Some singularly-focused exercises are a great way to hammer on one particular body part—but if you want some more bang for your buck, you’re going to need to get other muscle groups involved. That’s why you should think outside the box and consider how you approach your exercises, down to your stance and positioning.
This shoulder workout from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. also gives your abs a major challenge. That core crush doesn’t come from any extra movements—it’s all about your setup.
“This one will smoke your shoulders, but it’s going to crush your core a lot more than you think too,” says Samuel. “That’s because of the blend of the half-kneeling stance and pressing pattern.”
The stance isn’t just for show, according to Samuel. “The half-kneeling stance challenges your balance laterally.” he says. “That’s further challenged by the fact that your core is continually switching modes to handle the overhead presses; the unilateral presses will tip your torso to one side, and your core must be ready for that. Then the standard presses change that stability pattern. Your core is continually adjusting and restabilizing.”
To take on the half kneeling kettlebell press, you’ll need a set of kettlebells to do the work. Check out this option from CAP Barbell if you want to try it at home.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
- Get into a half-kneeling position on the ground, holding the kettlebells in each hand. Squeeze your core and glutes to make it a strong position.
- Raise both kettlebells into the racked position, holding the handles and resting the weights on your forearms.
- Press both kettlebells straight up.
- Keep one arm extended and perform another press rep with the other. As you lower the single rep arm, bring the static arm down too.
- Repeat the double rep, then perform the single rep on the other side.
Your core also has to deal with its primary responsibility on all presses, according to Samuel: keeping your ribcage down and in and not letting your ribs flare. “Fight for this position above all, continually flexing your abs on every rep and don’t let your back slip into arching,” he says. “Battle to think of this as a vertical plank. It’s harder that it looks, and partly because of that, you’ll need to work with lighter weights than you might normally press. You’ll still get a killer shoulder burn, especially as you’re driving those kettlebells high to own the straight-arm position.”
Try 4 sets of 8 to 10 rep pairs, switching the forward leg of your stance after every set.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.
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