Pressing: The Wedge & StrongFirst Kettlebell Course Las Vegas on 3/25/18!
Recently I was chatting with a student about the wedge for the kettlebell military press. He is working on his half bodyweight press for his StrongFirst Level 2 certification and is not 100% dialed into the wedging technique.
Yes, just like the deadlift, there is a wedging technique with the kettlebell military press. In fact, wedging is a theme with many lifts, the deadlift, the military press, the bench press (you use the back arch to wedge yourself between the bench and the bar for leverage), the back squat (you position yourself with the bar on your back so that you are wedged with the bar and one with the weight), etc.
With the kettlebell military press, you want to push your body into and under the weight as you press. Not push away into an excessive lean that turns into a side bend. Yes, if it’s heavy there might be a little lean, just enough to get your head out of the way of the heavy bell, but not a lean that causes you to use your back for the press and looks like a side press.
I know this VERY well because this excessive lean and learning how to wedge properly was one of the challenges I had when training to press 24kg (53lbs) for the Iron Maiden Challenge. I had to start all over again with light weights 12kg (26lbs) – 16kg (35lbs) and practice open half kneeling press ladders in order to master the wedge, hardstyle press tension techniques and to eliminate the lean from my press.
The Instagram video at the end of this post shows pressing from one of my training sessions, 20kg (44lbs) for 6 sets of 3 reps R/L. Notice how,
- My feet are just wide enough to clean the bell but not too wide to press, therefore I do not have to step in and adjust my feet and lose tension before I press;
- Before I start my press, I screw my feet into the ground, contract my quads by pulling my knee caps up to hips, and squeeze my glutes;
- As I press I crush the bell handle and drive the heel of my hand into the handle of the bell to help activate my triceps (this is continuous through the press), brace my abdominals, and push my body towards the weight, into and under the weight, to leverage my body underneath the weight, to WEDGE. Then about halfway through the press, as I push my body into the weight, you see my abdominals contract and get compact like a trash compactor, so that I can finish the press powerful and strong.
Learn how to wedge live and in person with me at one of my LIVE workshop events:
- March 25, 2018 (NEXT SUNDAY!) StrongFirst Kettlebell Course at Life Time Athletic-Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV. Deadline to register is THIS WEDNESDAY March 21, 2018. Sign-up HERE; OR
- June 2, 2018, I Am Not Afraid to Lift® Women’s ONLY Strength Workshop at MSC Strength and Conditioning, Weymouth, MA. Early Bird ends May 20, 2018. Sign-up HERE.