4 Best Kettlebell Exercises to Bulletproof Shoulders

Kettlebell Exercises to Bulletproof Shoulders


Hey everybody, Zach and Pamela from performaneplusprogramming.com and today, we’re talking about our four favorite kettlebell exercises to work on building healthy shoulders.

Bottoms Up KB Press

So the first exercise we’re gonna work on is going to be a half kneeling bottoms-up kettlebell press. So Pamela’s gonna drop down to the bottom of the lunge and we’re going to keep the bottom of that kettlebell up and then she’s going to simply do an overhead press. And what you’ll notice with that is the instability that’s created when the bell is upside down, it makes that press significantly harder to stabilize the shoulder joint.

You’ve got to really grip the horn really hard with your hands. That’s going to create some radiation where all the muscles in your arm fire a little bit more. You’re going to start to shake around a little bit. It is a great exercise for building shoulder stability, which is something we don’t talk about enough when it comes to shoulder rehab. It’s actually training the rotator cuff muscles to do their actual job, which is to stabilize the shoulder joint, and this exercise is specific to overhead movements.

Arm Bar

The second exercise that we really like for shoulder stability and strength is the Kettlebell Arm Bar. So Pamela’s got her left hand up in the air. She’s going to keep that hand-driven towards the ceiling the entire time. And you’ll notice she did a glute bridge on her left leg to roll her body over. So she ends up in this position here where her hip is over the other hip. This hand is over her shoulder, which is over the opposite shoulder, and then she’ll bring that leg over.

In this position here, you’ll notice that her arms are moving around a little bit. She’s having to dynamically react to that weight and stabilize with the joint. I typically prescribe this for about thirty-second holds, and we want to find a weight that’s heavy enough that you’re having to shake and work hard to stabilize that.

Upright Row

From there, the next exercise I really like using kettlebells for shoulder health is going to be an upright row. So much of our shoulder work we focus on pressing overhead,we won’t take a whole lot of pulling vertically with the arm. So I like using kettlebells, and here we are doing a kettlebell upright row. I want you to really notice as Pamela does this is the angle of her pull. She is not thinking of pulling that weight up to her shoulder. Instead, she’s thinking of pulling her elbow high and wide. And when you do that, you’ll feel the deltoids work a lot more. When you focus on pulling straight up,you’ll feel the bicep work a lot more. So focus on that elbow going laterally.

Some athletes might get discomfort at the very top of the upright row. If that is you, simply reduce the range of motion slightly, and build strength through the range that you can!

Elbowing Row

Then exercise number four, we’re gonna really work on the posterior shoulder musculature by doing an elbowing row. So typically when we think of doing a row, we’re thinking of pulling our arm back towards our side. With the elbowing row, we’re going to instead focus I’m pulling at a ninety-degree angle. So I want her elbow to be coming out towards my hand here, getting really high up into what we call shoulder abduction and that is gonna really crush the posterior rotator cuff and shoulder blade muscles – and it’s great for overall strength of those muscles that are so important for shoulder stability.