards as the get-up. This is important for safety if you are testing yourself with a heavy weight.

If you watch the video posted earlier, the guy is preaching "tension, tension, tension" during the lift and then when he is done he has to create all this sloppy momentum with his legs and free arm and perform a curl up off the bench. And he is only using a 16kg. If he had a 48kg what would that look like? You always want to treat every bell the same regardless of the weight. That is the standard.

In my experience, when on a bench dumbbells are a better choice as you can just drop them to your sides after the last rep, greatly decreasing any chance on injuring your shoulder or back while in a fatigued state.
 

marcelotine

Level 4 Valued Member
@marcelotine

IMO the Floor Press is the way to go if you are looking for a horizontal press. Your shoulder will be in an optimal position the entire time and the mechanics follow the same standards as the get-up. This is important for safety if you are testing yourself with a heavy weight.

If you watch the video posted earlier, the guy is preaching "tension, tension, tension" during the lift and then when he is done he has to create all this sloppy momentum with his legs and free arm and perform a curl up off the bench. And he is only using a 16kg. If he had a 48kg what would that look like? You always want to treat every bell the same regardless of the weight. That is the standard.

In my experience, when on a bench dumbbells are a better choice as you can just drop them to your sides after the last rep, greatly decreasing any chance on injuring your shoulder or back while in a fatigued state.
Thank you.i appreciate your input. So would I do essentially the same thing this guy is doing in the video,.except on the floor as opposed to the bench?

Do you do know if any good kettlebell floor press instructional?
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@watchnerd
The OP was about a kb bench press, so I just tried to find a video of it, regardless the efficacy of the move :(

As far as horizontal push goes, if some additional stability is required, I am a great fan of OA push up or OAOL push up (these two can even be performed with feet elevated) or a push up bar to get greater ROM.

A kb bench press done on a swiss ball may also be interesting but I never did it on a regular basis.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
Kettlebell bench presses make more sense with a pair of kettlebells as you'd have less of a hard time staying balanced and could extend the range of motion at the bottom of the movement without being too unstable (you'd want to be able to dump the bells at the end of the set as getting up off the bench could still be tricky). If you're pressing a single bell like the gent in the video, you might as well do it from the floor.

For what it's worth, I used to work on single KB floor presses but that was because I didn't have a bench or a barbell. I'd stick to either barbell bench or floor presses unless I had a specific reason not to do them.
 

Molson

Level 4 Valued Member
Hi folks. Can someone suggest any good instructional video for KB bench press?

Also, any suggestions on programming and progression would be appreciated. I'm a beginner weight lifter with no KB experience. I'm looking to supplement my barbell bench press with the KB press or possibly replace it for a bit.

Thanks.
If it’s for assistance for BB bench, and for shoulder health, you’d probably better using KB for overhead pressing instead. Bottom up in particular, for working on that optimal pressing elbow positioning.

Do you do any other KB lifts? Do you do any other non KB overhead pressing?
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
If it’s for assistance for BB bench, and for shoulder health, you’d probably better using KB for overhead pressing instead.
+1

Ergonomically, kettlebell presses are the best free weight* overhead press, by far.

My shoulders are very high mileage, but I can press 3x a week, at a wide range of intensities and volumes, without issues.


(*the landmine press is 2nd runner up, but loses some points for not being strictly vertical)
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
@watchnerd
The OP was about a kb bench press, so I just tried to find a video of it, regardless the efficacy of the move :(
I know, I'm troublesome that way.... ;)

But I think sometimes it's good to look at the question behind the question, in this case, supplementing the bench press.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
If it’s for assistance for BB bench, and for shoulder health, you’d probably better using KB for overhead pressing instead. Bottom up in particular, for working on that optimal pressing elbow positioning.
I think this is important.

If using KBs to assist BB bench, it's probably not the best use of a KB to closely follow the movement patterns that mimic what the BB bench already uses.

Instead, use the ability of the KB to work more angles to work the shoulders, triceps, and upper chest in related planes of motion that a BB doesn't work.

In a reverse analogy, I use Klokov presses (behind the neck snatch grip barbell shoulder press) to assist my KB OHP because they're related, but not identical, planes of motion that the KB can't work.
 

marcelotine

Level 4 Valued Member
Thank you all for your suggestions and comments. Im currently doing barbell bench press only, and am dealing with some assymetry in pec size. I was advised to use unilateral presses with a DB or KB. I don't have access to dumbbells. I do have a few KBs lying around near me that I can get my hands on but I have never used them before.

I would like to use the KB horizontal press as a supplement to my barbell press.

I'm currently on Faleev's.80/20 beginner progression. Once I get to a point where I need to cycle I night switch the bench press with the overhead press in which case I will definitely look into incorporating some KB OPs as well as I have heard great things about it..
 

NormanOsborn

Level 5 Valued Member
+1

Ergonomically, kettlebell presses are the best free weight* overhead press, by far.

My shoulders are very high mileage, but I can press 3x a week, at a wide range of intensities and volumes, without issues.


(*the landmine press is 2nd runner up, but loses some points for not being strictly vertical)
Agreed. I have rotator cuff issues, particularly with my right shoulder. Kettlebell Clean and Press is pretty much the only overhead pressing I can do.
 

NormanOsborn

Level 5 Valued Member
Hmmmm....

Let's run the math on "the best kettlebell chest exercise".

"Standard" push up = ~65% bodyweight

100 kg person = 65 kg lifted by a push up / 2 = 32.5 kg per arm

80 kg person = 52 kg lifted by a push up / 2 = 26 kg per arm

60 kg person = 39 kg lifted by a push up / 2 = 19.5 kg per arm


You'd have to be a really light person (like 50 kg) for the 1 arm press with a 16 kg bell to be a harder workout than a standard push up.

And if you're a bigger person, you're going to need some pretty heavy weight bells for it to be better.

As for the instability argument...

If you really want to work instability, gymnastic rings blow this out of the water, and you can do flyes.

Gymnastic rings are waaay cheaper than heavier kettlebells...like $30.
You can also increase the difficulty of push ups by elevating your feet, or using variations such as triangle(close grip)push ups.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
I got pretty swole using stacked KBs in each hand and a pair of commercial sandbags for a bench.

Its a lot easier to set up and more effective to just shuck the sandbag on your back and do pushups.

The inability to heavily load a unilateral floor press real limits the effectiveness. And the rotational stability needed to do it is borne mostly by the intercostals once the load gets heavier. I'm not sure what job this is the right tool for.
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
I like doing the 1 arm bottoms up kbell uneven bench press. "Uneven" meaning half your body (pressing side) is hanging off the bench. Try it out.
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
Kettlebell Floor Press is a great exercise for pressing strength.

Especially if you “motor cycle” the bar as you descend. Some benchers bend the wrist and this puts more stress on the shoulder to compensate for weaker triceps.

Fine if you have relatively strong shoulders. Not if you don’t .

I used it mostly in warmup as part of a combo or complex.
 
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