1. What do you get when you combine a legendary bodybuilding exercise with a functional flare for shoulder health and performance? Introducing the best press you’re NOT doing, the Arnold Palmer Press.
2. Using a single kettlebell in the palm of your hand and press it overhead with elements of rotation and abduction out of a half kneeling position. There you have it, the perfect shoulder friendly upgrade from the traditional Arnold Press.
3. The beauty of the Arnold Palmer Press is its asymmetrical setup, increased surface area contract of the palm on the bell, combined with rotational ranges of motion being stabilized by the fascial sling system.
4. Program the Arnold Palmer Press in higher rep ranges (8-20) with a strength and hypertrophy emphasis. This move is best trained as an accessory exercise, or as a core emphasized pressing finisher to any upper body training day.
A Mix of Lemonade, Iced Tea And Sweet Shoulder Stability
Ah, the golden age! The 1960’s were nothing short of superb. The legendary golfer Arnold Palmer invented his namesake drink combining lemonade with iced tea in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. And adonis Arnold Schwarzenegger was originating now classic bodybuilding exercises at Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, California. All seemed right with the world.
But little did these 2 sporting icons know that it would take another 52 years for their innovative efforts to be combined into the ultimate shoulder saving exercise, by our very own coach Taylor Van De Loo, that combines elements of the original with a new age functional flare on shoulder mobility, stability and health. And with that said, I’m proud to present…
Introducing The Arnold Palmer Press
The Arnold Palmer Press combines an unconventional single arm kettlebell palm press with the rotational elements of the classic shoulder building Arnold Press to create synergy out of natural asymmetry. Both the palm placed on the bell AND the rotational functional sling system range of motion work together to ease structural shoulder stress while unlocking mobility and range.
Add in the half kneeling stance and base of support, and there you have it, the most effective shoulder friendly functional finisher you’ve ever used that will improve your mobility, build your shoulders AND help to challenge hip and core stability simultaneously. Looking for a catch all upper body shoulder finisher? Here’s one of the best I’ve ever used.
Your How To Guide To Overhead Press Like The King
Get into an active half kneeling 90-90 position with your front leg opposite of the side you’re kettlebell pressing with.
Actively engage your glutes and adductors while gripping BOTH feet into the ground.
Brace your core with 360 degree tension linking the mid section to the legs
Place a kettlebell in your hand holding the “bell” portion of this weight.
Start the kettlebell in front of your face with tension throughout the body.
Note the opposite arm should be strong, braced and out to the side like a cross.
Press the kettlebell “out and up” overhead in a controlled range of motion.
Achieve full overhead range of motion with biceps next to ear without compensating.
Lower the weight eccentrically in the exact same rotational range you pressed with.
Continue pressing for the desired rep range, then switch to the opposite side.
Arnold Palmer Press Training & Programming Considerations
The Arnold Palmer Press is best programmed for upper strength (8-12 reps) or traditional hypertrophy (12-20 reps) rep ranges to challenge the shoulders, hips and core with more total time under tension and technical skill proficiency. Multiple sets with approximately 30-60 second rest periods (make sure to train both sides!) will be ideal for eliciting the desired training effect.
Due to the rotational components of the dynamic overhead kettlebell palm press, the anterior, middle and posterior aspects of the deltoid, along with the posterior chain scapular stabilizers will all be directly targeted as the dynamic muscular movers.
But an overhead press is build on a foundation of a rock solid core and lower body. The half kneeling stance should kick on stability from the glutes, adductors and ground foot contract, while irradiating tension up chain into the core and abdominals to link up this kinetic chain from the ground to the fingertips upon the press.
Like any other pristinely executed functional exercise, key attention should be placed at ALL areas of the body to gain, maintain and scale static tension at the legs, hips and core, and smooth articulate motion at the shoulders and arms.
Tack the Arnold Palmer Press onto the tail end of your next upper body training day as a brutal metabolic stress finisher to give those shoulders a little more love through a complete range of motion while challenging the core and heart rate.
OPTIONAL: Drink an ice cold Arnold Palmer as a post-workout carbohydrate replacement for best results
About The Author
Dr. John Rusin is a sports performance specialist and injury prevention expert that has coached some of the world’s most elite athletes, barbell sport competitors, and over 10,000 clients from all walks of life with his innovative pain-free performance programs and systems, which has gained him the reputation as the go-to industry expert for rebuilding after pain, injuries or plateaus. Dr. Rusin is also the founder of the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification (PPSC) that has certified over 10,000 personal trainers, strength coaches and rehab pros from across the globe in the pain-free performance training system since 2019.