What if you could build strong, broad shoulders while simultaneously strengthening your back, which plays a key role in insulating your shoulders against injury? And what if you could develop athleticism, coordination, and explosive strength while doing these things, too?
That’s what you’ll do in the Ultimate Kettlebell Shoulder Flow, a challenging move from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S, that’s designed to push your mind and your shoulders to their limits. “This one is complicated,” says Samuel, “but taking the time to learn it will supercharge your shoulders — and really your entire body too.”
Even better, the Ultimate Kettlebell Shoulder Flow blends pulling and pushing and explosive movement, which is key to long-term health. As you age, you lose the ability to be powerful and explosive unless you train it — and most gym movements leave that explosiveness out. You’ll attack that in this flow, while also insuring that you’re training your back, too — and building midback muscle is key to protecting your shoulders.
None of that makes the Ultimate Kettlebell Shoulder Flow easy to learn. But take the time to master it, and your shoulders (and entire body will reap the benefits).
- Stand about two feet behind a pair of medium-weight kettlebells. Push your butt back and hinge our torso forward until you can grasp the kettlebells with both hands, core tight, back flat.
- Hike the bells back between your legs, then squeeze your glutes and stand up, driving the bells forward.
- As the bells reach shoulder height, pull the right bell to your shoulder. Punch the left kettlebell overhead. You’re essentially doing a snatch with one arm, a clean with the other.
- Lower the left kettlebell to your left shoulder. As you do this, bend your knees slightly and push your hips back slightly, as if reading to jump.
- Explosively stand again, driving onto your tiptoes and pressing the bells overhead.
- Lower both bells to your shoulder, then repeat with another combination clean and snatch on the other arm. Continue repeating this pattern until time is up.
- Aim to work for 30-40 seconds each set, and do 3-4 sets.
The Ultimate Kettlebell Shoulder Flow can fit into your workout in a variety of ways, although you may need to play with the weights you’re using. If you’re doing a standalone shoulder workout, make this your first exercise and don’t be afraid to push the load. If you’re using it as a total-body or upper-body or push-day finisher, keep the weights lighter. Either way, you’ll get a solid overall shoulder pump, and break more of a sweat than you might expect.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out his collection of full video workout programs by signing up for our Men’s Health MVP Premium program.
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