The Kettlebell Forward Press for a Resilient Rotator Cuff

Fabio Zonin, StrongFirst Licensed Grasp Teacher, and I independently found and practiced the identical motion: a standing ahead kettlebell press with a static maintain. After I described it to Fabio and despatched him a video, Fabio stated, “Hey, I try this, too!” and subsequently Fabio invited me to debate the brand new kettlebell train on an version of his weekly Fb Italy Dwell presentation, Energy Drugs. Fabio Fogato, StrongFirst Licensed SFG II, SFL, and SFB Teacher, participated within the dialogue as nicely. I’ll present a hyperlink on the finish of this text for anybody wishing to discover the motion in additional element. 

Find out how to Get Began with the Ahead Press

Maintain a light-weight kettlebell within the rack place simply as you’d for an overhead press. I like to recommend not more than 8kg for males to begin and 4kg for ladies. Presently, I exploit a 6kg or 8kg for this motion for reasonable reps and a 10kg or 12kg for low reps. Fabio makes use of a 12kg and a 16kg, respectively. Extra about weight choice later. For now, begin mild.

As defined in VICTORIOUS (Fabio’s kettlebell course on the overhead press), execute GLAG—tighten your Grip, Lats, Abs, and Glutes. At not more than a reasonable pace, press the kettlebell away from you to the entrance. Don’t execute this motion rapidly. Sluggish and managed is the order of the day right here.

Pause on the lockout, which ought to appear to be the end of a punch. The kettlebell shall be resting on the again of your forearm. The road of your knuckles must be roughly parallel to the bottom and the ball of the kettlebell must be barely under shoulder peak—extra on this later. Chances are you’ll maintain this place briefly or as much as a number of seconds, however you need to maintain it with out undoing any side of GLAG and particularly with out unpacking your shoulder. Return the kettlebell to the rack place. If you happen to’ve accomplished this accurately, executing one other GLAG mustn’t trigger something to maneuver, however execute it anyway, simply to make certain. If you happen to unpacked your shoulder through the press, please deal with correcting that as you proceed your observe.

The forward press—ending position

Physique Place

Your physique should be in a vertical plank all the time. Urgent a weight out to arm’s size in entrance of you adjustments your heart of mass, which might trigger you to shift your weight to the entrance of your ft and even to fall over forwards. Chances are you’ll lean again, however you need to accomplish that solely from the ankles—all the pieces above your ankles should stay locked in place.

Arm Angle—To The Floor

The angle of your arm to the bottom is essential. You might be on the lookout for essentially the most troublesome place wherein to help the burden, which is with the middle of the kettlebell lined up with the middle of your shoulder joint. Since you may solely see the highest of your shoulder joint, not the middle, you’ll intention for some extent that appears a bit of decrease than parallel—that is the place what we’ll name “useful parallel” lies.

Many confuse the highest of the shoulder with the middle of the shoulder joint. With the intention to perceive the place the middle of your shoulder joint is, you need to use this drill by Fabio Fogato: place the palm of 1 hand on prime of your reverse shoulder. Be certain your fingers, from the index to your pinky, are glued collectively. Place your index finger on prime of your acromion, the bone that you could really feel on prime of your shoulder. The spot wherein your pinky is positioned roughly signifies the middle of your shoulder joint. That is the place you wish to intention to be parallel with on the lockout.

Arm Angle—To Your Physique

Chances are you’ll experiment with the ahead angle at which you press the kettlebell away out of your physique however don’t do something excessive as this can do the mistaken sorts of issues to your shoulders. Press straight out in entrance of you. Now think about a circle across the kettlebell with a radius of 6-8 inches (15-20cm)—don’t go additional than the surface fringe of that circle. Over time gently discover what may incorrectly be referred to as “inner shoulder rotation.” The perfect ending level is the place you might be supporting the kettlebell in your forearm with the road of your knuckles roughly parallel to the bottom. Rotate no additional than retaining your shoulder tightly packed will enable.


You should utilize this motion in a wide range of methods. With a light-weight weight, you could carry out the ahead press as an help/hypertrophy train in your shoulders, typically within the 8-15 rep vary after any major shoulder work is finished for the day.  A heavier weight, when you can handle it safely, within the larger rep vary can be okay, as are a number of units of assorted rep ranges. With a reasonable weight, you could deal with it as prehab/rehab, retaining the rep vary reasonable (3-5 on the low aspect and eight on the excessive aspect) and carry out a single set with every hand earlier than different workout routines. That is my most well-liked observe.

Extra Efficiency Ideas

As you might be urgent the kettlebell in the direction of the lockout, your scapula will attempt to shrug. Don’t enable this to occur. Maintaining your shoulders pressed “away out of your ears” through the motion will enhance your capability to maintain your shoulders linked throughout your navy press and different overhead actions. It is going to additionally assist the bench press and the ground press part of the get-up.

Because the kettlebell strikes away out of your physique your delts generate better stress and have a tendency to compress your humeral head in opposition to the glenoid and the acromial roof. This is without doubt one of the most typical points for bodybuilders who develop their huge deltoids via dumbbell lateral raises. It occurs largely after they are likely to “cheat up” the dumbbells too quick. Performing the ahead press slowly and underneath management will enable some muscle tissues positioned in your scapula, the SITS (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis), aka the “rotator cuff” muscle tissues, to come back into play and stabilize your shoulder joint. Sturdy SITS muscle tissues result in robust and wholesome shoulders. There are a lot of particular workout routines in your SITS, however most of them, whereas acceptable for strengthening a weak rotator cuff, aren’t sufficient for a powerful athlete. The ahead press trains the SITS muscle tissues for precisely what their function is: stabilizing a joint whereas it’s shifting.

With a heavy weight, you need to use this to construct shoulder power by retaining the reps low, however program this fastidiously to not intervene with different shoulder-centric workout routines. And count on your “Expensive Abbies” to be drained from the proper efficiency of this motion. Simply as with the one- and two-arm kettlebell swing, this motion could be carried out with one kettlebell or two kettlebells, one in every hand. Keep in mind to begin with a light-weight weight. However as with the swing, when you had to decide on just one, select the only kettlebell for the resilience the unbalanced load will deliver to your midsection.


The ahead press works the cross chain that runs between the urgent arms and the other aspect’s foot, which is able to strengthen the physique’s capability to withstand rotational forces. One other profit is that retaining the shoulder packed whereas shifting the arm will tackle “winged scapula.” And yet one more profit is that the “lean again solely from the ankles” method will strengthen the quadratus lumborum and different muscle tissues within the thoraco-lumbar band. An attention-grabbing variation, after you’ve used the ahead press for some time, can be to achieve the lockout not by urgent from the rack however moderately by decreasing a straight arm from the highest of an overhead press. One might then, by fastidiously monitoring the stopping level, load the train extra closely. I hope the ahead press shall be a welcome addition to your coaching arsenal. Use it as prehab, a warmup, and even as a major course in your shoulders, and report your findings on the StrongFirst Discussion board. 

Now as promised, right here is the hyperlink to the Drugs of Energy program the place the ahead press is mentioned in additional element.

Steve Freides
Steve Freides, StrongFirst Senior Emeritus Teacher and Director of Neighborhood Engagement for StrongFirst, Inc., is an expert musician who found power coaching in 1997 by studying Pavel’s “Energy to the Folks!” whereas recovering from a herniated lumbar disc that left him bed-ridden for 2 months and strolling with a limp for the subsequent yr.

Holder of a doctoral diploma in music, Steve is a former school professor and synagogue choir director, and a present church organist and personal music instructor. He additionally instructs people and small teams in StrongFirst strategies and practices in his basement fitness center. Steve not too long ago set a nationwide powerlifting deadlift file of 170 kg (375 lb) in the US Powerlifting Affiliation, Uncooked Division, male 65-69 yr outdated age bracket, and 67.5 kg (148lb) weight class, which you will watch on StrongFirst’s Instagram right here.

Steve administers StrongFirst’s on-line neighborhood on the StrongFirst Discussion board and invitations you to affix him there.

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