Kettlebell Shoulder Workouts to Build Strength and Mobility
The humble kettlebell is one of the most diverse pieces of equipment you can have in a gym. Below are some of our favourite workouts to help build strength in your shoulders, whilst also increasing your range of motion.
1. Russian Kettlebell Swings
These are a great starting point for any athlete. Perfect for warming up the shoulders or throwing down with some heavy weight during a WOD.
Begin by holding the kettlebell with both hands in a dead hang, your core should be activated and your chest proud. Bend your knees slightly, hinge at the hip and push the kettlebell into a swing.
Unlike the full kettlebell swing, the Russian variant stops with the kettlebell at eye level. This protects your lower back from hyperextension if your range of motion is limited.
With gravity assist, control the kettlebell back to the starting position. Rinse and repeat.
AMRAP in 7 minutes of
15 Russian Kettlebell Swings
30 Goblet Squats
5 Pull-ups (this can be scaled to a ring row if necessary)
2. Kettlebell Thrusters
Many athletes have a love-hate relationship with thrusters, but nobody can deny their awesome effectiveness of the thruster at developing killer shoulder stability. Especially with a kettlebell in the mix instead of a barbell.
Start with a kettlebell in each hand (or singles if you need to work on one side) in the kettlebell front rack position.
Keeping your chest proud and a tight core, descend into a full squat. As you push out of the squat, press the kettlebells overhead until your arms are locked out. There should be a straight line from your legs through to your hands.
Control the kettlebell back down into the rack position as you descend back into the squat.
3. Overhead hold
The majority of athletes, ranging from elites to weekend warriors have some deficiency in their mobility. We will look at a quick and easy kettlebell exercise that will help with your thoracic mobility, the overhead hold.
The best way to start this is de-loaded (without any weight). Stand tall with a proud chest and a neutral spine, make sure your core is activated as you bring your arm overhead into the 12'oclock position. As you do so note how your ribcage will have a tendency to flare up and offset the limited range of mobility to your back. Re-adjust and try again keeping your body in a neutral position.
Once you have that down let's add some weight. Start with a 30-second hold on each side, adding 15-second increments until you can comfortably hold the weight overhead for 3 minutes.
It may take a few days to build up to 3 minutes, so start slow and be sure to maintain good form!
And if you were ever in doubt about the awesomeness of kettlebells, check out this post from Brent Fikowski!