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13 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Arms (2020)

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Looking for the best kettlebell exercises for arms? You’ll be glad to know that OriGym has you covered with 13 exercises that target your biceps, triceps, deltoids, forearms, and the surrounding muscles in the upper body. Whether you’re training for strength, muscle mass, or endurance, these kettlebell exercises for arms and shoulders will be all you need to achieve your goals. 

We’ve even included a rep guide towards the end of our exercise list, so that you know exactly how many reps and sets of each exercise that you should be performing within a kettlebell arms workout to achieve your desired results. 

Before we jump straight in, if you ever find yourself wondering what a career in fitness would be like, be sure to check out OriGym’s Online Personal Trainer courses, or download our prospectus here to find out more! 

Also, feel free to download our FREE 16 Week Home Strength Training Programme before jumping in.

#1 - Push Press

Set Up: To perform this exercise, you will need a pair of kettlebells of the same weight (whichever you are comfortable training with). 

Starting position:

  • Stand with your feet at hip width apart, pointed slightly outward
  • Have the kettlebell placed in front of your feet, at a distance of one foot away from you 
  • Grip the handle of the kettlebell, and clean it into the rack position 

Execution:

  • Inhale swiftly through your nose, and ensure that your knees are slightly bent
  • Shift your weight onto your heels and engage your core 
  • Whilst exhaling strongly and extending your hips upwards, drive the kettlebell into the overhead position by extending your elbows. Your arms shouldn’t be fully locked out, but almost 
  • Inhale again and drop your lats while you lower the kettlebell back into the rack position 
  • If posture and quality are affected in the motion at any time, then start the exercise again
  • Repeat!

Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Triceps, deltoids 

Secondary Muscles: Latissimus dorsi, trapezius, erector spinae (lower back) 

Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Dipping too far backwards, or too far forwards. In the starting position, you should ensure that you dip with your back straight, and your knees behind your toes. 
  • Not cleaning the kettlebell correctly. Keep the kettlebells close to your chest when in the rack position, rather than letting them hang out to the side. 
  • Arching the lower back. Therefore, always be focused on keeping the core tight as you move the kettlebells overhead.

Exercise Benefits:  

  • The push press is one of the greatest kettlebell exercises for arms. It allows you to press more weight than you would be able to during the military press, meaning that it’s perfect for working the triceps and the rest of the upper body when you’re training to build muscle mass. Check out OriGym’s guide on how to get bigger arms fast if you want to know more about this! 
  • It’s a great exercise to use for enhancing athletic power since it increases hip strength and explosiveness when you drive the kettlebell overhead. 
  • It sculpts the triceps, traps, and shoulders. It also helps with training the core stabilising muscles, which are important in many compound kettlebell arms exercises. 

#2 - Clean and Press 

Set Up: For the kettlebell clean and press, you’ll need a single kettlebell that you can clean and press comfortably. 

Starting Position: 

  • Have your legs shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent
  • The kettlebell should be on the floor between your legs

Execution:

  • Bend down (with the motion at your hips) and keep your spine straight. Grip the handle of the kettlebell
  • Swing it backwards between your legs, and clean it into the rack position. The bell should be resting against your bicep
  • To move the bell into the overhead position, press it straight upwards until your arm is almost locked out. Be sure to brace your core 
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and then bring the kettlebell back down into the rack position in a controlled motion 
  • Drop the bell quickly into a swing without lurching your arm to repeat the exercise 

Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Biceps, triceps, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, deltoids, rhomboids 

Secondary Muscles: Abdominals, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps 

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Having the kettlebell travel too far away from the body. This can result in injury, or put too much stress on your bicep. 
  • Poor alignment. Keeping a correct alignment is a must; a straight line from your hips to head is essential. It could result in injury to your lower back if not performed correctly. 
  • Poor movement into cleans. Cleans should move vertically, having the bell lay against your bicep. 

Benefits of this Exercise: 

  • Because the clean and press is a total body exercise (and therefore a great addition to a kettlebell arms workout), it includes many movements; squatting, pulling, and pressing. It is a great exercise to use within full-body metabolic conditioning workouts, and works wonders for building strength in the upper body, as well as in the biceps and triceps. 
  • It's also great for building overhead strength and stability, due to the unbalanced loading of the bell and its stabilization during the press. It places a lot of pressure on the shoulders too, which helps to boost strength in the arms as a whole and makes it one of the best kettlebell exercises for arms and shoulders. 

#3 - Kettlebell Jerk 

Set Up: All you need to perform this exercise is a kettlebell, a hard floor, and plenty of space around you. It might be best to start with a lighter weight while you master the jerk movement. When setting up your training area, make sure there are no obstructions close by. 

Starting Position:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and the kettlebell on the ground directly in front of you. 

Execution:

  • To begin the jerk, grip the handle of the kettlebell and clean it into the rack position. The kettlebell should be resting on your bicep 
  • For the first dip, slightly bend your knees while making sure your elbows stay in contact with your hips, and that your back is nice and straight 
  • Quickly after completing the first dip, explosively extend all the joints in your lower body and push your elbows off your hips. The movement should be strong enough to drive the kettlebell upwards, so that you can move it swiftly into the overhead position
  • With the kettlebells locked out over your head, extend your knees, and stand up. This is the second dip movement of the exercise 
  • Allow the kettlebell to drop in a controlled motion as you move back into the rack position, making sure to absorb the shock with your knees
  • Repeat this move for the desired number of reps! 

Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Deltoids

Secondary Muscles: Triceps, forearms, hamstrings, calves, abdominals, latissimus dorsi 

Common Mistakes: 

  • Lack of connection. Make sure you focus on the connections between your elbow and hips and the heel and floor when performing this exercise as part of your kettlebell workout for arms. 
  • Descending too slowly. Lowering yourself too slowly can minimise the effect of the stretch reflex.
  • Being too tense. Not relaxing enough can reduce efficiency and decrease your performance, and even lead to injury if it affects your form. 
  • Improper breathing. For optimum results you should exhale on the first dip, inhale on the bump, exhale on the second dip and inhale on the fixation. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • The exercise promotes good coordination, timing, and power. The movements required to complete it are complex and take some practice before they can be mastered, but once you do master these kettlebell arms exercises, it will play a huge role in developing strength and power in your deltoids, biceps, and triceps. 
  • It develops your ability to become strong, fast, and powerful over longer periods of time. If you complete this exercise using a lighter weight and for a higher number of repetitions, you’ll build muscular endurance in your arms and upper body. 

#4 - Close Grip Kettlebell Push Up 


Set Up: For this exercise you will need a single kettlebell large enough for you to balance on it using your hands. 

Starting Position: 

  • Start by getting into a high plank/push-up position with the kettlebell placed down in front of you. It should be on its side, with the handle facing you 
  • Shift your hands onto the kettlebell, using it as an anchor for the exercise, your hands placed as though you were performing a diamond push-up

Execution:

  • Ensure that your back is straight, and that your core and glutes are engaged 
  • Begin by exhaling as you bend at your elbows, lowering yourself down towards the ground in a controlled motion 
  • Ensure that your elbows are tucked in towards your sides, and that they don’t flare outwards
  • Once you reach the bottom of the movement, hold your position for two seconds 
  • Inhale as you propel your body back upwards into the high plank position, maintaining a strong core and straight body posture from head to toe
  • Repeat!  

Close Grip Kettlebell Push Up Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Triceps  

Secondary Muscles: Pectoralis major, deltoids 

Close Grip Kettlebell Push Up Mistakes: 

  • Not keeping a strong posture. If your glutes are pushed upwards or your legs are bent as you move your body up and down, you won’t feel the benefits of this exercise and you will risk injuring yourself (most likely your lower back) 
  • Rushing the movement. Remember to hold your position for two seconds at the top of the movement, as rushing it will mean that the core and triceps aren’t fully engaged, leaving you open to injury 
  • Moving your head and shoulders (one of the biggest close grip kettlebell push up mistakes). To help build strong shoulders, keep them tight and avoid slouching. Moving the head could also cause stiffness in the neck, so be sure to keep it in a neutral position

Close Grip Kettlebell Push Up Benefits: 

  • This is one of the best kettlebell exercises for arms and abs, since it chiefly targets the triceps over all other muscles, especially during the lifting phase and if reps are slow and controlled, but also hits the core
  • This is a great exercise that transforms the traditional push-up by demanding more balance and stamina from the entire body. It’s a fantastic way to build strength, and can even aid you in building muscle mass if you perform the right amount of reps and add some resistance 
  • If incorporated into a kettlebell arms workout, this exercise will ensure that you see an improvement with your push-up form, and also will help increase the amount of weights you can lift as you develop and strengthen your triceps. As you can see, the close grip kettlebell push up benefits are endless! 

#5 - The Halo

Set Up: With this exercise, you will need a single kettlebell. You may find it beneficial to start out with a lower weight since you’ll be moving the kettlebell around your head. 

Starting Position:

  • Stand with your feet at around shoulder width apart 
  • Grip the horns of the kettlebell (the vertical sides of the handle), and hold it in front of your face/just above your chest  

Execution: 

  • Engage your core and glutes, and ensure that your chest is up and your back is straight 
  • Begin to circle around your head with the kettlebell in a controlled motion, letting it brush past your ear (without making contact) and then drop slightly lower behind your neck
  • Continue the loop until the kettlebell reaches the starting position  
  • After completing your desired amount of rotations, try the exercise with the kettlebell circling in the opposite direction! 

Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Deltoids, triceps 

Secondary Muscles: Trapezius, rhomboids 

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Over circling. Keep the route of the kettlebell reasonably close to the body. Don’t make huge circles around the head. The forearm should slightly glide the top of your hair as you move through the exercise. When the kettlebell is behind you, it should be directly behind your neck or a little lower. If it is right behind your head, it’s too high. 
  • Poor posture. If your waist is bending to make larger loops, or if you’re bowing your back to bring the kettlebell behind your neck, then your stance isn’t stable enough. By rooting your feet shoulder width apart, relaxing the knees, and keeping your core tight before you begin, you’ll avoid injury to your lower back and receive the full benefits of the exercise. 
  • Holding your breath. Remember to breathe normally; it is usual for an individual to hold their breath during the execution of an over-the-head exercise.  

Benefits of this Exercise: 

  • The kettlebell halo truly targets the deltoids, and improves shoulder stability. It’s a perfect warm up for those who are looking to gain muscle mass in the area, as it prepares the shoulders for heavy lifting and improves their mobility. 
  • With this exercise, you strengthen your core as well as your upper body. Having core solidity will help you to have good balance and stability in other kettlebell arms exercises, especially the plank and mountain climbers, etc. If you’re into calisthenics, you should definitely check it out! 
  • Other benefits include improved upper body flexibility and mobility; if you suffer from stiffness in your shoulders or back, this is a great exercise to help. It creates a healthier spine, shoulders, and back. 

#6 - Renegade Row 

Set Up: You’ll need two kettlebells of equal weight, and an exercise mat. Place the kettlebells on the floor to sit slightly closer than shoulder width apart, ready for you to grip. 

Starting Position: 

  • Get into a high plank/inverted push up position by gripping the kettlebells in a overhead grip, and balancing on your toes 
  • Ensure that your back is straight and not arched, and that your neck is in line with your spine 

Execution: 

  • Whilst maintaining good form and ensuring that your core and glutes are engaged, drive into the ground as hard as you can with your left hand and foot
  • Pull the right kettlebell up towards your body as you would with a dumbbell row, until the handle is in line with your rib cage. Your elbow should be at a 45-degree angle
  • Hold this position for two seconds
  • Carefully bring the kettlebell back down again into the starting position 
  • Repeat on the opposite side of your body, and alternate until you complete your set! 

Muscles Worked 

Primary Movers: Trapezius, latissimus dorsi, biceps, triceps, anterior deltoids

Secondary Muscles: Rhomboids, obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae 

Common Mistakes to Avoid:  

  • Arching your back. Try to refrain from curving your lower back; it can lead to a lower back injury or pain. This is a result of weak core strength. You need to preserve a neutral spine; to help with stabilizing your spine, you can practice with planking. 
  • Rotating your body. The renegade row targets your shoulders, arms, back, and core, if done correctly. When you allow your body to turn, it can injure your lower back. Rotating your back, and shifting the weight, will only make the exercise easier, rather than permitting it to work your primary muscles. 

Benefits of this Exercise: 

  • When holding the proper position without arching your back, you’ll build your back, shoulders, arms, and even your core effectively. It’s a well-rounded exercise that involves many of the major muscle groups within your body, and it’s fantastic for building stability, which will help during other exercises. It truly is one of the greatest kettlebell exercises for abs and arms. 
  • With the motion that you complete using the elevated bells, you’re performing a deeper pushup. This greater range of motion means a more significant stretch of your muscles, and will increase your overall ROM in other exercises that use this motion. Plus, it will place additional pressure on your biceps, triceps, and deltoids, meaning that you can use it to assist you in building muscle mass in this area. 

#7 - Kettlebell Sit and Press

Set Up: For the kettlebell sit and press, you need to have a single kettlebell as per the weight that you are comfortable performing with during your kettlebell workout for arms. 

Starting position: To begin with, sit on the floor and spread your legs wide apart to each side. Then, position the Kettlebell with both hands on your chest. Be sure the legs are straight.

Execution:

  • Do a clean shoulder press with one kettlebell and then push it upwards with the momentum that is exerted by shoulder muscles unless it is overhead. 
  • Then next you need to bring it back to the chest as you will be lowering the body towards the floor.
  • Always make sure that while you perform this exercise you keep your heels on the floor. 
  • You can repeat this exercise as many times as you can do. 

Kettlebell Sit and Press Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Deltoids 

Secondary Muscles: Pectoralis major, triceps, serratus anterior 

Kettlebell Sit and Press Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Arching your back. If you fail to keep your back straight against the wall, not only will you miss out on the benefits of the exercise but you could injure your lower back or shoulder joints.
  • Slouching the shoulders. You need to keep your shoulders upright and against the wall to avoid injury, and to get the best out of the exercise
  • Lifting the heels. Do this, and you could injure the hip flexors
  • Using momentum. This will remove the benefits of the kettlebell sit and press, making it pointless. You should always perform the exercise in a controlled manner. 

Kettlebell Sit and Press Benefits:  

  • This exercise can work wonders for core strength and shoulder mobility. It’s one of the best kettlebell exercises for arms when it comes to building muscle mass and strength in the shoulders, depending on how you perform it. Bigger shoulders will make your arms appear larger too, so if hypertrophy is what you’re going for, don’t skip this exercise! 
  • Since a good amount of core stabilization is needed during this exercise, it helps with enhancing posture. This will prove helpful during other exercises, and in day-to-day life. The kettlebell sit and press benefits also include improved performance in other sports which require core strength.
  • It's known as one of the best kettlebell exercises for chest and arms, since it hits the pectoralis major as well as the shoulder muscles. 

#8 - Kettlebell Upright Row 

Set Up: All you need for this exercise is two kettlebells, a hard floor, and lots of space around you. 

Starting Position: 

  • Stand with your back straight and your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Your toes should be pointed slightly outwards. 
  • Grip the kettlebells in an overhand grip, and hold them at hip height with a slight bend in your arms 

Execution:

  • While engaging your core and glutes, and driving your feet into the ground, drive the kettlebells upwards until they’re almost at face height (this should be a powerful movement) 
  • Squeeze your shoulders and upper back by raising your elbows higher than the handles of the kettlebells, and hold this position for two seconds 
  • Using a controlled movement, lower the kettlebells back into the starting position
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Deltoids, trapezius, biceps

Secondary Muscles: Rhomboids, abdominals, rectus abdominis, quadriceps 

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Rounding your shoulders. Ensure you maintain scapular retraction by keeping your shoulders firmly pulled into their sockets.
  • Relaxing your core and glutes. When you are in the full upright position, focus on engaging and squeezing your glutes and abdominals, as if you were getting ready to take a punch. If you’re unsure how to do this, check out our guide on how to engage your core

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • This exercise increases muscle mass in the shoulders, particularly the anterior and lateral heads of the deltoid, when completed at a rep range of 8-12 reps. It increases strength when performed at a lower rep range, making it a great warm up for other shoulder-based exercises. 
  • It involves the biceps during the lifting phase, as it’s a pretty explosive movement, so it’s a great exercise to use if you’re looking to target your upper arms. 
  • Another benefit is the fact that it develops better cleans and snatches by boosting shoulder mobility and strength, so if you do struggle with these exercises or you’re looking to improve your technique, this is a great one to try! 

#9 - Farmer’s Walk 

Set Up: This exercise requires a pair of kettlebells of the same weight. Choose the weight according to your capacity and strength.

Starting Position:

  • Carefully bend your knees to lower yourself, and grip the kettlebells in an overhand grip, as if they were a pair of shopping bags. Your palms should be facing inwards
  • Keeping your back straight, lift yourself and the kettlebells up so that you’re standing tall, your back is straight, and your shoulders are tight

Execution: 

  • Once you are comfortably settled in the starting position, your form is good, and your core and glutes are engaged, you’re ready to complete the farmer’s walk 
  • Keeping your arms straight, begin to walk your desired distance (5-10 metres is a good starting point) 
  • Keep your shoulders tight and your core and glutes engaged for the duration of the walk 
  • Once you reach the end of the 5-10 metres, change direction and walk back to the starting point 
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Biceps, triceps, deltoids, trapezius, forearms 

Secondary Muscles: Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, obliques, rectus abdominis

Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Lowering your chin. If you do not keep your head straight and looking forward,                                   you could strain your neck or upper back
  • Having the kettlebells touch your sides. You must keep the kettlebells apart and far from your sides, so that the pressure from the added weight is properly placed 
  • Bending your neck or arching your back. You should maintain a straight and controlled posture when completing this exercise, and place most of the tension in your arms. 

Exercise Benefits: 

  • During the movement, your body is forced to maintain a straight posture due to being loaded with added resistance. This will help you to maintain a straight posture in your daily movements, and during other kettlebell arms exercises, meaning that injury will be less likely.
  • The kettlebell farmer’s walk works wonders for building grip strength, making it one of the best kettlebell exercises for arms. This will allow you to quickly progress in powerlifting exercises that require a lot of grip strength, like the deadlift and overhead press, and you’ll therefore be able to build your arms through other exercises. We actually have a full guide on farmer’s walk benefits, so do check this out if you want to find out more! 

#10 - Kettlebell Tricep Extension 

Set Up: For the kettlebell tricep extension, you’ll need a single kettlebell at a weight that feels comfortable to train your tricep with. If you haven’t specifically targeted your triceps before, you should start with a lighter weight while you adjust to the movement. 

Starting Position: 

  • Have your feet at around shoulder width apart 
  • Grip the kettlebell in an overhand grip with the arm you wish to start with. Your palm should be facing inwards 
  • Bend your knees slightly, and lean forwards so that your back is at a 45-degree angle in relation to the ground (keeping it nice and straight) 

Execution: 

  • Once you’re in the correct position, as shown in the video above, ensure that your core is engaged and your elbow is tucked in close to your body 
  • Your elbow should be bent at a 90-degree angle 
  • In a slow and controlled motion, extend your arm backwards until your elbow locks out 
  • Hold this position for two seconds 
  • Bring the kettlebell back into the starting position 
  • Repeat! 

Kettlebell Tricep Extension Muscles Worked 

Primary Movers: Triceps 

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids 

Kettlebell Tricep Extension Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Not completing the full range of motion. If you don’t fully extend your arm, you won’t be activating the triceps properly, and therefore won’t see the benefits that this exercise has to offer 
  • Allowing your elbow to drift outwards. You should keep your elbow tucked into your body at all times, so that you don’t place extra strain on the shoulders and end up with a nasty injury 
  • Arching your lower back. If you fail to keep your back straight during the movement, you could strain the area, or even sustain a more serious injury

Kettlebell Tricep Extension Benefits:

  • Since there aren’t many exercises out there that chiefly target the triceps, the kettlebell triceps extension is a must for those looking for effective kettlebell exercises for arms. During the lifting phase, the lateral head, long head, and medial head of the triceps are targeted through the added resistance of the kettlebell, meaning that it’s probably the closest you’ll get to training them in isolation whilst using this piece of equipment. 
  • If you’re training for muscle mass, one of the best kettlebell tricep extension benefits is that it is one of the key exercises that you should be performing, as the triceps brachii actually makes up around 75% of the arm, and supports the appearance of bigger biceps. The exercise can help you to achieve your goals, if you pair it with good nutrition and practise progressive overload. If you want to learn more about nutrition, check out our Advanced Sports Nutrition qualification to learn how to boost your progress! 

#11 - Kettlebell Push Up with Row 

Set Up: For the kettlebell push up with row, you will need two kettlebells. You might also want to use an exercise or yoga mat to make it more comfortable. Check out OriGym’s list of the best yoga mats if you’re shopping on a budget! 

Starting Position:

  • Have the kettlebells places around shoulder width apart 
  • Grip them so that your palms are facing inwards, and get into a high plank/inverted push up position whilst balancing on your toes 
  • Ensure that your back is straight and not arched, and that your head is in line with your spine 

Execution:

  • Perform a push-up by carefully lowering your body (bending at the elbows), pausing for a second, and then driving your body upwards 
  • Once you’re in the top position, push your shoulder blades together and lift your right elbow until the kettlebell is in line with your chest
  • Return the kettlebell to its original position 
  • Row the opposite kettlebell whilst maintaining good form, and then return it to its original position 
  • Repeat the exercise! 

Kettlebell Push Up with Row Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Biceps, triceps, deltoids, pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids

Secondary Muscles: Rectus abdominis, obliques

Kettlebell Push Up with Row Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Moving your hips too much. Try to keep your posture controlled and solid throughout the push-up. If you move your hips inwards too much, you won’t be engaging all of the muscles listed above.
  • Moving too quickly. It is a common mistake to try and complete these reps as fast as possible. You will engage your muscles much more effectively if you do these reps slowly with a controlled, powerful technique. 
  • Failure to achieve stable shoulders. The kettlebell can actually fall sideways and trap your fingers if you don’t have a stable body alignment. Make sure you practice a consistent, solid frame during proper push-ups before you introduce any weights to these kettlebell arms exercises. 

Kettlebell Push Up with Row Benefits:

  • This exercise is even more effective for working the arms and the rest of the upper body than the renegade row, and is one of the best kettlebell exercises for arms and shoulders, as well as the back. During the push-up phase, you place a lot of pressure on your biceps and triceps as well as your shoulders and upper back, making it a brilliant compound exercise to try if the renegade row has become less of a challenge. 
  • Another of the greatest kettlebell push up with row benefits is that it helps to prevent injuries during other kettlebell arms exercises because it contributes to core stabilisation, and works the postural muscles in the lower back. It will also help you to achieve better overall balance and posture.

#12 - Single Arm Kettlebell Row  

Set Up: For this exercise, you will need a kettlebell, a hard floor, and an obstruction-free space around you. You may wish to use a gym/yoga mat for added comfort and protection. Starting Position: 

  • Grip the kettlebell in an overhead position, but with your palm facing inwards 
  • Stand with your feet at around shoulder width apart 
  • With a slight bend in your knee and your back straight (and your head in line with your spine), lean forwards slightly so that your back is at a 45-degree angle in relation to the ground 
  • Extend the arm holding the kettlebell so that it is almost (not not fully) locked out

Execution:

  • Ensure that your core and glutes are engaged 
  • Using a neutral grip, row the kettlebell upwards until your elbow is in line with your chest. Your elbow should be at a 45-degree angle at the top of the movement 
  • Your shoulders should be tight at the top of the movement 
  • Hold this position for two seconds 
  • Carefully return the kettlebell to the starting position 
  • Continue with the desired number of repetitions on one side before swapping! 

Muscles Worked

Primary Movers:  Trapezius, latissimus dorsi, deltoids, biceps, triceps 

Secondary Muscles: Forearms 

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Rounding your spine. To prevent the risk of injury, you should keep your spine in an anatomically ‘neutral’ position, ensuring your upper spine does not round and your head does not protract forwards 
  • Improper movement of the arm. Your arm should move in an ‘arc motion i.e. forward and back rather than up and down, otherwise you risk losing the benefits of the exercise (or even injury) 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • It effectively targets the middle back, traps, biceps and triceps. It’s essentially a more concentrated version of the renegade row, as it doesn’t rely as much on the stabilizing muscles and arguably targets the arms further. 
  • It improves balance during pushing and pulling movements through regular practice, which is incredibly handy for those involved in sports or athletics that require this. It’s also good for those looking to build strength and muscle mass in the upper back and arms. 

#13 - Kettlebell Suitcase Carry 

Set Up: You will need a kettlebell to perform this exercise. You can pick a kettlebell of any weight according to your choice, strength, and capacity. 

Starting Position:

  • Bend at the knee to lower yourself, and grip the kettlebell so that your palm is facing inwards 
  • Keeping your back straight, lift yourself and the kettlebell up so that you’re standing tall, your back is straight, and your shoulders are tight

Execution: 

  • Once you are gripping the kettlebell tightly and your posture is correct, begin walking your desired distance (it may be helpful to place a marker)
  • Around 5-10 metres is a good starting point for beginners 
  • Walk just like you are holding a suitcase in one hand. Keep the arm holding the bell still, straight, and away from the body
  • Ensure that your shoulders stay tight throughout the movement, and that you keep your head up (facing forwards) 
  • Once you complete the distance, turn and return to the original position 
  • Hold the kettlebell in the other hand and repeat the same steps

Kettlebell Suitcase Carry Muscles Worked 

Primary Movers: 

  • Deltoids, biceps, triceps, trapezius, forearms 

Secondary Muscles: 

  • Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, obliques, rectus abdominis

Kettlebell Suitcase Carry Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Walking too fast. You should keep your steps slow and small to really feel the weight, otherwise you could sacrifice many of the benefits of this exercise. 
  • Leaning to one side. Most of the beginners lean their bodies to the kettlebell arm side. Aim to keep your shoulders in line and straight.
  • Forgetting to engage your core. You should keep your core muscles engaged during the exercise to protect your back from injury.
  • As it is mentioned earlier, select a kettlebell of your capacity. Do not grab a heavy kettlebell that can result in destroying your body posture! 

Kettlebell Suitcase Carry Benefits 

  • One of the biggest kettlebell suitcase carry benefits is that it works many of the muscles in the arms, shoulders, and forearms, meaning that it can work wonders for your grip strength. If you’re looking to take up powerlifting, we would highly recommend this exercise for improving your grip before you start out! 
  • If you have trouble maintaining good posture and form in other exercises, you should use the suitcase carry to improve this alongside the farmer’s walk. The fact that it forces you to concentrate on training one side of your body (and one arm) at a time makes it a useful variation. 

Sets & Reps for a Kettlebell Arms Workout

Now that you’ve got a good collection of kettlebell arms exercises to try out, it’s time to decide how you’re going to optimise your workout so that it will be effective in helping you to reach your goals. 

If you’re a beginner to weight training, you may not know that there are different sets & reps ranges that you should be training with depending on the individual fitness goals that you have. We’ll keep it nice and simple to avoid overcomplicating things, and so that you can get straight to your kettlebell arms workout with confidence! 

To train for muscle mass:

You should stay within the range of 8-12 reps for 3-5 sets per session, whilst using a heavy kettlebell. You should train with progressive overload, meaning that you increase the weight that you use incrementally throughout your training programme to build muscle hypertrophy. 

To train for strength:

You should perform less than 3-6 reps for 3-5 sets with a heavier kettlebell that allows you to reach muscle fatigue at the end of every set, if you want to use your kettlebell arms workout to train for muscular strength. 

To train for muscular endurance: 

You should perform 12 or more reps for 2-3 sets with a lighter kettlebell that you consider to be pretty easy to manage,if you wish to train for muscular endurance and tone. 

Conclusion 

Now that you know of the best kettlebell exercises for arms and how you should be performing them to achieve your desired results, there’s absolutely nothing standing in your way. 

After all, a kettlebell arms workout should be varied to keep you motivated; feel free to switch it up a bit each week! This is the best way to promote muscle growth or improvement in strength, and will help you to steer clear of plateauing. 

Interested in kick-starting a career in fitness? If so, check out our Online Personal Trainer Course here, or download our course prospectus before you go! 

Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Chloe on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Chloe graduated with a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and prior to OriGym worked at J&R Digital Marketing Agency on the Liverpool 'Female Founders' series. Since joining the company, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist. Chloe’s professional interests intersect content-development and the world of online fitness, especially across social media and YouTube, and Chloe has herself contributed pieces on fitness and weight loss to sites including the Daily Star and The Express. Outside her day-to-day role, Chloe enjoys playing the guitar, gaming and kettlebell training. 

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