Kettlebell Sots Press for Extreme Pressing Power!

This past weekend I pulled out the AOS Newport DVD to add a little variety to my training.  The last several months I have been focusing on Girevoy Sport lifts and Clubbell Trial by Fire training so I thought it was time to mix it up a little.  As I was working along with the DVD I came to a lift I dread…the Sots Press (curse you, Viktor Sots, not really it is an awesome lift!). While I was doing my cool down stretching I realized I could use the Sots Press to take my pressing power to another level in my GS training.   I am going to be adding the Sots Press as part of my assistance work for Kettlebell Jerk!  Here is a little more information on this press so you can try it too.

What the Sots Press is:

Basically, there are three steps.  First, clean the kettlebell.  Second, squat down with the kettlebell in the rack position.  Third, press the bell overheard to lockout while in the squat position. Then reverse the motion by lowering the bell to the rack and standing up.  Sounds easy enough, but don’t be fooled it is one of the trickier presses out there.

What the Sots Press looks like:

I got the above picture from Mike Mahler, so do me a favor and go over to his site.  All the stuff he puts out is awesome and worth every penny!  (I have no affiliation with him, so the only thing I get from you buying his stuff is possibly some good karma)

What the Sots Press works:

Obviously, this exercise builds pressing power, but it also improves flexibility and tension techniques.  You are going to work your shoulders, core, legs, and triceps.


If you are having trouble with the Sots Press there are two main issues..flexibility or you are using too heavy of a kettlebell.  Don’t let pride push you to bad technique!

Lower body: If you can not do a full squat (like Mike in the picture above) than work on developing depth in the squat.  A quick trick to identify your squat weakness is to lie on your back and pull your knees into your chest with your arms.  If your knees touch your chest than the problem is in your ankles otherwise time for some hip stretches.  Here are three of my favorite yoga poses that work the hips: Bound Angle pose, Fire Log pose, and Pigeon pose.  If your ankles are the problem use Downward dog and focus on touching your heels to the ground. 

Upper body: If you can do a full squat but are feeling excessively tight in the shoulders here are two great yoga poses for upper back and shoulder flexibility: Camel pose and Dolphin pose.

Still having trouble than use a lighter kettlebell.  I say that a little tongue in cheek as you may also be having trouble because you’re not keeping proper tension in your core.  You may need to work some core stabilization drills to develop the necessary strength in the torso so the Sots Press doesn’t become more a side press. 

Enough fooling around, get out there and crush it!

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