Seven Kettlebell Exercises for Size and Strength

Although my gym has kettlebells, nobody uses them for anything other than side bends. Most people are completely clueless as to what to do with this piece of equipment. I workout at a mainstream gym, so people at this gym use the kettlebell as they would any other weight.  They do conventional dumbbell exercises with the kettlebell, such as lunges and upright rows. The only real kettlebell exercise that I’ve seen performed is the two-handed kettlebell swing.

The two hand kettlebell swing is an excellent ballistic exercise that serves as the foundation move for all other ballistic kettlebell exercises.  Eventually, however, you’ll need to progress to more difficult kettlebell exercises if you want to gain size and strength.  Tactics and Strategies has a chapter on how to use kettlebells for bodybuilding.

The following are kettlebell exercises you can incorporate into your program to build muscle mass and strengthen the shoulders.  Keep in mind that for you to gain size on kettlebells, the kettlebell should not be light but heavy enough to keep your reps in the 5-15 range.

The One Arm Kettlebell Swing

Swinging the kettlebell with one hand instead of two hands really pulls on the biceps, so you will get much more biceps and forearm development from the one arm kettlebell swing than from the two hand swing.

Kettlebell Clean and Press

The kettlebell clean and press (KB C&P) is an ideal exercise for mass building, because the exercise itself consists of both a ballistic move (clean) and a slow strength move (press).  It is essentially 2 exercises in one.

Kettlebell Snatch

The kettlebell snatch is known as the “Czar of Kettlebell Exercises” and for good reason.  It is both technically and physically demanding.  But you will have monster traps, back, biceps and forearm, as well as explosiveness and strength endurance.

Kettlebell Windmill

This exercise will stretch your hips and strengthen your shoulders, obliques and triceps.  It will also increase your range of motion and mobility.

Turkish Get-up

The Turkish get-up is a very demanding exercise that strengthens the core and shoulders.  It requires quite a bit of coordination, but it will increase the mobility of your shoulders and hips.

Bottoms-Up Press

This exercise will strengthen your rotator cuff and your grip.  Simply press a kettlebell up in an upside down fashion (handle in hand, bell on top).

Kettlebell Curl

This exercise is purely for bodybuilding purposes.  Whereas true kettlebell exercises require a lot of technique and detail, this exercise is simply curling with a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell or barbell.  If all you want are big biceps, then this exercise delivers.


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