Want to build a strong and powerful chest—and durable shoulders at the same time? The Bottoms-Up Dead Stop Press is your answer.
The exercise name might sound intimidating, but bear with me. It’s not much more complicated than a dumbbell Bench Press. And it has some tremendous benefits unique to this variation.
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The Bottoms-Up Dead Stop Press incorporates two unique components compared to a traditional press:
Bottoms-Up. Bottoms-up refers to holding the kettlebell by the horn so it’s upside down with the bell on top. The bell naturally wants to fall to the side, and your grip must keep it from falling. By squeezing as tightly as possible, you not only build a strong grip but increase muscle activation in your pecs and shoulder stabilizers. The result is increased tension—a key to building muscle—and a more stable press that’s easier on your shoulder joints.
Dead Stop. Dead Stop refers to when you actually stop at the bottom of the rep. Traditionally, this is accomplished by resting a barbell on pins for a few seconds; but in this case, you are pressing off the floor so you simply rest your elbows on the floor. This removes the strength reflex from the exercise, which makes the lift more challenging. It also forces your neuromuscular system to maximally fire, because it’s starting from rest, which is one of the best ways to develop power.
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In addition to these critical factors, like the traditional Dumbbell Press, this is a single-arm exercise, which helps eliminate imbalances between your left and right sides and forces your core to stabilize so your torso doesn’t twist on the bench.
All these skills are critical for athletes who regularly perform single-arm movements in their sport, such as when driving an opponent away on the line. Although you’re not lifting heavy weights, the transferability to performance is undeniable.
With that said, here’s how to perform the Bottoms-Up Dead Stop Press:
- Lie on the floor and hold a kettlebell in each hand by the horns in the bottoms-up position. Squeeze your hands as tightly as possible.
- Brace your core and pull your shoulders down and back.
- Press the kettlebells over your chest by straightening your arms as you would perform a Dumbbell Press.
- Lower with control and repeat.
Add this pressing variation to your workouts once per week to build the strong and resilient upper body you need to be successful in your sport.
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