How to Do a Proper Bent Press With a Kettlebell or Barbell

How to do a proper bent press with a kettlebell or barbell?

There are many variations of the bent press, but they all have one thing in common: They involve using your body weight to push down on the dumbbells while keeping them from falling forward. If done correctly, it will cause the weights to move backward and upward at the same time.

The most basic form of the bent press involves holding a heavy dumbbell in front of you with both hands and pushing it back and forth against your chest. You’ll need to keep your legs straight so that you don’t lose balance. Some people prefer to hold their arms out in front of them instead, which is called a “side” press.

Other people like to use their feet as support (or even both) for added stability.

In addition to the standard bent press, there are other variations that include lying face-down on the floor with your knees bent and your elbows locked. You can also perform a variation where you stand up straight and then lower yourself back down until your thighs touch the ground. There’s even a version called the “curl” press, in which you curl up into a ball while lowering yourself down.

Now that you have the basics, are you ready to give it a shot?

Choose a barbell weight that is heavy but still allows you to complete at least 5 perfect reps. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be extended in front of you and the barbell resting on your thighs. Bend your knees slightly, keep your back straight, lean back slightly and push the weight up until your arms are straight. Slowly lower the weight back down. That’s one rep.

Move on to a heavier weight once you can do 5 perfect bent presses with a given weight.

Things To Consider

The bent press is a full body exercise that helps build strength and power. You’ll really feel it in your chest, shoulders, and arms.

Keep your head up and your back straight when lowering the barbell back down.


To make the exercise easier, you can rest the barbell on your thighs between reps. To make it harder, try doing the bent press using just your body weight. If you’re really strong, bend your knees more and keep your legs straight.

The bent press is also sometimes referred to as the “clean and press”, the “military press”, or even the “arabian press”.

How to Do a Proper Bent Press With a Kettlebell or Barbell - | Gym Fit Workout

The bent press is one of the exercises that can help you achieve the coveted “Big 3” strength: the ability to do a full pushup, full pullup, and a full bent press.

There are many other variations too. If you like this exercise and want to see more, let us know!


Target whole body and core.

Increase muscular endurance and strength.

You will be able to do a full pushup, full pullup, and full bent press.

The bent press can be used for “the big 3” strength goal.

Add variety to your regular routine.


How to Do a Proper Bent Press With a Kettlebell or Barbell - Image

To see the benefits of the bent press you’ll need to use it in a program that focuses on full body strength training (with other exercises too). For instance, if you’re training for general health and fitness goals, you could do the bent press as part of a circuit along with other free weight and bodyweight exercises. Start with the bent press first, to get the most out of your strength and power.

For instance, do it before squats or deadlifts. However, if your main goal is to increase your muscular size and strength, then save the bent press for later in your workout. Placement in the workout matters because you will be able to give a better effort when you’re fresh.

For muscular endurance and strength, aim for 8 to 12 repetitions using 50 to 70 percent of your maximum effort (the amount of weight you can lift for one rep).

For muscular size and strength, aim for 5 to 8 repetitions using 70 to 80 percent of your maximum effort.

Bent presses can be done one arm at a time or both arms simultaneously. Use exercises that work best for you. If you’ve never done bent presses before, try both to see which works better for you.


Stand in front of a weight bench or sturdy chair. Slowly bend over while keeping your back straight until you are parallel to the floor. Let the barbell roll down your thighs to rest on the top of your feet (you may need to adjust the height of the bar).

Hold it steady by putting your hands underneath it.

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Now, bend your legs and quickly straighten them while standing up. At the same time, press the barbell straight over your head. When you’re finished, lower your arms and thighs back down.

Bent presses are a great exercise for full body strength training. They work a lot of muscles that you don’t always use in everyday life, which is why it’s a good idea to use them in your routine. They help with posture and flexibility in addition to building strength.


There are many variations of bent presses to fit your needs and skill level. Remember, before you try a new exercise, make sure you have a spotter, especially if you’re using more than just your body weight. Body weight exercises can be risky for heavyweights.

Half-kneeling Bent Press

The half-kneeling bent press is a good exercise to start with if you’re not comfortable with the full version. It’s also a bit easier on your lower back.

To perform the half-kneeling bent press, set up in a half-kneeling position with one knee on the floor. Hold the bar out in front of you at shoulder height with your arms straight.

To perform the standing bent press, set up in a standing position and hold the bar out in front of you at chest height with your arms straight. Slowly bend your knees and lower your body until your upper arm is at least parallel to the floor. Then, press back up to the start position.


The bent press can be done at the beginning or end of a workout. If you only have time to do one exercise, do it at the beginning. If you have more time, do another exercise after the bent press.

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For best results, try doing the bent press twice a week. Make sure you’re able to lift at least 25 percent more weight each time you repeat the exercise. When you can’t increase the weight any more or can’t complete the required number of reps, take a break from that exercise for at least three months before trying again.

The bent press can be used as the basis for a full body routine if you’re just starting out or don’t have much time.

Warm up first with some stretching and aerobic exercises (jogging, jumping jacks, etc). Once you’ve finished your warm up, begin your routine with bent presses. You should do at least two sets of five repetitions per set.

Then, move on to other exercises such as squats, lunges and tricep dips.

Sources & references used in this article:

Applications of kettlebells in exercise program design by JS Harrison, B Schoenfeld… – Strength & Conditioning …, 2011 –

How to Smooth Out the Kettlebell Snatch by M Beecroft, RKC Master, M Bos, A Du Cane, A Gala… –

Kettlebells for sport, strength and fitness by S Shetler – 2009 –