Great Kettlebell Exercises for Building Upper Body Strength

If you’re looking to bulk up and want to focus on building upper body muscle, then I highly recommend you get a kettlebell.

Unlike normal dumbbells, kettlebells allow you a better range of motion, which translates into a tougher workout that challenges a lot of different muscle groups, and not just the isolated muscle an individual exercise might focus on.

Here are a couple of my favorite exercises to include in the mix.

Figure 8

If you want to learn how to do a Figure 8, then your best bet is going to be to start with a light-weight kettlebell and work your way up from there.

To perform this exercise, you’re going to be passing the kettlebell through your legs in a figure 8 motion. This works a series of arm and lower back muscles.

figure 8

Don’t be fooled by it’s appearance, the figure 8 is a very powerful and challenging exercise, and doing it correctly takes practice. It’s best to practice the exercise on a small kettlebell for at least a week, in order to make sure you’re using proper form. That’s the only way to make sure you’re not risking an injury.

Moving too quickly to a heavier weight could result in twisted muscles or simply overworking muscles you aren’t used to using in your weightlifting workouts, which leads to cramping and a need to take a few days off.


Clean and Press

Easily the most popular kettlebell workout around, the clean and press is a great way to build arm and upper back strength.

To perform this exercise, start in a squatting position, with your hips bent forward, reaching your arms down to the floor. Begin by lifting the kettlebell by contracting your biceps, and then thrust the kettlebell over your head.

There’s a great step by step guide on how to do this properly in the video below. While the video uses a bar press and not a kettlebell, you can apply the same techniques to using the kettlbell in your workout.

Video couresy of

There are tons more great exercises out there if you’re starting out with a kettlebell, these are two of my favorites and together form a great part of an upper body workout that will build strength and form quickly!

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