Every gym enthusiast works out with the sole purpose of getting jacked and stacked. Training with a purpose is what leads you to your peak physique.
Picking up those hefty weights has everything to do with two main goals: better physical appearance and enhanced strength. The universal rule states that the stronger you are, the more you will gain out of life.
When setting goals before training, your priority must be gaining more strength. Wanting a physique of a prototypical athlete is always high on a fitness freak's wish list, and we are all for that.
Improved physical appearance is directly associated with muscle gains. Whether male or female, tuning up your body is essential. And while you're grinding to your fitness goals, what if we tell you there's a way you can add more fun to your at-home workout routine? What you only need is the most dynamic workout equipment, a kettlebell!
In the modern history of fitness tools and equipment, none offers strength and muscle gains as kettlebells. Whether you want to enhance your athletic abilities or bulk up more, kettlebell workouts help you achieve all.
It is a fantastic way to build muscles because it focuses on compound training that targets multi-joint movement patterns and not isolated movements. This is the most efficient manner of training and releases more muscle-building hormones.
Kettlebells employ functional movement patterns that align with how humans are naturally moving. This promotes hypertrophy in an ideal way. Plus, it works your joints to move through their full range of motion. Since they work to their maximum capacity, you gain more muscles and strength.
A 2018 study reported that kettlebell exercises could restore muscle mass and improve grip strength in older adults. In addition, Harvard Health states kettlebell workouts can also enhance posture and balance.
5 Tips to Use Kettlebells Efficiently
Before we move on to the kettlebell workouts to try, it is important to be aware of the tips to use kettlebells efficiently. Here's how you can make the most out of it:
1. Use the Correct Reps & Sets
Choosing the suitable repetition range is vital to use the kettlebell efficiently. You need to pick the correct weight load, which is challenging enough for the hypertrophy rep. You must carry out the beginner reps easily, but the last couple of reps should feel burning.
The rep range should revolve around the following as per your fitness aims:
- 1 – 6 for strength
- 7 – 15 for muscle
- 16+ for endurance
- 7-15 reps
Since you have chosen the appropriate weight load, staying within the rep range of 7 – 15 reps is ideal for building muscle. Also, make sure to keep your rep timing slow. Stop at the peak of the movement for 2-3 seconds to contract the muscle. The maximum you keep your muscles under tension, the better the results.
2. Choose the Right Kettlebell Exercise
Kettlebell exercises are compound movements and are ideal for gaining muscle mass. There are two main categories to kettlebell exercises: ballistic and grind.
With the kettlebell grinds, you ensure slow and controlled movements, which keeps your muscles under tension. The more tension they are under, the more muscle you can recruit and the better results you will see for hypertrophy. The main movements under grinds are:
- Kettlebell Presses
- Kettlebell Squats
- Kettlebell Rows
- Kettlebell Single-Leg Deadlifts
Ballistics are swing movements that are explosive and dynamic. These exercises are excellent for burning calories. The main exercises under this category are:
- Kettlebell Cleans
- Kettlebell Snatches
- Kettlebell Jerks
- Kettlebell Swings
A significant chunk of your workout routine should include grinds when it comes to building muscles. This in no way means you can't include ballistics but keep it in the ratio of 80:20.
3. Take Proper Rest
Rest time is vital when performing hypertrophy exercises. It should be between 30 – 90 seconds. According to your fitness goals, your rest time should be:
- 10 – 30 seconds for endurance
- 30 – 90 for hypertrophy
- 90+ seconds for strength training
4. Use Progressive Overload
Progressive overload is a substantial element for building muscles. Irrespective of the kind of training, you must practice this. Building muscles requires increasing resistance, time under tension, and adaptation. This is done through progressive overload.
This generally means continuously putting more stimulus on your muscles as you progress with your workout. You can practice progressive overload by:
- Using heavier kettlebells to increase resistance
- Doing more reps and increasing the time under tension
- Minimizing rest time
- Trying more challenging exercises
An example of this can be that if you are doing seven reps of kettlebell squats in week 1, complete eight reps in your second week. If your workouts are getting easier week by week, that simply means you are not overloading your muscles enough. Your body quickly adapts to the load, so if you are not placing enough stimulus, it won't adapt.
If you are looking for a kettlebell that's high quality, long-lasting, and promotes high stability, then we would recommend you DMoose. It comes with ergonomically designed wide handles, ensuring a secure hold and comfortable grip.
5. Focus on Nutrition
Your discipline outside the gym is more important than what you do inside it. If you are not eating the right food, all your hard work in the gym would simply go in vain. Make sure you are getting good nutrition.
Eat plenty of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. Take 4-5 squarely balanced meals and stop eating when you're almost full. Don't devour to get super full. Keep yourself hydrated all the time since it's essential to follow a proper workout routine.
Top 8 Kettlebell Muscle-Building Workouts
1. Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift
Muscle worked: Hamstring, glutes, core, lower back, forearms
- Stand up straight with feet opened hip-width apart and hands placed in front of you.
- Grab the kettlebell with an overhand grip, i.e., palms facing inwards.
- Balance your body on the left leg and bend your torso forward.
- Once you're bent forward, the weight should not be touching the ground, while your right leg should be raised and aligned with your back.
- Slowly lower down your leg to complete one rep.
- Perform the desired number of reps on one leg before moving on to the other leg.
2. Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Muscle worked: Quads, glutes, core, arms, upper back
- Choose a kettlebell and hold it at your chest level. Put your hand over the kettlebell handle, keeping an inside grip.
- Bend your knees slightly, then push your hips back to squat.
- Once your thighs get paralleled to the floor, reverse.
- Ensure to keep your core squeezed throughout the exercise and push back through the heels of the foot.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
3. Kettlebell Floor Press
Muscle worked: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders
- Lower yourself down on the floor and bend your knees.
- Now hold the kettlebells in both your hands and keep them close to your chest.
- Raise your arms straight up towards the ceiling till your elbows are locked out.
- Return to the initial position till your elbows touch the floor.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
4. Double Bent Over Row
Muscles worked: Biceps, back.
- Stand while maintaining a neutral grip on the kettlebells in your hands. Kettlebell by DMoose is an ideal option for this exercise.
- Keep your head up and bend until your torso is parallel to the floor or slightly higher. Then, drive the elbows behind your body and retract the shoulder blades.
- Move the kettlebells towards you until your elbows reach the midline. Then, slowly lower them back to their original position.
- Continue repeating until you reach the desired number.
5. Kettlebell Clean and Press
Muscles worked: Quads, abs, biceps, glutes, hamstrings, triceps, upper back.
- Place the kettlebell between your feet.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Choose your desired weight, grab the bell's handle, and swing it between your legs, keeping your spine neutral.
- Keep your hips extended and swing the bell forward. The bell will then flip around to the front rack.
- Begin by dipping at your knees, then letting go as you push the kettlebell overhead.
- Flip the bell over your wrist and swing it between your legs.
6. Kettlebell Pullover
Muscle worked: Abs, shoulders, biceps.
- You will be able to hold a kettlebell with the horns while you are in a supine posture.
- Keep your hips flexed and lower the kettlebell overhead while you inhale.
- Return to your starting position, and then repeat the process for as many repetitions as you wish.
7. Kettlebell Windmills
Muscle worked: Abs, shoulders, biceps, upper back.
- Start standing with your feet as far apart as your shoulder’s width, then turn them, so they are pointing 45 degrees in the direction you will bend towards.
- Then get your weight over your head in the hand that is opposite the direction your feet have turned.
- The weight should be held above your head by the arm you are holding, and the other arm should remain in that position for the rest.
- The other arm should reach towards your feet. Keep your eyes up and your hips in the same direction as the weight. Fold forward until your feet touch the arm.
- Keep your back straight and brace your glutes. Slowly, return to the beginning position. Ensure your back stays straight throughout the movement.
MSP Fitness demonstrates in his video how the kettlebell windmill is the perfect shoulder exercise and how you can perform it seamlessly.
8. Russian Twists
Muscle worked: Obliques, core, shoulder, back.
- Start by sitting on the floor, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground.
- Lean back so that your upper torso is at an angle of 45-degree with the floor.
- Keep your back straight. Position your hands in front of your chest and engage your core.
- Hold the kettlebell from the center.
- Lift your feet off the ground.
- Rotate your arms to one side. Go all out and move as far as you can.
- Do the same on the opposite side.
Kettlebell is an excellent fitness equipment that helps you build strength and increase muscle mass. To perform the kettlebell workouts efficiently, you need to ensure the suitable rep range, keep your muscles under tension as much as possible, progressively overload your muscles, and take proper nutrition. All of this combined will help you accomplish your fitness goals within no time.
- Vancini, Rodrigo Luiz, et al. "Kettlebell Exercise as an Alternative to Improve Aerobic Power and Muscle Strength." Journal of Human Kinetics, vol. 66, Mar. 2019, pp. 5–6. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.2478/hukin-2018-0062.
- "ACE Sponsored Research Study: Kettlebells Kick Butt." ACE Fitness, https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/3172/ace-sponsored-research-study-kettlebells-kick-butt/. Accessed 24 Feb. 2022.
- Chen, Hung-Ting, et al. "Effects of 8-Week Kettlebell Training on Body Composition, Muscle Strength, Pulmonary Function, and Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation in Elderly Women with Sarcopenia." Experimental Gerontology, vol. 112, Oct. 2018, pp. 112–18. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2018.09.015.
- Godman, Heidi. "Should You Try Kettlebells?" Harvard Health, 19 Feb. 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/should-you-try-kettlebells-2019021916025.