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Shoulder the load with a kettlebell press

  • Orange County Register
  • Published Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at 12 a.m.

Kettlebells take some time to master because of their inherent instability. The good part about this is they require one to perform an exercise slowly and patiently, focusing on technique.

Trainer Broderick Crawford has a series of kettlebell moves in his kit bag, and he pulled one out for us that’s a simple lunge: the KB shoulder press.

The first step is the most important: Grabbing the implement by the handle, with the bell facing backward, and nestling it between your right biceps and wrist. It helps if you have a solid, bulging biceps muscle, like Crawford, to use as a platform. But not everyone has that, so careful with the nestling.

If you’re not yet ready to master the kettlebell, this exercise can always be performed with a dumbbell.

“My biggest thing with the kettle, I try to make sure they’re capable and agile enough to push it back (bending the hand back), because it does ride on top of the wrist,” Crawford said. “Especially today, people have carpal tunnel, or special braces, and tension through the hands. That actually does push it back; it stretches those tendons in there, so people do have to be cautious with it.”

• Begin in the lunge position, with the right knee touching or almost touching the floor, the left quad parallel to the floor, and the bell nestled on the biceps.

•  Straighten your legs, bringing the right leg forward so that you’re standing straight up.

• In the same movement, raise the right arm upward, keeping the bell from swiveling all over the place.

• Do a couple like that, then switch legs when you’re standing straight up, this time lunging with your left knee lowered toward the floor and the right quad parallel to the floor. You also can use your opposite hand to steady the bell as you lunge.

Once you have the move down, you’ll feel it, particularly in the back of the shoulder and the latissimus dorsi, the muscles that stretch across the back under the armpit.

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