Kettlebell arm workout
Not many people think about doing a kettlebell arm workout. When you normally consider what your options are for an arm workout you may think about what dumbbell or barbell exercises you are going to do.
Many of the exercises will end up being the same or similar in motion. If you were to do an overhead triceps extension it would be the same.
However, the way in which the triceps would work would be different in a kettlebell arm workout due to the shape and the grip of the kettlebell.
For this reason, doing a kettlebell arm workout is great for training arms for beginners.
It is also a great way to add some variation into your arm workout if you are intermediate or advanced.
On many kettlebell arm workout you can increase range of motion, improve strength of your rotator cuff muscles and develop your muscles.
4 benefits of arm workouts with kettlebells
- You work some of the deep stabilizing muscles in the shoulder called the rotator cuff muscles. When these muscles become weak it can often lead to injuries in the shoulder joint.
- Increased range of motion. You can increase size without having great range of motion when you use dumbbells and barbells. However, kettlebell exercises force you to use a greater range. This helps you to build muscle through a greater range.
- Build quality lean muscle. You won’t gain crazy mass if you do a kettlebell arm workout like you would from barbells. However, you will build more defined arms.
- Improves grip strength. Due to the fact kettlebells centre of mass is 6-8 inches from the handle, which makes it harder to control for your fingers, wrists and forearms. This is important for when you want to do back exercises like pull ups, dead lifts, rows, etc.
What you will need for this kettlebell arm workout
You will need a stop watch in order to time your rest period between sets. For this workout you will be doing repetitions rather than time for each set.
Also, you should use two different weights during the workout. You will need a heavier weight for clean and jerk compared to Turkish get ups.
I would suggest using between 6-10 kgs for Turkish get ups for men if you are a beginner. For beginner women 4-6kgs.
For the clean and jerk and other exercises between 14-22 kgs for men and 10-14 kgs for women.
Remember that these are only estimates. If you find this range to heavy then use lighter weights.
The workout explained
The kettlebell arm workout will take 30 minutes to complete. It will consist 6 exercises. You will perform 3 sets of 12 reps and rest for 1 minute.
Start with the first exercise, which is the clean and jerk. Perform one set of 12 repetitions, and when you are done rest for 60 seconds. Repeat these 3 times before moving onto the next exercise.
- Clean and jerk
- Bent over row
- Turkish get up
- Kettlebell overhead press
- Kettlebell overhead extension
- Kettlebell upright row
Full arm workout with each kettlebell exercise explained.
Clean and jerk
This is a compound movement that is going to work your whole body. You will work your legs, bum, abs, back and arms in two big movements. Due to the fact that you are working such a large muscle mass you will release a large amount of testosterone which will help you develop lean and defined arms.
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Start with the kettlebell on the floor between your legs
- Squat down so that your bum is above your knees, and shoulders above your bum.
- Grip the kettlbell in one hand and begin the movement by standing up tall.
- As you stand thrust the hips forward and swing the kettlebell forward with a straight arm
- Once the kettlebell is at waist height or above pull the kettlebell towards you into the rack position
- Complete the jerk as shown in the video. Make sure you bend the knees before performing an upward thrust.
Bent over row
This is a great exercise for both the arms and back. Try to perform the exercise in a controlled manner with time under tension as you lower the dumbbell to the floor. Keep your eyes focused towards the floor in order to maintain a nice straight back.
- Lean forward by hinging at your hip joints so that your chest is facing towards the floor
- Keep your feet approximately hip width apart.
- Maintain a squared position to the floor with your hips and shoulders.
- Hold the kettlebell in one hand with your arm hanging down towards the floor.
- Lift the kettlebell up towards your rib cage maintaining a high elbow position throughout.
Turkish get up
There are hardly any muscles in the body this doesn’t work. Legs, bum, abs, shoulders. This is a great exercise for the rotator cuffs (deep stabilizing shoulder muscle). There are many stages to this lift, but once you master this lift it will be worth it! Throughout the exercise make sure your arm remains fully extended while pointing towards the ceiling.
- Start with the right arm extended and the right leg should be bent.
- Raise your right shoulder from the floor without moving your arm
- Bend your elbow and then straighten your arm until you’re sitting up with the right arm extend above your head.
- Raise your bum off the floor by pushing with your right leg.
- While your hips are raised pull your left leg from in front of you to behind you and place your knee on the floor.
- Turn your left leg till it is facing forward and then stand up from a lunge position
- Place your feet together and reverse the movement back down to the floor.
- For a full tutorial watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bWRPC49-KI
Kettlebell overhead press
This exercise works the back of the arms (triceps) and the shoulder muscle. Begin with the kettlebell in the rack position. You will see a few variations on the video, I recommend the first one. If you are not sure what the rack position is then read this article.
- Start in the rack position
- From the rack position the kettlebell up in the air.
- As you extend rotate the shoulder so your palms are facing forward.
- The arm must be next to the ear (this requires good flexibility in the back and shoulders).
- Finish by pulling the kettlebell back into the rack position
Kettlebell overhead extension
This exercise will work the back of the arms (triceps). As this is a smaller muscle you will want to use a smaller weight compared to the clean and jerk and bent over row.
- Start with the kettlebell above the head
- Bend the elbows until the kettlebell is lowered in line with bottom of your neck
- Extend your arms back to the start position.
Kettlebell upright row
This exercise will work the biceps, trapezius (upper back) and shoulders. The legs will also get a workout and help to increase your heart rate as well as testosterone release.
- Start with the arms fully extended
- Bend the knees and when your knees have finished extending pull the dumbbell up with your arms.
- When you bend your arms ensure that you elbow always remain higher than your wrists