Kettlebell Biceps Exercises
The American College of Sports Medicine describes the kettlebell as a cast-iron device used to perform a number of ballistic exercises. Those who wish to target their biceps muscles can achieve optimal results through the use of kettlebells. Several exercises that typically incorporate dumbbells can easily be modified and used in a kettlebell resistance training routine.
Bicep Curls with Kettlebells
To perform this exercise, use both hands to hold one kettle bell slightly below waist level, with your palms facing outward. Curl the kettlebell towards your chest. Return to the starting position. Because of the kettlebell's center of gravity, doing a biceps curl with a kettlebell is more challenging than doing one with dumbbells. For this exercise and the next two, complete two to three sets, with eight to 10 repetitions in each set.
Hammer Bicep Curls with Kettlebells
The American Council on Exercise reports that the hammer biceps curl not only works the biceps, it also engages the forearms, which is a difficult area to target. To perform a hammer biceps curl, hold the kettlebell by the handle with one hand, keep your arm relaxed along the side of your body and face your palm to your thigh. While keeping your palm facing your body, flex your elbow to bring the kettlebell to chest height. Then return it to the original position.
Upright Rows with Kettlebells
Finally, upright rows with kettlebells can lead to significant gains in bicep strength and hypertrophy. Start by holding one kettlebell with both hands slightly below waist level. Exercisers should position their hands with their palms facing their body. Use the biceps to pull the kettlebell to chest height, allowing your elbows to extend out to the sides. The American College of Sports Medicine states that bending the knees as the kettlebell is lowered to its starting position and straightening them as it is lifted can make the exercise more dynamic.
Safety with Kettlebells
Minding your safety is important when using any piece of exercise equipment. For best results, exercisers should start with light weight kettlebells and move up in resistance as they become more proficient with the exercise. The American Council on Exercise encourages those who are new to the equipment to consider working with a personal trainer or exercise physiologist to get a better understanding of proper technique. Use a spotter who is experienced in the use of kettlebells to ensure your safety.
- American College of Sports Medicine; ACSM's Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription
- American Council on Exercise; ACE's Personal Trainer Manual
- Manocchia P, Spierer DK, Lufkin AK, Minichiello J, Castro J. Transference of kettlebell training to strength, power, and endurance. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(2):477-84. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825770fe
- Vancini RL, Andrade MS, Rufo-Tavares W, Zimerer C, Nikolaidis PT, de Lira CAB. Kettlebell exercise as an alternative to improve aerobic power and muscle strength. J Hum Kinet. 2019;66:5–6. Published 2019 Mar 27. doi:10.2478/hukin-2018-0062
- Greenwald S, Seger E, Nichols D, Ray AD, Rideout TC, Gosselin LE. Effect of an Acute Bout of Kettlebell Exercise on Glucose Tolerance in Sedentary Men: A Preliminary Study. Int J Exerc Sci. 2016;9(3):524–535. Published 2016 Oct 1.
- Meigh NJ, Keogh JWL, Schram B, Hing WA. Kettlebell training in clinical practice: a scoping review. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2019;11:19. Published 2019 Sep 3. doi:10.1186/s13102-019-0130-z
Kathryn Vera holds a master's degree in exercise physiology, as well as licensure as a Registered Dietitian. Currently, she works as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehabilitation, where she provides care to patients living with chronic heart disease.