How The Kettlebell Bent Press Aids In Overhead Strength

bent press

Add this exercise into your workout routine and look to increase mobility, strength, and functional movements.

The kettlebell is a great fitness tool to really work multiple muscles in your body and is convenient in that it can be used at home or in the gym. But with so many kettlebell exercises, it can be challenging to choose the most effective ones for you. While programs exist for you to follow along with trainers, and kettlebell competitions on the rise, you need an exercise to really kickstart your gains to new heights and one that will allow you to lift big weight safely. The bent press has been around for a long time, but unfortunately, too many of us overlook this great bent press exercise.

The bent press is an old exercise, but one still very relevant today. Able to work virtually your whole body, the main benefit to this exercise is you will lift more weight than others and do so safely. While it can be challenging, it will be worth it for the results. Whether using a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell, the bent press is more than effective, but the kettlebell will offer great grip and easier movements, especially when putting the weight overhead with a press.

Let’s take a look at the this exercise and really see what this exercise can do for you. We’ll dive into what it is, the muscles worked, and the many benefits this exercise has to offer. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed with the results when the press is done safely and effectively.

What Is The Bent Press?

The bent press has a long history as an effective workout and can be used with a variety of workout tools like a kettlebell, barbell, or dumbbell. It is a misunderstood kettlebell exercise, and with so many kettlebell exercises or variations out there, it can be challenging to really identify which ones are the best. The bent press is a weight training exercise where the weight is brought from shoulder level to the weight overhead and a large amount of weight can be lifted when compared to other press exercises of similar caliber.

For the bent press’ ability to really target your muscles effectively and properly, this kettlebell exercise should not be overlooked. Effective for your core, as well as mainly your upper body, this is one challenge that once defeated, will prove to be great for your gains as well as things like mobility.

strong man

Muscles Worked With The Bent Press

What you will find with this movement is that this is a full body workout designed to really target all areas of your body including many muscle groups. While the main goal is not to target your lower body, the need to stay stable and balanced will require some engagement from those lower body muscles. This is where your core comes into play with this press. Those rock solid abdominal muscles will really work to maintain good balance and stability. Other important upper body muscles worked during this exercise include your biceps, triceps, traps, delts, forearms, and chest.

bent press

Benefits Of The Bent Press

Improve Overhead Strength

Lifting big weight overhead can be intimidating, especially for those bodybuilders just starting out. This will allow you to work your way up in weight so you are comfortable with lifting big overhead as you build muscle. As a great exercise to increase strength in a number of muscles, you will soon be lifting more than you thought possible all while doing so safely, either with a barbell or kettlebells with proper form to get you stronger with increased practice.

Promote Mobility, Especially Those Hips

Your hips are a critical point of contact for this lift and this movement will work to increase hip mobility since your body is under the kettlebell, requiring a bit of a twist, thus enhancing mobility. Since this exercise is demanding on your hips, you have no choice but to use them and the movement required will prove to be key in increasing hip mobility, as well as thoracic mobility for thoracic spine support (1).

Strengthen Your Stabilizers

With many muscles worked, the stabilizer and connecting muscles that are smaller and often overlooked will get work done. This will increase their strength and allow you to see great growth and support when it comes to other lifts. This is surprisingly demanding on muscles you may not really work, but the benefit is you finally target these muscles with a strict press with one arm whether you know it or not to increase other things like mobility as well.

Increase Trunk Stability

Since it is necessary that your core is engaged throughout, you will not only work your abdominal muscles, but also balance and stability while also getting stronger (2). Not only does this matter for this specific exercise, but also for big lifts, like the big three powerlifting lifts (bench press, squat, and deadlift) so you see those numbers you want to see most of out your training as you build muscle and increase focus.

How To Perform The Bent Press

Here are the steps to performing an effective exercise with this movement.

Start with your feet around shoulder width apart and hold a kettlebell by your shoulder. Lean towards the opposite side and slowly extend your arm as the kettlebell is held directly above you. As you do this, move your free hand down towards your foot. This next step is important for avoiding injury and proper form. You need to make sure the kettlebell is in line with your free arm. You will raise back up and repeat for your desired number of reps to continue with your training and lifts for maximum benefits.

Featured Kettlebells For The Bent Press

Kettlebell Kings Kettlebells

Kettlebell Kings Kettlebells are perfect for enhancing grip and working with versatility as well for your desired strength and conditioning goals. Made from cast iron and covered with a powder coating, these offer overall protection and durability to enhance longevity. The structural integrity of these kettlebells will support your own growth and mobility and keep you operating at a high level when it comes to your exercises.

Prices vary depending on weight but there are 21 options to choose from ranging from 9 lbs. ($69.99) to 203 lbs. ($424.99).

Check out our individual review for Kettlebell Kings Kettlebell here!

Wrap Up

The kettlebell bent press is a great exercise designed to support strength, mobility, and functional movements and should not be overlooked as an effective kettlebell exercise. While kettlebells are on the rise, this exercise should be too and can prove to be worth your while when included in your workout routine. Check out this exercise today and really see what this exercise can do for you as you move towards bigger gains and able to promote a better routine.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Hrysomallis, Con (2009). “Hip Adductors’ Strength, Flexibility, and Injury Risk”. (source)
  2. Hibbs, Angela E.; Thompson, Kevin G.; French, Duncan; Wrigley, Allan; Spears, Iain (2008). “Optimizing performance by improving core stability and core strength”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.