“Just because an exercise doesn’t hurt it doesn’t mean it’s not causing harm.” Eric Cressey
Would I overhead press an overhead athlete (volleyball in this case) with a barbell or even a dumbbell, even if it is pain free? No, the risk is not worth the reward – your probably playing with fire in the long term when it comes to shoulder health.
Would I do it with a kettlebell? Yes, we do bottoms up all the time and is a staple in our strength program.
Why the Bottoms Up KB Press:
1️) It allows the shoulder to find the path of least resistance. Not all shoulders work the same, especially overhead athletes.
2️) It helps to facilitate more rotator cuff activation. The rotator cuff is a reflex driven group of muscles built for stability, not strength. KB bottoms up press demands stability. If the rotator cuff isn’t stabilizing, the KB will fall over.
3️) It also teaches the core and the shoulder to work together as a unit. If you lose core stability, you’ll again probably lose the kettlebell.
4) Overhead athletes tend to have cranky shoulders with pain in certain positions. Simply flipping the KB over turns a typically painful movement into a non-painful movement. Training through pain is a terrible idea. On the other hand, not training through pain is always a good thing.