Dumbbells often receive the most attention in the gym, but kettlebells can be equally beneficial. When you grip a kettlebell, your muscles need to adjust to the swinging instability at the extremities of your arms, presenting a different challenge compared to the stationary weight of a dumbbell. This makes an upper body kettlebell workout a fantastic option for arm, back, and chest training.
Benefits of utilizing kettlebells for upper body exercises
According to Kelvin Gary, the creator of NYC’s BodySpaceFitness, there is increased leverage with a kettlebell due to the gap between your hand and the actual weight. This tests your muscles in a distinct manner compared to dumbbells, which remain stationary on either side of your hand. The shifting position of the weight during a movement offers additional stimulus for your body to adapt to, increasing the demand for coordination and stability.
Kettlebells are commonly employed for swings, cleans, and snatches, as the altering position of the mass presents an extra challenge and feels more natural. Nevertheless, they can also be used for more conventional arm, chest, and back exercises such as rows and bicep curls.
Elements of an upper body kettlebell routine
An upper body regimen should activate the chest, back, and arms, engaging both major muscle groups like the pecs and lats, and smaller, more isolated muscles like the biceps and triceps.
When devising a strength-focused workout, it’s crucial to target your major muscle groups evenly. One method to achieve this is by structuring the workout to address all major muscle groups and allowing for a suitable amount of rest between training sessions for the same muscle groups.
Kettlebells are effective for push/pull workouts and replicate real-life movements, making them particularly beneficial for functional exercises.
An upper body kettlebell routine achievable in under 20 minutes
The format and additional challenge of using a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell introduce an entertaining, muscle-boosting twist to the workout. The exercises comprise single-arm rows, tricep extensions, and bicep curls, as well as forceful cleans and close grip chest presses.
The routine not only targets the arms and back, but also involves the legs and core, delivering a full-body workout in under 20 minutes.
The five upper body kettlebell drills included
1. Single-arm rows
Position yourself in a narrow lunge, lean forward until your torso is parallel to the floor, and propel the elbow upwards and outwards to draw the kettlebell towards your hip.
2. Tricep extensions
Grasp the kettlebell with both hands, elevate it directly overhead, then lower it behind your head by bending at the elbows.
3. Bicep curls
Completely straighten the arms downward, then flex at the elbows to bring the kettlebell upwards toward the chin and hold for a second at the apex.
4. Row to clean
Execute a row followed by a forceful clean, engaging the legs to propel your body upwards.
5. Close grip press
Recline on your back, grip the kettlebell with both hands extended upwards above your chest, then gradually lower it and press upwards again.