Kettlebells have a huge range of uses for almost any workout. They are awesome for spicing up your training and even for taking a step away from your usual dumbbell or barbell workout. Even some unique workouts can benefit from adding in kettlebells. In this article, we're looking at kettlebell exercises that hit your arms and abs, which is a highly sought-after muscle combination. Strength training is what benefits from variation, so why not throw this curve ball into your routine!

Arm exercises

Overhead extensions

Overhead extensions are a great tricep builder, and you can do them with practically any piece of weight equipment. Kettlebells are a great example of it. That means you can hold the weight with it angled behind you and give the movement that extra kick! Just make sure that you can support yourself through the whole exercise!

Kettlebell floor press

The floor press is another example of how the shape of the weight can change things up for you. Any floor chest press is going to be good at safely hitting your pecs with minimal risk of injury. All you need to do is lay flat on the floor, get the weights comfortable in your hands however you need to, and really push from your chest until your arms are fully extended.

Hammer curls

Moving on to the biceps, kettlebells again offer a unique way to mix things up. The shape of the weight is really doing you a favour here. Grip the kettlebells as you normally would do, but with a neutral grip as is standard for a hammer curl. Keep your elbows tight to your body and pivoted so they aren’t moving and contract your biceps to lift the weight. Don’t sway, the work is all in the biceps!

Narrow kettlebell curls

Close grip bicep curls can be done with any piece of weighted equipment really, but kettlebells are still more than useful for it. A close grip bicep curl means that you’re hitting the outer head of the biceps quite dramatically more than you normally would, which is great for keeping your arms pumped and trained equally.

It’s easy to develop weak points after all. Use both hands on one kettlebell, and with an underhand grip, bring it up to your chest. You’ll be able to use a heavier weight than with most of the other exercises on the list too!

Ab Exercises

Russian Twists

kettlebell russian twists

Russian twists are an awesome core exercise. They predominantly hit your oblique (side) muscles more than anything else from the twisting motion, but they do work your abs as a whole, which is awesome. Contract your upper abs to get yourself into a crunch like position, and as you hold the weight, turn your core with the weight 90 degrees each way slowly. You’ll feel the burn pretty much instantly!

Woodchops

This is a similar type of motion to the Russian twists, but it uses even more muscles and requires more stability. Do this one stood up, with a downward swinging up and across movement. Wherever you start, pull the weight diagonally across your body in a full motion range. Train each side equally, and don’t rely on the momentum of the weight. The more control you have, the better.

Weighted crunch

Weighted crunches are pretty much exactly what they sound like. Crunches are in most ab workouts for a good reason after all. They hit your upper abs, hard. Hold the weight close to your core, and don’t build up momentum as you’re moving. Keep things slow and tight for the best contractions and the best results.

Mountain climbers

Last but not least, we have mountain climbers. These are not weighted exercises, but the use of the kettlebell shape means that you can use the grips to throw a challenging lack of stability element in there to fire your abs up. Hold onto the kettlebells placed on the floor as you are in a plank type position and bring your knees to your chest one leg at a time. It’s purely a lower ab builder, but a great one at that.

All these exercises together in one workout should exhaust each of the muscles you’re trying to hit. Workout styles are variable depending on what you enjoy, but try a semi Tabata workout at your highest intensity like this one below.

Tabata Style HIIT Workout

Exercise Time
Extensions 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
Floor Press 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
Hammer Curls 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
Close Grip Curls 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
Russian Twists 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
Woodchops 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
Weighted Crunches 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
Mountain Climbers 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest

Conventional Strength Workout

Exercise Sets x Reps
Extensions 4x10
Floor Press 4x8
Hammer Curls 4x10
Close Grip Curls 4x8
Russian Twists 4x16
Woodchops 4x10
Weighted Crunches 4x16
Mountain Climbers 4x16

Both of these are a kettlebell workout that is to use in a short amount of time. Kettlebells are great pieces of strength equipment, especially if you’re trying to mix things up. Variation is the key to progress in your fitness, as a one-off or as a new staple of your workout plan. Make the most of your work!

If you want to try another kettlebell workout, try our lower body kettlebell workout too!

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.