Kettlebell Stunt: Bottoms Up Press

Posted: May 25, 2011 in kettlebells, Strength Stunts

Anyone with half a brain works on the fundamentals first. Clearly, that’s what you do. I just got a kettlebell, and I’m in the most formative stages of learning about how to do the moves. That said, I went ahead and started doing an advanced move, because I’m a natural-born knucklehead, and I can’t help myself.

The move I’m working to get proficient at doing is called the bottoms up clean and press. The kettlebell is an iron ball with a loop handle. One would naturally assume that the loop handle goes on top, and the cannonball bit depends from it, moving in the direction of gravity. For this one, not so much.

You swing the k-bell and catch it at shoulder level, squeezing the handle for all you’re worth and trying to, er, engage your body, so as to support this sudden development. It takes coordination. Uh-oh. Your caveman could be in trouble. If you fail at this point, or any point going forward, to keep a tight grip and a good balance going, the k-bell is going to flop over and whack you pretty good on the forearm. I’ve found that some self-protection mechanism generally makes this go to the top of your arm, rather than underneath.

Anyhow, if you can cause the k-bell to hold still at shoulder level for a second or so, you try to press it above your head and hold it, while still maintaining the bottoms-up configuration. Why? Because it’s a challenge, and it requires more than brute strength to do. You have to be a really concentrating to make it happen, at least at first. I imagine that, just like anything, you develop a groove after a while.

I’m not a skilled k-bell comrade, and I’ll confess that I can’t get this to work every time, especially if my hands are a little sweaty. I’m sure chalk would be a benefit on this one. In the end, though, if you can pull off the trick and get it on camera, it’s a preliminary win.

Below, you’ll see me in my work clothes, horsing around. No, I didn’t have an exceedingly fast camera just capture those images as the ‘bell crested vertical. In fact, I had to hold both for about as long as I could, just to get them on (digital) film.

Thanks to my co-worker, Nick, for wielding the camera.

Stunt Well, Stunt Safely!

  1. Bobby-T says:

    That has to work on your grip strength it would seem. Looks good Patrick!

  2. Mike says:

    I imagine that it might be even more challenging with the left hand. Bottoms, I mean bell, up:-)

  3. Bobby,

    Yes, you have to squeeze the bell pretty hard to stop its progress when you clean it into position, then you have to move it in a very smooth fashion as you press it out. It’s not easy, and you’re punished when the k-bell flops and smacks your arm.


    I can do it with both arms, though my right does have a slight advantage, I suppose. The toughest part is making sure your hands are really dry. I have a window of about three minutes after I wash my hands to do the trick. Otherwise, I just can’t grip it. I think athletic chalk is going to be necessary to get the best results.

    Thanks for coming by, guys.

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