The Complete Kettlebell Chest Workout
One of the best parts about kettlebells is that you can quickly get a full body workout with a few key movements. However, you can also use kettlebells to target specific muscles like the chest muscles.
For this workout, you can use kettlebells to train your pectoral muscles for a sculpted body. Read below for our complete kettlebell chest workout.
Your Complete Kettlebell Chest Workout
Women should start with approximately an 18 pound weight and men should start at about 35 pounds. If you have a lot of experience with weightlifting, you can start heavier.
Do one circuit of this workout for a light to moderate workout and two circuits for a more advanced workout. Rest for two minutes between circuits and at least 10 seconds between sets.
Single Arm Plank Row: 12 reps each side
To perform a single arm plank row, begin in a high plank position with a kettlebell in one hand. While maintaining your plank bring the kettlebell up to your chest with a rowing motion, then return it to the ground.
This exercise not only tones the chest, it also works the back and core muscles needed to maintain the plank. To do this exercise properly, avoid leaning to the side as much as possible. It will be most effective if you square yourself off and hold your balance.
Don’t sacrifice your form for a heavier weight. It is okay to pick a lighter weight if you feel unable to maintain your balance.
Kettlebell Chest Press: 10 reps, 2 sets
There are a few possible variations of the kettlebell chest press. For this routine focus on the chest press using both arms and lying flat on the ground. If you prefer to be on a bench, that will also work. This exercise will work your pecs and triceps.
To start, make sure you have two kettlebells of the same weight. Lay flat on the ground with your legs extended while holding both kettlebell handles with the bells on the top side of your wrist. Have your elbows resting on the ground, and then push the kettlebells up by extending your arms.
Then, return to the resting position with your elbows hovering slightly above the ground and repeat the pressing motion. For many, this exercise forms the base of a good kettlebell chest workout.
Related: Complete Double Kettlebell Workout
Kettlebell Military Press: 20 reps
This exercise tends to favor the shoulders, but it is still an important one for working the chest muscles.
Start by picking up a kettlebell in both hands and performing a clean with each. Next, press both kettlebells all the way over your head, keeping your arms parallel. Bring the kettlebells back down to your shoulders and then repeat the motion for 20 reps. To do this correctly, lean forward as you press so that the weights are behind your head.
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Kettlebell Snatch: 5 reps, 2 sets
The kettlebell snatch is a basic kettlebell move that works multiple muscles. While it doesn’t directly target the chest as much, the snatch is important for developing power in the upper back area, which also needs attention when doing your upper body kettlebell workout.
It is a common misconception that the snatch is hard to learn, but fortunately that is not the case. When doing a snatch, start the way you would with a swing: kettlebell in front of you and feet in an athletic stance. Lower yourself down to pick up the kettlebell with one hand and then hike it between your legs. Next, hinge your hips forward, like you would in a swing, to bring the kettlebell up.
When your arm reaches about your shoulder, begin to press the kettlebell over your head. As the kettlebell reaches the top position allow it to flip backwards over your hand so that it lands resting on your forearm area. Try your best not to let the kettlebell slam into your wrists.
There are a few key things to remember when doing a snatch. First, is to keep your back straight though out the motion in order to let movement come from your hips. Second, is don’t try to keep your arm straight through the entire movement. Your arm should have a bend and your elbow should be leading through most of the motion.
Chest Flies with Kettlebell: 10 reps each side
Typically, chest flies are done with a dumbbell but they work just as well using a kettlebell. To do a chest fly, lay on a bench with a kettlebell in one hand. You will want to use a lighter weight for this exercise. Hold the kettlebell upside down. The bell should be resting in the palm of your hand with the handle over the back of your hand.
Extend your arm at a 90-degree angle and then bring your arm in over your chest, as if you were doing a one-armed hug. Then, return to the starting position and repeat.
This a particularly effective workout because it requires you to activate your stabilizer muscles to balance on the bench while targeting your pecs.
Kettlebell Pushups: 10 reps, 2 sets
A kettlebell pushup is the same as a regular pushup, except your hands are holding the handles of kettlebells while you do it. This position forces you to work your chest even more than a regular push up. To get yourself into position put two kettlebells flat on the ground and then put yourself in a plank position with your hands on the handles.
It takes a lot of energy to balance yourself on the kettlebells, which forces you to do the motion slower. The slow motion gives you even more tension, meaning you are getting a better workout than you would be with a traditional pushup.
Alternating Flat Press: 8 reps each side
An alternating flat press is a variation of a kettlebell chest press that requires you to be on the ground, so find a mat for this one.
To begin, lie flat on the ground while holding a kettlebell in each hand. Start by bringing both kettlebells straight up above your head. Next, slowly shift your body to one side.
As you shift, simultaneously lower one kettlebell while pressing the other so that your shoulder comes slightly off the ground.
While it may not seem like you can really work your chest with kettlebells, your options for kettlebell chest exercises are varied and plentiful. This routine will work every part of your chest as well as some other areas of the upper body, but you can also find variations of these exercises to try when you want to mix it up.
Remember, when choosing your weight, it is okay to pick a lighter kettlebell if you are unfamiliar with an exercise or not comfortable. Picking a weight that is too heavy could cause serious injuries, so pick lighter if you’re still learning.
Good luck with your kettlebell chest workout!
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