Kettlebell Exercises for Muscle Mass!

Introduction

We all want to look big, lean and aesthetic. The Greek sculpture-like physique is a goal for many trainees. Needless to say, such prominent development requires some serious mechanical tension (weight), and of course, time.

Most of us however simply do not have the time to go to the gym, even though that is less than 10 hours weekly, especially in the beginners’ phase.

Furthermore, the heavy dumbbells and barbells, when lifted in the wrong manner, can be dangerous for the joints, tendons and ligaments. This is where kettlebells come into play, as your best ally for quality workouts in the comfort of your own home.

Unlike barbells, kettlebells allow the arms to move freely and independently from one another. On top of that, kettlebells have a nice grip which takes away from the tension on the wrists.

This is exactly why they are also often used as warm-up weights, by professional weightlifters.

Workout Priorities

For today’s article, we’ll give you a bunch of kettlebell exercises which you can use to your own advantage, if your goal at hand is developing a nice physique overall.

This workout targets the entire body. We have shoulder exercises, chest exercises, back exercises, as well as lower body exercises.

Note that there are no isolated movements for the arms.

This workout is perfect for you if:

  • You are an intermediate athlete who’s looking to progress further
  • You are looking to diversify gym workouts
  • You don’t have time to go to a gym

You want to train in the comfort of your own home

The Workout

Below is a table that shows all the exercises and the numbers of sets and repetitions accordingly.

Right below the table is our exercise map, where we made sure to give you all the relevant visual showcases and written execution steps for each exercise.

Exercise Sets Repetitions
One arm kneeling shoulder press 5 15,12,10,10,8
One arm kneeling reverse shoulder press 3 10
Alternating renegade row 5 15,12,10,10,10
One arm floor press 4 10
Kettlebell thruster 5 15,12,12,10,10
Kettlebell swing 4 10

Exercise Map

One Arm Kettlebell Kneeling

one-arm-kettlebell-kneeling-reverse

Execution

  • Get into the rack position, where the kettlebell is on the back of your wrist and the palm is at upper chest level
  • Kneel down on one knee and keep the body straight and stable
  • Look forward, then push the kettlebell up and over your head in a controlled manner
  • After holding the peak contraction briefly, let the kettlebell back down to the original position
  • After you are done with one side, proceed to the next one

One Arm Kettlebell Kneeling Reverse

one-arm-kettlebell-kneeling-reverse

Execution

This exercise is similar to the previous one, but the thing is that in this one, the kettlebell is bottoms up.

The uncomfortable grip will make the body work harder to maintain balance, allowing you to engage every small muscle that assures balance is maintained.

To wield the exercise, you must make your whole body work in a synergistic manner, which then accounts for better muscle control and proper bio-mechanics in the long term.

  • Kneel down on both knees and hold the kettlebell upside down right by your head- the arm can be at a 90-degree angle at the starting point
  • Keep back straight and head looking forward, while also placing your arm wherever feels most comfortable
  • Push the kettlebell up slowly, while trying to maintain balance so that it doesn’t fall to the side
  • Hold the peak contraction briefly and let the kettlebell down slowly
  • Repeat on the opposite side when done
  • Watch out for your head!

Kettlebell Alternating Renegade Row

kettlebell-alternating-renegade-row

Execution

Alright, we need to mention here that the exercises are listed in no particular order and you can adjust them to YOUR NEEDS.

What we mean by that is that you can prioritize your weaker muscle groups by placing them first in the workout.

For this specific workout, we’re trying to help people with one common issue- Weakness in the shoulder line.

This is exactly why we place TWO shoulder exercises first. If, however, you feel like your back or chest are weaker groups, feel free to place them in the beginning.

  • Place two kettlebells on the ground and grab their handles (Closer than shoulder width)
  • Get into a push-up position, where you keep the body straight
  • Row one of the kettlebells up and past the back line, contracting the back musculature
  • Let the kettlebell go down slowly, then repeat the rowing movement on the opposite side

Kettlebell One Arm Floor Press

Execution

This one goes out to the most beloved part of every trainee’s workout – Chest exercises

  • Lie down on the ground and grab the kettlebell, keeping it just above your chest, with a slight bend in the elbows (Note that the slight bend will assure you’re using more chest than triceps.)
  • Let the kettlebell go down, until your upper arm slightly touches the ground – Do not let it rest for too long
  • Push up to the initial position, where the elbow is out of lockout – Feel the chest contraction
  • Once done with one side, proceed to its opposite

Kettlebell Thruster

kettlebell-thruster

Execution

Now we’re slowly moving on to the lower body, starting off with a classic exercise – The kettlebell thruster.

  • Grab both kettlebells and get into the rack position (Both bells are lifted up to upper chest level and are behind the palms)
  • Stand with your feet at about shoulder width and toes slightly pointing out diagonally
  • Keep torso, back and head straight
  • Squat down slowly, until your legs are parallel to the ground
  • Squat up explosively while pushing the kettlebells up and above your head
  • Once done with that, get the kettlebells back into the initial rack position and repeat the whole movement pattern

This exercise is the perfect full-body annihilator, as it targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, but also the arms, shoulders and upper chest.
Furthermore, we use the calves, spinal erectors and core as stabilizers, which is always a plus.

Kettlebell Swing

kettlebell-swing

Execution

To finish off the workout, we do another classic- Swings!

  • Place the dumbbell between your legs
  • Step with your legs wider than shoulder width and bend knees slightly
  • Grab the kettlebell with both arms while keeping the torso straight
  • Swing the kettlebell from between your legs to the front plane, until the arms are parallel to the ground – Contract the shoulders at that point
  • Go back down in a controlled manner, letting the bell go between your legs

Note that even though this is a swinging motion, it should be done via prominent muscle control, you should never just lunk it.

Workout Tips

Preparation

This workout consists of some fairly difficult movements, which is exactly why we recommend you to prepare beforehand. What we’re saying is simply doing a proper warm-up, that consists of mobility, stretching and contraction.

On top of that, you can throw in some low-intensity, low-duration cardio work, such as 5 minutes on the bike. This won’t take away from your strength for the weight lifting part, but instead, it will help you prepare the body for what’s to come.

Advise with a Personal Trainer

As we mentioned, the movements here are fairly difficult, meaning that you might be doing them wrong, even if you are a more advanced trainee.

The visual showcases and written execution steps are not enough in many of the cases, which is exactly why we recommend you to have someone objectively check your form.

Mobility & Stretch Work

Many of the exercises presented in this workout will tense your musculature to a bigger extent.

This is why we recommend you to keep the joints & muscles relaxed and mobile, by doing mobility work and stretching. Another good option for maintaining good heath of the musculature, is getting a massage at least once a month.

Bottom Line

Sometimes, the gym is just not an option, simply due to lack of time, or certain issues with joint pain management. If you’re a busy person, or more sensitive to bigger loads, then buying a couple of kettlebells for your home gym is your best bet.

Kettlebells allow for a good, healthy grip and take away the tension from many parts of the body, which would otherwise be overloaded from barbells and dumbbells. The workout we have presented for you is perfect for busy people who have a good baseline level of physical development. This sequence of exercises is fairly difficult, which is why we do not recommend it to beginners.

Ultimately, you can distribute the exercises in a manner that will boost your weaker muscle groups. This simply means placing those exact weaker muscle groups and the respective exercises, first in the workout.

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