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Kettlebell Back Exercises

13 Best Kettlebell Back Exercises

Looking up kettlebell back exercises is a great place to start if you’re hoping to give your entire body the attention it deserves!

In this article, you’ll find the 13 best kettlebell back exercises, along with video tutorials showing you exactly how to perform each one. We’ll also cover how you can achieve the perfect technique and provide you with information on what muscles are used during each exercise.

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Upper Back Kettlebell Exercises 

There are different kettlebell upper back exercises that can be used to strengthen the shoulders and spine. These muscles include the deltoids, trapezius, and rhomboids. Making these muscles stronger can protect your joints from injury and improve posture. 

#1 - Kettlebell Halo

Set Up:

For this kettlebell upper back exercise, you will need one kettlebell that you are comfortable using with both hands. Locate a flat, stable surface with plenty of space, especially around your upper body. Make sure there is enough distance between you and the wall by avoiding cluttered areas.

Starting Position: 

  • Place your feet just over hip-width apart, keeping them straight. This will make your stance more stable and secure as you move the kettlebell around your head.
  • With both hands, grab the kettlebell by the horns using a neutral grip.
  • Hold the kettlebell out slightly at chest level with your elbows bent at a 45-degree angle in relation to the trunk of your body.
  • Ensure your back is straight and your neck is upright so you’re looking straight ahead.

Execution:

  • Before you begin, inhale and ensure your core is engaged.
  • As you start exhaling, move the kettlebell in a circular motion around the right side of your head and past your shoulder. As safely as you can, keep the kettlebell as close to your body as possible.
  • Allow the kettlebell to drop behind your head as you move it past your back. Keep your head forward and upright as you bring it back around to the starting position. Avoid lowering your chin too much as you move it in a circular motion.
  • When you return to the starting position, inhale again.
  • This time, move the kettlebell in a circular motion around the left side of your head and past your shoulder. Exhale as you return to the starting position.
  • Repeat.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Deltoids, rhomboids, and trapezius.

Secondary Muscles: Forearms, triceps, and abdominal muscles.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 - Pick weight as appropriate.

Common Mistakes:

Moving your neck too much - While it can be difficult to avoid when performing this kettlebell exercise for the upper back, refrain from bringing your neck too far forward when moving the bell around your head. This is to ensure you have the right technique and aren’t making the exercise easier by not giving yourself a full rotation.

#2 - Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift

Set Up:

For this next upper back kettlebell exercise, all you require is a single kettlebell and enough space to perform it in. Begin by using a lighter kettlebell if you are a beginner before moving onto heavier weights. If you want to perfect your form, why not invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes to help improve your technique?

Starting Position:

  • Stand tall with your feet just over shoulder-width apart and your knees facing forward. 
  • Relax your shoulders, making sure your neck is in line with your spine and your head is facing forward.
  • Ensure the kettlebell is positioned between your feet, and in line with your chin.
  • Lower yourself into the starting position by dropping your hips back and bending your knees slightly (they should stay behind your toes).
  • Using an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell by the horn with your right hand, and hold your left hand out to the side for balance. 

Execution:

  • Inhale, making sure your core is engaged by contracting your abdominal muscles. You can learn more about the importance of engaging your core here.
  • Exhale as you bring the kettlebell up to hip level, driving your heels into the ground and hinging at the hips as you do so.
  • Pause at the top of the movement for 1-2 seconds, keeping your knees soft. Inhale before you continue.
  • Whilst exhaling, lower the kettlebell back into the starting position in a controlled manner.
  • Repeat.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Mover: Hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, hips, and core.

Secondary Muscles: Back stabilisers, trapezius, deltoids.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Common Mistakes: 

Not Lowering into a Full Squat - Something to remember when performing this kettlebell exercise for the back is you must lower enough so the kettlebell touches the floor. This exercise will only be performed successfully if you lower into a squat, instead of only lowering halfway. 

Relaxing your core and glutes - When performing this exercise, ensure you are keeping your core tight by engaging your abdominal muscles and glutes.

Arching your back - It’s important to keep your back straight when lowering into a squat so you perform the exercise correctly. This will stop the kettlebell from touching the floor before you’ve lowered yourself close enough to the ground.

If you’d like to find out more about the importance of good posture, be sure to look at OriGym’s article on the 13 Benefits of Good Posture.

#3 - Kettlebell Upright Row

Set Up:

All you require for this upper back kettlebell exercise are two kettlebells, a stable surface, and plenty of space around you. Fortunately, this one doesn’t require much time to set up so can be done in any area, either indoors or outdoors.

Starting Position:

  • To begin, place your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing slightly out.
  • Ensure the kettlebells are placed between your feet for easy access.
  • Grasp the handles of the kettlebells in each hand using an overhand grip, and carefully lift them so they rest just above your knees.

Execution: 

  • Prepare yourself for the movement by engaging your core, and squeezing your shoulders and glutes.
  • Push your feet into the ground while keeping your legs and back straight, and inhale. 
  • Exhale as you pull the kettlebells upwards (leading with your elbows), until they reach chin-height.
  • Hold the position for 1-2 seconds, then lower the kettlebells back down into the starting position.
  • Repeat. 

Muscles Worked:

If you’re looking for kettlebell exercises for the upper back then this one is certainly worth a try! 

Prime Movers: Deltoids, teres minor, trapezius, serratus anterior. 

Secondary Muscles: Core, glutes, & quadriceps.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Common Mistakes: 

Ignoring the core - Ensure you are tightening the abdominals and glutes when you are in the full upright position. Make sure they are engaged at all times by not relaxing them too much.

Rounding the shoulders - It’s important to keep your shoulders pulled into their sockets when performing this kettlebell upper back exercise as it allows you to maintain correct form. It should also help with keeping your back straight and improving posture.

#4 - Kettlebell Pushup with Row

Set Up:

This next kettlebell exercise for the upper back requires two kettlebells and much more space than the previous ones on this list. A yoga mat or soft mat is ideal for this exercise to provide extra cushioning on your feet, but only as long as the surface is stable. 

If you’d like to invest in a pair of trainers which can be used for exercise, check out OriGym’s list of the 22 best cushioned running shoes here.

Starting Position:

  • Get into a high plank position with your feet around shoulder-width apart, and your neck in line with your spine.
  • The kettlebells should be positioned just over shoulder-width apart for easy access.
  • Grasp each kettlebell handle with a neutral grip, ready to begin the movement. Do so carefully, ensuring you keep your balance.
  • Ensure your core is engaged, and your position is stable before you begin.
  • Extend your arms and have them shoulder-width apart. The kettlebells should be directly beneath your shoulders.

Execution:

  • Inhale, and ensure your core is tight.
  • Exhale as you lower your chest towards the floor by bending at your elbows, and keeping good form.
  • Pause for 1-2 seconds once your elbows reach a 45-degree angle, and inhale before driving your body back up into the starting position. 
  • Exhale as you row the left kettlebell towards your back, keeping it as close to your side as you can safely manage.
  • Lower the kettlebell back into the starting position, and inhale.
  • Exhale as you repeat this movement with the right kettlebell.
  • Repeat, starting with the next push up.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Triceps, pectorals, and latissimus dorsi.

Secondary Muscles: Trapezius, deltoids, biceps, obliques, and rectus abdominis.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Common Mistakes:

Incorrect Hand Positioning - It’s important not to have your hands too far apart during this exercise. As mentioned above, keep your hands shoulder-width apart with the kettlebells directly beneath your shoulders.

However, if you’d like to change up your usual pushups, take a look at our 13 best push up variations here.

Placing Feet Too Close Together - If your feet are too close together, it can make it difficult to keep your balance when performing the kettlebell rows. If you’re unbalanced, you may end up twisting your body too much when performing the rows which will make this exercise less effective.

Not Performing a Full Push Up - To perform a full push up, you must have your chest as close to the floor as possible and your arms roughly at a 90 degree angle. If you don’t perform this correctly, you won’t achieve the full effects of this upper back kettlebell exercise.

#5 - Supine Kettlebell Pullover

Set Up:

This is another exercise that requires a lot of space, but only one kettlebell is required this time. A yoga mat or any kind of soft mat is also ideal for this exercise as it protects your back and head from injury.

Starting Position:

  • Sit up with your legs positioned at either side of the mat, and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold the kettlebell by the horns with each hand, using a neutral grip.
  • Carefully lower your torso to the mat, the kettlebell held securely against your chest.
  • Ensure your neck is in line with your spine, and that your shoulders are pressed firmly into the mat.
  • Press the kettlebell above you by extending your arms vertically over your chest, and hold it securely in place before you begin the movement.
  • Ensure that your core is engaged.

Execution: 

  • Inhale before you begin the exercise.
  • Exhale as you lower the weight behind your head, keeping your core tight throughout the movement.
  • Take the kettlebell as far as you can safely manage, and pause for 1-2 seconds at the bottom of the movement. Inhale.
  • Whilst exhaling, slowly raise the kettlebell back up into the starting position. 
  • Repeat.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi.

Secondary Muscles: Triceps, pectorals.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Common Mistakes:

Letting the kettlebell touch the floor - For this exercise, when you bring the kettlebell overhead, it’s best to hold it above the mat for a couple of seconds rather than let it touch the floor. While this makes the exercise harder, it also makes it more effective.

Arching your back - During this upper back kettlebell exercise, it’s best to relax your back so it touches the mat or soft surface you are resting on. This will make you more comfortable and improve your posture as you lift the kettlebell over your head.

Lower Back Kettlebell Exercises

There are many kettlebell exercises to strengthen the lower back. These muscles include the obliques, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae.

#1 - Kettlebell Back Extension

Set Up:

For this lower back kettlebell exercise, you’ll need a single kettlebell and a hyperextension bench. These can usually be found at your local gym. If you’re unsure of what other machines to use at the gym, check out our article on the best gym machines for beginners.

Starting Position:

  • If you don’t have someone to pass it to you, you may find it helpful to hold the kettlebell in one hand as you get into position.
  • Begin by positioning yourself on the back extension machine with your hips against the cushioned pads and feet fixed firmly on the leg anchor.
  • Grab the kettlebell by the horns in a neutral grip, and hold it to your chest in a stable position. 
  • Ensure your back is straight, and that your neck is in line with your spine. 

Execution: 

  • Inhale before you begin the exercise. 
  • At the waist, bend over the cushioned pad of the machine so your upper body is at around a 90-degree angle in relation to your legs. Exhale, and keep your neck in line with your spine as you do so. 
  • Pause for 1-2 seconds, and inhale. 
  • Exhale as you drive your torso back up into the starting position, leading with the muscles in your upper back. Ensure you don’t overextend your back by exceeding the parallel position. 
  • Inhale, and repeat the exercise.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Muscles Worked:

Primary Movers: Erector spinae (Lower back), glutes, and hamstrings.

Secondary Muscles: Core muscles. 

Common Mistakes:

Overextending your back - For this lower back kettlebell exercise, it’s important not to exceed the parallel position when you rise from the starting position. This could lead to injury as it puts a lot of pressure on your back muscles to pull you up after you’ve been leaning over the back extension machine.

Moving your feet - Stability is vital for the kettlebell back extension so it’s important you are performing it with the proper form. Your lower body should remain fixed in the same position so you can focus on using your lower back muscles to pull you up. Refrain from moving your feet or legs too much to avoid losing balance or falling off the machine.

#2 - Kettlebell Bob & Weave

Set Up:

This exercise requires only one kettlebell and plenty of space to perform it in. You may find it beneficial to use a soft mat for this one to avoid slipping when moving side to side.

Starting Position: 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Using a neutral grip, hold the kettlebell with both hands at chest level. 

Execution: 

  • Inhale, ensuring your core is tight.
  • Begin by taking a wide step to the side with your right leg, exhaling as you do so. 
  • As you would during a squat, drop your hips backward, ensuring your knees stay behind your toes.
  • Using your right leg, quickly drive yourself upwards as you continue to move to the right until you have returned to the top position. You should now be one step to the right.
  • Inhale again as you repeat the movement - this time using your left leg.
  • Repeat.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Back stabilisers, trapezius, shoulders.

Secondary Muscles: Hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, hips, and core.

Common Mistakes:

Not Taking Big Enough Steps - It’s important for this lower back kettlebell exercise to ensure the steps you are taking when you move to the side are big enough as this will make the workout more effective.

Not Lowering Enough - A common mistake during this exercise is not lowering down enough when performing the squat and lunge to the side. 

As mentioned above, the best thing to do is imagine you are moving beneath an imaginary line. This will give you a better idea of how low you should be aiming for so you’re working your muscles correctly.

#3 - Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing

Set Up:

This exercise requires two kettlebells and plenty of space to perform it in, especially as you’ll be swinging the kettlebells in front of you.

Starting Position:

  • Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Drop your hips backwards, so that your knees are slightly bent and your torso is at around a 90-degree angle in relation to your thighs. 
  • Grab both of the kettlebells by the handles in a neutral grip, and carefully lift them so that they rest at around knee-height in between your thighs. 
  • Ensure that your back is straight, and that your neck is in line with your spine. 

Execution:

  • Inhale before you begin the exercise, and ensure your core is tight. 
  • Exhale as you swing the kettlebells backwards between your legs (to create momentum), before driving them back out in front of you by hinging at your hips in an explosive movement. 
  • Tighten your glutes as you do so, to help propel the kettlebells upwards (and protect your back). 
  • Keep your back straight throughout the movement, and be careful not to overextend. 
  • Once the kettlebells reach shoulder-height, allow them to fall back between your legs, ready for the next repetition. 
  • Repeat. 

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Quadriceps, hamstrings, deltoids, rhomboids.

Secondary Muscles: Obliques, glutes, trapezius, abdominals, lats, and pecs.

Common Mistakes:

Not Swinging the Kettlebell Enough - The aim of this kettlebell lower back exercise is to ensure you’re swinging the kettlebell between the legs. It must go past the legs to be effective, rather than stopping before this point.

Relaxing the Core - To get the most out of this exercise, make sure you are engaging the core and squeezing the shoulders and upper back too.

Leading with the Arms - One thing to remember with this lower back kettlebell exercise is that most of the power must come from the hips, not the arms. Hinging at the hips propels the kettlebell with more power, allowing it to gain greater momentum and keeps you in the rhythm. By hinging at the hips, the exercise is working the posterior, not the anterior, which is what you should be aiming for when performing kettlebell lower back exercises.

#4 - Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift 

Set Up:

This exercise requires a single kettlebell that you’re comfortable lifting with only one side of your body. Make sure the surface you’re standing on is stable with plenty of space around you to extend your legs. You’ll also need plenty of space to extend your legs out so make sure the surface you choose is stable. 

Starting Position:

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, placing your weight on the opposite leg to your working arm.
  • Hold the kettlebell by its handle in a neutral grip, with your free arm out to the side for balance.

Execution:

  • Engage your core, and inhale. 
  • Push your hips back and exhale as you lower the kettlebell so it touches the floor, raising the leg on the same side of your body (e.g. if the kettlebell is in your left hand, raise your left leg).
  • Keep your back straight and in line with your spine as you do so. 
  • Pause for 1-2 seconds, and inhale.  
  • Drive your heel into the floor and exhale as you raise the kettlebell up.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate. 

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back.

Secondary Muscles: Quadriceps, calves, hip flexors.

Common Mistakes:

Losing Balance - It’s important to ensure you put enough weight into the foot that will remain firmly planted on the ground during this exercise. This makes it easier to maintain the correct form and stops you from losing balance as you hold the kettlebell.

Relaxing your Core - Ensure your core is engaged throughout this exercise by keeping the abdominal muscles tight as if you’re getting ready to take a punch to the lower body.

#5 - Kettlebell Single Arm Row

Set Up:

All this exercise requires is a single kettlebell, a stable surface, and enough space around you to perform it. 

Starting Position:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Bend your knees slightly, ensuring your back is straight and your neck is inline with your spine. 
  • Tilt forward so your torso is at around a 90-degree angle in relation to your thighs.
  • Hold the kettlebell by the handle, using a neutral grip. Lift it carefully so that your arm is extended without fully locking it out.

Execution:

  • Inhale, and ensure your core and glutes are engaged.
  • Exhale as you row the kettlebell upwards so it is in line with your chest, bending your elbow at a 45-degree angle at the top of the movement. 
  • Hold for 1-2 seconds, making sure your shoulders and upper back remain tight.
  • Exhale as you return to the starting position.
  • Repeat. 

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Traps, laps, posterior deltoid, serratus, and rhomboids.

Secondary Muscles: Forearms and biceps.

Common Mistakes:

Improper Movement of the Arm: Although this exercise requires you to look down, it’s much more effective if you move your arm forward and back in an ‘arc motion’, rather than up and down.

Rounding Your Spine: Aim to keep your spine in a ‘neutral’ position. Make sure your head does not extend forward and your upper spine does not round too much, this will prevent the risk of injury while pulling up the kettlebell.

Whole Kettlebell Back Exercises 

While the above kettlebell back exercises target specific areas, these next ones are some general back fat exercises using kettlebells, effective for many different areas of the upper and lower back. 

#1 - Kettlebell Clean & Press

Set Up:

For this exercise, you require two kettlebells and an area free of furniture. As you will be raising the kettlebells in the air, avoid any spaces with low-hanging lights. To avoid this, it might be best to perform this exercise outside.

Starting Position:

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent, with the kettlebells in between your feet.
  • Your back should be straight, with your neck in line with your spine.
  • Using an overhand grip, pull the kettlebells up so they are suspended just between your knees.
  • Ensure your knees are soft rather than being fully locked out, and that your hips are slightly hinged backwards. 

Execution:

  • Ensure your core is engaged.
  • Inhale sharply, then swiftly exhale as you clean the kettlebells into the rack position by driving your hips forwards. 
  • It’s vital you pay attention to your hands during this part of the exercise and ensure your wrists are driven upwards through the handle, so the kettlebells don’t smack against your wrists. 
  • Take a sharp breath, and then exhale as you carefully press the kettlebells into the overhead position, without fully locking out your elbows. 
  • Hold the position for 1-2 seconds, then slowly and carefully bring the kettlebells back down into the rack position, exhaling as you do so. 
  • Return the kettlebells back down to the original starting position, and repeat.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Biceps, triceps, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, deltoids, and rhomboids.

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

Common Mistakes:

Not Gripping the Kettlebell - While performing this exercise, it’s vital you hold the kettlebell with a strong grip as it involves you lifting the kettlebell above your head. Using a tight grip will avoid injury by dropping it while holding it in the air.

Not Performing the Exercise Quick Enough - The quicker this exercise is performed, the more effective it will be. The movements should be done in a fluid and controlled manner without pausing or stopping too much as you move the kettlebells overhead. However, as this does involve you lifting and lowering the kettlebells, be careful not to drop them.

#2 - Kettlebell Snatch

Set Up:

For this next kettlebell back exercise, you will need two kettlebells and plenty of space around you. Avoid areas with lots of furniture and low lighting as you will be swinging the kettlebell overhead.

Starting Position:

  • Stand so your feet are around shoulder-width apart, with the kettlebells in front of you in a central position. 
  • Your back should be straight, with your neck in line with your spine.
  • Using a neutral grip, lift the kettlebells until they are suspended between your knees.
  • Ensure you have ‘soft knees’ (not fully locked out), and that your back is straight with your neck in line with your spine. Your hips should be slightly hinged backwards. 

Execution:

  • Begin by tightening your core. 
  • Inhale sharply as you drive the kettlebells backwards between your legs.
  • Using the momentum from hinging at your hips, drive the kettlebells upwards, exhaling as you do so.
  • The kettlebells should drive upwards in one smooth motion, instead of being driven into the rack position. The movement will be better controlled if your elbows are close to your torso during the lift.
  • When the kettlebells have arrived at the overhead position, hold it for 1-2 seconds and inhale.
  • Exhale as you carefully reverse the movement, lowering the kettlebells to the starting position and driving them back between your legs, ready for another repetition.

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Abdominals, quadriceps, hamstrings, deltoids. 

Secondary Muscles: Rhomboids, obliques, glutes, trapezius, lats, and pecs.

Common Mistakes:

Beginning with a Heavy Weight - For this kettlebell back exercise, it’s important to start with weights you are comfortable using. As two kettlebells are used for this exercise, it’s important to evenly distribute the weight so use two lighter kettlebells to begin with and work to the heavier ones when you’re used to performing the exercise.

Not Gripping the Kettlebells Securely - As you are pushing the kettlebells into the air above your head, ensure you are holding them firmly in your hands. Not doing so runs the risk of dropping them on your feet, or even worse, your head. This could result in serious injury, so stay focused while performing this exercise and hold them in a secured way.

#3 - Kettlebell Renegade Row

Set Up:

For this exercise, you require two kettlebells and plenty of space at the gym or at home to perform it in. You’ll probably find it beneficial to use a yoga mat to provide extra cushioning on your feet as this exercise may put a lot of pressure on your toes.

Starting Position:

  • You should begin the exercise as if you’re about to do a push up, but with your knees still on the ground.
  • The kettlebells should be placed shoulder-width apart, with the handles in a vertical position. 
  • Grab the left kettlebell with your left hand in a neutral grip, using your right hand for balance. Then, repeat with your right side. 
  • Extend your arms, and lift your knees so that they’re suspended in the air (your legs should be straight), and the pressure is transferred over to your toes. 
  • Move from putting the pressure on your knees and come onto your toes, only as long as you are comfortable doing so.
  • You should now be in the high plank position, balancing on the kettlebell handles. 

Execution:

  • Inhale, and ensure your core is tight.
  • Exhale as you row one of the kettlebells up towards your chest, until it is in line with your rib cage and your elbow is at around a 45-degree angle. 
  • Keep the kettlebell as close to your side as you can safely manage, and pause for 1-2 seconds. Inhale. 
  • Whilst exhaling, lower the kettlebell back into the starting position.
  • Inhale before you repeat this movement with your opposite arm. 

Reps:

Muscular Endurance (Muscle Tone): 12-20 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Gain): 8-12 Reps - Pick weight as appropriate.

Muscles Worked:

Prime Movers: Abdominals, obliques, triceps, biceps, pectorals.

Secondary Muscles: Latissimus dorsi, deltoids, rhomboids, trapezius.

Common Mistakes:

Not Rowing Properly - For this kettlebell back exercise, it’s important you row the kettlebell correctly for it to be effective. This means pulling the kettlebell up to your chest and bringing your elbows right back. You want to be moving the kettlebell back and forth in a rowing motion rather than up and down as this ensures you perform it properly.   

Twisting the Body - This is a common mistake often performed during the rowing movement of this exercise. If this occurs, it may be a sign the weight you’re using is too heavy and results in you twisting to the side as you pull the weight up. If you keep twisting your body, drop the weight and switch to a lighter one.

FAQ

What kettlebell weight should I use?

When it comes to using kettlebells during exercise, especially kettlebell exercises for the back, only you can decide what weights you are comfortable using. If you’re a beginner, it’s probably best to start light as you familiarise yourself with different workouts. Once you become comfortable with how to perform them, this is when you can gradually increase the weights.

As previously mentioned, when using two kettlebells, it’s best to distribute the weight evenly and use lighter weights. This means you won’t be overwhelmed when performing exercises that require two so are less likely to suffer injury.

Why do I need to strengthen the muscles in my back?

It’s important to strengthen the muscles in your back as this is the main support structure for the entire body. Strengthening your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, and erector spinae protects the spine and improves your posture which is important during daily life. 

Building strength in your back also helps prevent back pain in later life and can reduce stress on spinal discs and joints. If helping people who suffer from debilitating back pain is something you’re interested in then OriGym’s CIMSPA accredited level 4 lower back pain management course might be the thing for you!

Do I have to go to the gym to use kettlebells?

The great thing about kettlebells is that although heavy, they don’t take up much space and can be easily transported. They can be used at home, at the gym, or even outdoors, so you shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to workout if you can’t get to the gym.

If you’d like to purchase some of your own, check out OriGym’s list of the 13 best kettlebells to get started. In addition to this, if you don’t want to stop at kettlebells, we’ve got you covered with our guide on everything you need to know about building your own home gym here.

Before you Go!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the best kettlebell back exercises and have found some new ones to incorporate into your workouts! 

Whatever your fitness level, it’s important to continue challenging yourself while paying attention to all areas of your body - even the places you can’t always see in the mirror!

Before you leave, do you think you have what it takes to join the fitness industry? If so, OriGym’s CIMSPA accreditedLevel 3 Personal Trainer course might just be the thing to get you started! 

If you’d like to see what else OriGym has to offer, be sure to check out our FREE prospectus here to find the ideal course for you.

Written by James Brady

Fitness Writer & Enthusiast

James graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. His desire to find a place where he could combine his passion for writing and love of fitness is what brought him to OriGym. He believes his passion for daily exercise, especially running, is imperative in keeping him motivated and productive. As a result, he has a particular interest in the psychology of health and fitness and the relationship between physical and mental health. Outside of work, James enjoys reading, swimming, writing short stories, watching classic movies and has a keen interest in journalism and filmmaking.

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