Five Ways To Increase Shoulder And Grip Strength With One Simple Tool.

The kettlebell is a great investment any way you look at it. Below I will share with you five separate overhead pressing variations that all use different loading patterns.
Many coaches and athletic programs are forced to operate on a limited budget. This not only limits the amount of equipment a program can possess, but it also forces the coach to be creative and utilize each piece of equipment to its fullest potential.

I use several criteria to determine whether a certain piece of equipment is worth its cost and inclusion within a program. These are:

  • Initial monetary investment
  • Life-long value
  • Durability
  • How much floor space is taken up
  • Exercise versatility and variation

The kettlebell meets all those criteria perfectly well.

The purpose of this article is to expose you to the possibilities that exist within this piece of equipment and how you can instantly increase or decrease the overall difficulty of a drill and adapt it to meet a particular training goal or a specific application.

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Light Kettlebell Training

All athletes should begin their training with a light to moderate kettlebell to ensure that proper form and technique are acquired. But since most kettlebells come in fixed sizes, many coaches claim that their athletes will quickly outgrow lighter kettlebells and no longer benefit from their use.

This is not the case.

You will never outgrow a light kettlebell. There are unlimited ways to structure your training and a light kettlebell can be the center of many programs that develop power, stamina and anaerobic endurance. However, the focus of this article is the inherent versatility within a kettlebell.

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Below are 5 separate overhead pressing variations that all use different loading patterns. You can use one of these variations to train a particular area or mix them up to increase overall grip strength and endurance. Each of these variations will develop incredible grip and hand strength, an area that is often neglected in most programming.

    To View Additional Kettlebell Exercises, Click Here.

These variations will be performed with a kettlebell that has become too light for standard overhead presses.

Exercise #1: Bottoms-Up Press.

    In order to perform this drill safely you must first master the Bottoms-Up Clean. In the Clean, as you rotate your hand around the kettlebell squeeze your grip hard and stabilize the kettlebell with its bottom pointed straight up toward the sky. It helps if you squeeze your glutes and brace your entire core while pressing the kettlebell overhead.

Kettlebell Bottoms-Up Press Kettlebell Bottoms-Up Press
Click Image To Enlarge.
Bottoms-Up Press.

Exercise #2: Finger Press.

    Fingertip Push-ups are a favorite old time drill; why not take this to an overhead press? Use your other hand or have a training partner place the kettlebell onto your extended fingers. Needless to say, pay great attention during this one!

Kettlebell Finger Press Kettlebell Finger Press
Click Image To Enlarge.
Finger Press.

Have You Ever Trained With A Kettlebell?

Yes, I Love Them!
Yes, But Not My Thing.
Not Yet, But Planning To Try Them!
No, I've Never Seen Them At The Gym...
No, Not Interested.

Exercise #3: Inside Leverage Press.

    Grab a kettlebell by its horns so that it rests on the side of your thumb. This grip can also be used during Rows.

Kettlebell Inside Leverage Press Kettlebell Inside Leverage Press
Click Image To Enlarge.
Inside Leverage Press.

Exercise #4: Outside Leverage Press.

    Grab a kettlebell by its horns so that it rests on the side of your pinky finger. This grip can also be used during Rows.

Kettlebell Outside Leverage Press Kettlebell Outside Leverage Press
Click Image To Enlarge.
Outside Leverage Press.

Exercise #5: Thumb Press.

    This is the exact opposite of the standard overhead press. Allow the kettlebell to hang from your thumb on the inside of your wrist, as opposed the back of your wrist as in the standard variation. This is a great drill for boxers and any athlete that uses a stick or racket.

Kettlebell Thumb Press Kettlebell Thumb Press
Click Image To Enlarge.
Thumb Press.


As mentioned before, you can include each of these variations into one workout or you can focus on a particular weak link and choose the best variation for that need. Either way, be sure to make training of your wrist and forearms a standard practice within your training program. You're only as strong as your weakest link!

About The Author

    Jason C. Brown is considered one of the world's leading authorities on kettlebell training for sport. He also created the series "Kettlebell Training for Sport" DVD and book and coauthored "Kettlebell Training for Baseball."

    To receive Jason's "Down and Dirty Kettlebell Tips," please visit and sign up today!

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