Kettlebell Upper Body Workouts to Lose Weight and Gain Muscle

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Today we are going to dive into some of the best workouts for upper body strength. These workouts are full body workouts with a special focus on upper body muscle development. For kettlebell workouts you typically have 3 to 4 different types of workouts which you form together to create a round of workouts.

Below you will find 5 workouts I do with Kettlebells when working on my upper body strength and conditioning. You will find the bonus workout at the end which is a full upper body workout designed to be done once per week.

Upper body Kettlebell Warmups

Typically I like to spend 5-10 minutes warming up with a full body simple workout drill. This usually consists of basic two handed swings.

Warmup One

Two Handed Single Kettlebell Swing

12 Reps, 5 Sets, 90 second rests.

Warmup Two

Figure of Eight Through the Legs Front to Back

Around the world for 20 reps, 5 sets, 60 seconds rest.

Warmup Three

Around the World Kettlebell Turns Around the body

15 Reps, 5 Sets, 90 second rests.

Getting Started with Kettlebell Exercises

Before we get started you will need to either have access to a kettlebell, multiple kettlebells or purchase a kettlebell. When buying a kettlebell try to avoid smooth gripped kettlebells and aim to get a cast iron powdered finish, this will be the best quality. My suggested kettlebell can be found below.

Best Kettlebell for You!

  • Gravity Cast Iron
  • Powdered Finish
  • Wide grip
  • Perfectly balanced

Kettlebell Tips To Use While Working Out

Firstly always be careful and safe, if you don’t know the technique or form for a workout below then ask an instructor or google how to complete that exercise with correct form. At the bottom of this article I have linked videos with all the exercises with correct form. If you ever feel a twinge in a certain muscle group, take a moment, think through why it “twinged”: Did you warm up? Did you have correct form? Were you rushing? Take your time and make sure you understand what you are doing properly before diving in.

I want you to know I personally follow the workouts below and have done for over 6 months now, they work incredibly well for me and I hope they work well for you too. If you have any alternative workouts, share them in the comments below this post. Have a good workout Kettlebell fanatics.

Upper body Shoulder Kettlebell Workout: Boulder Shoulders

5 Rounds, 90 seconds rest between rounds and you just need one kettlebell.

5 Single Arm Gorilla Rows – keep elbows in nice and tight controlled movements.

5 Single Arm Cleans – Swing kettlebell from between legs up to rest on your arm.

5 Single Arm Thrusters – Squat and Thrust the Kettlebell up in a shoulder press.

6 Two handed Deadlift High-pulls – Tense your core muscles to brace your back.

Upper body Back Focused Kettlebell Workout: Cobra Back

7 sets, 90 seconds rest and use a medium weight for this workout, you will only need one kettlebell.

8 Single Arm Gorilla Rows – keep elbows in nice and tight controlled movements.

12 Kettlebell Swings – Power should come from your legs and glutes.

8 Kettlebell Suitcase Pulls

Upper body Arm Focused Kettlebell Workout: Burning Arms

Complete 6 rounds of these workouts with 90 seconds rest between each round.

20 Bicep curls – tense legs and core for good balance.

12 Overhead Triceps Extensions – Care not to go too heavy, slow controlled movements are better.

10 Hammer Curls – Neutral grip holding the kettlebell hand on the side.

10 Triceps kickbacks

Upper body Chest Kettlebell Workout: Powerful Pecs

Complete 6 rounds of these workouts with 90 seconds rest between each round.

10 Kettlebell Chest Press – Use a Bench or Yoga Mat to raise your body off the floor slightly.

10 Kettlebell Snatch Thrusters – One full segment is Snatch, Squat and Thrust.

Snatch the kettlebell up, then go right into a goblin squat bringing the kettlebell to shoulder height then whilst standing up from the goblin squat thrust the kettlebell up.

10 Push-ups – If you can’t do push-ups, start on your knees and build up to it.

Full Upper Body Workout Super Set

Complete 6 rounds of these workouts with 90 seconds rest between each round.

20 Alternating Clean and Press (10 Per side)

20 Gorilla Rows (Use two kettlebells is faster and more efficient).

10 Kettlebell Push Ups (If this is difficult, supplement it with normal push-ups).

10 Kettlebell Swings (One kettlebell with two handed grip).

10 Kettlebell Bicep Curls (Two kettlebells at same time is faster).

Kettlebell Farmers walk 30-60 seconds (Use heavy kettlebells for this).

How to Recover from your Kettlebell Workout

How to Recover from your Kettlebell Workout

Doing kettlebell workouts will leave you feeling extremely achy and it’s so important that you find the balance in taking time to rest and recover. Here are some personal suggestions I use to recover from kettlebells faster, I learnt this from attending the gym normally for 6 years before I switched into kettlebells so you can trust these tips are from years of direct experience I’ve gained at the gym.

Stretch the specific muscle groups you worked out at the end of your kettlebell workout, stretching before bed will also help recover these muscles even faster!

If your gym has a sauna, use it. Sitting or standing in the sauna has an incredible effect on your body, releasing recovery cells which only happens when in extreme climates such as extreme heat or extreme cold, these will repair your muscles that much faster!

Protein powder: Take 25g – 50g of protein powder before and after your workout. This is possibly one of the most important tips. Protein powder has a negative stigma among those who don’t use it but try to look past that. Protein is a simple food group and protein powder is just you giving your body the nutrition it needs to repair muscles. You wont suddenly become a body builder over night from having some protein powder, it will simply help your muscles have the nutrient to repair.

Sleep 7-8 hours, even if it means you lie in bed awake just make sure you are moving minimally in this time period so your body can work on repairing itself without moving around. Sleep is important and directly correlates to how long you will live! Getting good sleep is important so if you aren’t getting good sleep, go see your local doctor to find out why.

The following day when you wake up take 25g – 50g of Protein Powder, your body would have used up all your stores for this and it’s a good idea to get more into your stomach fast so it can work on repairing your muscles. Getting enough protein will mean your body will repair faster and you will be able to workout again with no aches or pains.

Taking 5g of creatine in some water everyday allows your body to recover faster from workouts and is generally really good for your hydration and health. Tons of science to back this up too!

Go for a walk! Sounds crazy right? Well going for a 20 minute walk will get the blood flowing around your body to the muscles which are sore. Even if it hurts to walk, still do it and you will definitely recover faster.

Rest Days: No more than two days off. We often get so achy from the gym we feel like we need to take a whole week off the gym to recover, the simple fact is we don’t. Being a little bit achy is fine and natural, going for another workout at a slightly lower effort level will help your body recover even faster, sounds counter intuitive but it works!

Product Suggestions for Working out with Kettlebells

Kettlebells

Kettlebells

High Quality Kettlebell designed by experts.

Powdered grip finish.

Perfect balance.

Protein Powder

Protein Powder

Different Flavors.

Grass-fed high quality protein.

Whey Isolate.

Creatine

Creatine

Creatine is the best nutrition supplement.

Supports recovery.

Improves workouts

Correct Form when Exercising with Kettlebells

As I mentioned in a previous section its vitally important you are being careful when working out with kettlebells, make sure you know the correct form of an exercise and you stop to evaluate if you ever get a slight muscle twinge. When I started with kettlebells my lower back would often twinge and it was because I wasn’t bending my legs enough in exercises, it took me taking a moment to pause and evaluate to find the problem.

If you need to work on your coordination when using kettlebells, I have designed a really good workout routine with kettlebells to improve your hand-eye coordination. For kettlebell beginners, it’s definitely worth checking out. Kettlebell Coordination Workout.

Kettlebell Exercise Video Vault – Learn Correct Form

Completing kettlebell exercises with good form can be really difficult to both do and explain through written word. Understanding good form for kettlebell exercises is best explained through video, so I have spent the time researching and finding the best videos which you will find below.

The videos show the correct form for each exercise mentioned throughout this article:

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