The kettlebell is an incredibly versatile piece of workout equipment for target training specific muscle groups. In today’s blog we are going to delve into 12 kettlebell arm exercises. Each exercise is covered in more detail within the accompanying blog post video.
1. Two handed bicep curl (horns down grip)
For the two handed (horn down grip) bicep curl, gripping the bell handle on either side with both hands, we are looking to take the kettlebell through the full range of motion in the bicep curl.
We tend to feel the most amount of tension in our arms and the bell, when the kettlebell is at the most upper point of the curl, as that weight in the lower portion of the bell is trying to pull us in the opposition direction.
It is importance that we brace our core as we move the kettlebell from the lower to upper curl position to assist us in maintaining a nice straight back whilst performing the exercise.
2. Horns up bicep curl
For the horns up bicep curl we are going to flip that kettlebell upside down, gripping the bell handle again on either side with both hands.
By simply flipping the kettlebell we’ve now placed that lower portion of the kettlebell further away from our body, which in turn makes the exercise more challenging at the point in the curl when the kettlebell is furthest away from the body.
The change in the position of the kettlebell also means we are loading the bicep from a slightly different angle and challenging a different portion of the bicep muscle through this exercise variation.
3. Crush grip bicep curl
For the crush grip bicep curl we are spreading and positioning our hands around the widest central part of the bell.
The crush grip name for this exercise refers to the inwards crush grip, light squeezing pressure, we apply to the kettlebell when holding it in this position.
This bicep arm exercise variation in particular also activates and recruits a proportion of the chest muscle during the exercise.
4. Single arm hammer grip bicep curl
The single arm hammer grip bicep curl (similar to the two-handed horn down curl), places a greater portion of the weight of the kettlebell further away from the body.
This means as we move the kettlebell through the hammer grip curl motion, we want to make sure we are bracing and engaging our core stabilising muscles to avoid twisting and to maintain a neutral straight back throughout.
This can be a challenging kettlebell arm exercise, so start light and work your way up.
5. Squatted preacher curl
The squatted preacher curl is another fun but challenging bicep kettlebell exercise variation. The position of the body in this exercise encourages us to go through that full curl range of motion, helping us to build rounded strength throughout the bicep.
6. Eccentric bicep curls
Now for eccentric curls we want to focus on the lowering part of the curl and doing this as slowly as is comfortable. For this type of curl variation, I like to work to a 3 to 4 count on the downward motion.
Now depending on the weight and where this exercise falls within a workout, you may also use your other hand on the upward motion to guide the kettlebell from the bottom position back to the top for the next rep.
7. Towel curl
For towel curl, you want to grab yourself a sturdy towel, then thread the towel through the bell window, then gripping either end of the towel we are going to lift the kettlebell through the curling motion.
Using the towel in this way with the kettlebell curl, gives you greater forearm activation through the exercise.
8. Overhead tricep extension
Holding the kettlebell in two hands at the handle we are going to take it into a central overhead position, from here we are going to lower it behind our head, taking our arms into a bent position and engaging those triceps as we go.
From here we are going to extend the arm back to our starting position and repeat.
9. Tricep kickback
Now for the tricep kickbacks, you want to set yourself in a position not dissimilar to the bent row, keeping a straight back, then starting with the arms in the 90-degree angle and holding the kettlebell at the handle, we want to kick back until the arm is in full extension.
Sometimes it can be easier to adopt a staggered stance when performing this exercise, so that is an alternative if more comfortable for you.
10. Skull crushes
For the next few exercises, we are moving to the floor, for skull crushes we are going to begin by lying down on the floor, and then we are going to take the kettlebell, place our hands round each side of the handle and then holding the bell overhead we are going to lower it behind our head and then back to the overhead position. You are going to really feel this on the triceps and secondly a little bit on the shoulders as well.
11. Crush grip push up
For the crush grip push up we are going to swap from under to over the bell, placing both our hands in that crush grip over the central part of the kettlebell, do take your time here to ensure you are stable and balanced before lowering yourself up and down over the bell.
12. Bicep curl to halo to overhead tricep extension
What is great about all these exercise variations, is we can combine and pair them in our workouts to hit both the triceps and biceps in one single sequenced movement, for example combining the two-handed curl into an overhead tricep extension.
We hope you enjoy integrating these kettlebell arm exercise variations in your workouts.
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