8 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Arms and Upper Body
Kettlebell workouts are super popular, and they are a great way to get in strength training no matter what fitness level you have. For some of the best kettlebell exercises for arms, read on as I share my favorite kettlebell arm workout!
Kettlebell exercises are coming up all over the place – and for good reason.
Using a kettlebell is an excellent way to increase your heart rate and increase muscle development all with a few quick exercises.
Even better? The kettlebell is a complete gym in one piece of equipment! For those of us looking to get in a quick workout at home but don’t have a lot of extra space, the kettlebell is the perfect tool.
Its small design is easy to pack away, but will guarantee a big punch when it comes time to get your sweat Its small design means it doesn’t take up much space and is easy to pack away, but will guarantee a big punch when it comes time to get your sweat on.
Interested in learning more about kettlebell training? Keep reading….
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Kettlebell Tips and Tricks
The kettlebell was designed by exercise professionals as a way to workout the entire body, but is especially great for working out the arms and core. It’s a tool I use with my clients, and my own personal trainer includes it in my weekly workouts as well!
Keep these tips and tricks in mind when working out and you will start to see muscle definition in no time!
- When holding your kettlebell, it’s important to ensure proper form at all times. Engage your core in order to only use muscle during each workout.
- When choosing the weight of your kettlebell, make sure you can do each exercise properly, with only the last few reps remaining difficult. At the store, try out a few different ones – including lighter weight and heavier weight – you might be surprised at how strong you are!
- Since form is so important, consider filming yourself or trying these moves out in front of the mirror until you feel comfortable. (This is what I do all the time!)
- It’s important to make sure you get a quality kettlebell, so make sure you check out these vinyl coated kettlebells on Amazon – they are my favorite!
Now that you know all of my favorite tips and tricks with kettlebells, let’s discuss the best kettlebell exercises for arms!
The 8 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Arms
The overhead press is a great workout for your core as well as your shoulders (the secret to looking really, really good in a tank top is strong shoulders).
To begin the move, stand up while holding the kettlebell at your chest with your elbows in. With your weight in your heels and a strong core, lift the kettlebell straight up until your elbows are fully extended. Slowly lower the back down to the start position and repeat.
Tip: While you are lifting the kettlebell overhead, avoid lifting the kettlebell directly over your head. Instead, picture the kettlebell has a marker tied to the end. You want to draw as straight a line up and down with that marker as possible.
This challenging workout is meant to be done slow and steady. Think about how the only part of your body that will move is the arms, everything else should remain still.
Start this workout on one knee, and hold the kettlebell handle at your chest with your elbows in. Make sure you keep your core braced, because you’ll really be challenging your stability here!
To see this move in action, watch my Web Story:
Slowly bring the kettlebell up the left side of your head, over and around down the right side of your head, returning the kettlebell back to your chest. Picture you giving yourself a halo with your kettlebell (hence the name!). Repeat the halo, but in reverse.
Single Arm Row
Single arm rows target your back and are excellent for your biceps. So of course I had to add this exercise to the list!
Start this workout holding the kettlebell in your right hand by the handle. Stand with the left foot forward, knee bent and your hips squared. WIth your chest proud and core strong, lean forward so that the kettlebell is now in line with your left heel.
Next, with your elbow in, bring the kettlebell up to your rib cage. Return the kettlebell slowly so that you are able to engage your muscles for the entire movement.
Keep your core strong and your shoulders and hips in line, only moving your arm.
Curl to Press
I call this exercise a 2-for-1! That means in one move, you work out 2 separate muscle groups, saving time and doubling your effort.
Hold the handle of a kettlebell in your hands with your palm facing forward, while standing up tall with the weight in your heels.
Keeping your elbows in, curl the kettlebell up to your chest. Next, bring the weight straight up over your head. Slowly return the weight back to your chest then curl the weight back down to your hips.
One of the best workouts to help keep your arms from wiggling is a good tricep workout. Of course, the best tricep kettlebell exercise is a skull crusher.
To perform the skull crusher, lay on your back with your knees bent and your arms extended overhead while holding the kettlebell.
Keeping your elbows in, bend your elbows and carefully bring the weight down to just above your head. Your elbows should be at a 45-degree angle. Next, return the weight back overhead with your arms extended.
Repeat 10-15 times.
There are so many plank variations that are useful for helping women develop their core strength. This plank drag is a great exercise to add to your workout routine.
Starting in the plank position, place the kettlebell just outside your left side. Placing all of the weight onto your left hand, grab the kettlebell with your right hand and slide it to just outside where your right arm was.
Carefully place your right hand back into the starting position and repeat with the left arm, returning the kettlebell to the original position on the other side of your body.
Note: this plank variation is advanced, so if you are having difficulties or have weaker core muscles, you can plank with your feet shoulder width apart for stability. If you need further assistance, start out on your knees as you train your core.
Perform this exercise for 30 seconds.
Floor Chest Press
A strong chest is essential for good posture and to help relieve upper back pain. The floor press (similar to a bench press) with a kettlebell is exceptional at developing those chest muscles.
Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent (this relieves pressure on the lower back) with the handle of the kettlebell in your hand. Bend your arms so that your upper arms are flat on the floor and your upper body is stable.
Press the kettlebell directly above you, straightening your arms. Next, return the weight back to the original position, arms bent.
Repeat 10-15 times.
Kettlebell Swing (for whole body including arms + grip strength)
One of the most popular exercises is the kettlebell swing, and for good reason. Not only does it workout the entire posterior chain, but this total body workout will even help with grip strength.
Begin the perfect kettlebell swing by standing tall, gripping the kettlebell by the handle with both hands. Keep your arms loose, engaging your core and your shoulder blades tight.
Soften your knees and, with the weight on your heels, drive your backside toward the wall behind you. Next, driving through your heels, pressing through your hips with extended arms you can aim to bring the weight up to chest height. The top of the movement should not extend above shoulder height.
That snap through your hips is done by snapping your hips, engaging your core, and flexing your glutes all at once.
As the weight begins to fall down, receive the weight between your legs and repeat again.
Repeat for 30-45 seconds.
There are so many reasons to add in a kettlebell routine to your workouts, especially to quick, effective home workouts. These kettlebell exercises for arms will not only build your strength, but your endurance as well. Be sure to always keep good form the whole time, and you’ll be building strength with these effective kettlebell exercises in no time!
So tell me… what are your favorite arm exercises with a kettlebell? Tell me in the comments below!
Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.