Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredKettle Bells
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Unilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Traps, Triceps
Target Muscle Group


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Alternating Standing Kettlebell Press Overview

The alternating standing kettlebell shoulder press is a variation of the standing kettlebell press and an exercise used to strengthen the muscles of the shoulders.

The handles of the kettlebells make the kettlebell shoulder press a unique exercise. The distribution of weight lies below the handle, as opposed to aligned with the handle, forcing you to fight gravity pulling the weight down below your hand positioning.

The handles, and how you’ll be able to manipulate your hand positioning, may also help alleviate some wrist and elbow pain associated with presses.

By alternating the presses, you’ll work each side unilaterally, which can help build balanced strength and an aesthetically pleasing physique. It’ll also provide a core challenge as you fight to stabilize the body while alternating presses.

Alternating Standing Kettlebell Press Instructions

  1. Assume a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart and arms by your sides holding a kettlebell in each hand.
  2. Clean the kettlebell to a front racked position.
  3. Press one kettlebell overhead until the shoulder reaches full flexion and the elbow is locked out.
  4. Slowly lower the kettlebell back to the starting position and repeat on the opposite arm.
  5. Repeat the alternating sequence for the desired number of repetitions.

Alternating Standing Kettlebell Press Tips

  1. Don’t allow the head to jut forward excessively.
  2. Ensure the hips stay stacked underneath the torso as you press, don’t allow them to shoot back as you press.
  3. Drive the bicep to the ear and exhale as you press.
  4. If you sense any pressure in your neck or traps during the movement, look to address a lack of thoracic spine extension or shoulder flexion.
  5. Keeping the elbows slightly bent at the top and not locking out entirely will help to keep tension on the shoulders.
  6. If you can’t lock out the elbows overhead then it may indicate a lack of shoulder mobility due to poor scapular upward rotation.