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How can you use kettlebells to train your biceps? The kettlebell is a great piece of equipment which can provide you with enough exercise options for a full body workout and the biceps are no exception. Here is what you want to know.
The five best kettlebell biceps exercises are;
- Standing Bicep Curl
- Kettlebell Hammer Curl
- Kettlebell Incline Curl
- Kettlebell Squat Curl
- Reverse Kettlebell Curl
Below you can find the best kettlebell biceps exercises and how to do them as well as an example workout.
Best Biceps Kettlebell Exercises
Below you can find all the exercises which are the best and enough to build bigger stronger biceps. You can find a description of the exercise and a video of how to perform it. Under the list you can find an example kettlebell biceps workout.
1. Kettlebell Standing Bicep Curl
2. Kettlebell Hammer Curl
The hammer curl is very similar to the standing curl outlined above. The only difference is the way you DON’T twist your lower arms throughout the movement. Instead of ending the repetition with the palms of the hands facing towards the front of the shoulders, keep the lower arms and orientation of the hands the same throughout the repetition.
The front of your arms consists of more than one muscle. The word BI in biceps is a clear giveaway of that. There are two heads of the biceps; the long head and the short head. On top of that you also have the Brachialis or rather, under it since it lays under the biceps.
By not twisting the lower arm, you target the long head of the biceps and Brachialis more. The short head is targeted more by the normal curl. The short head is what gives your biceps it’s height. However, the long head and Brachialis give your arms more size under that peak.
So doing both is important for getting the most size and strength increases possible. Both exercises target most of the muscles in the front upper arm, they just lay the focus on different parts of the muscles.
3. Kettlebell Incline Curl
If you’ve got an adjustable weightlifting bench, this is a great exercise. Without a bench, you might have to give this one a pass.
Instead of standing up, you perform this exercise seated on a bench that has the backrest set to a 45 – 60 degree angle from the floor. This allows you to let your arms extend behind the body. This puts a stretch on the biceps which means you can exercise the biceps throughout a larger range of motion which leads to more size and strength growth. Also, weighted stretching helps build more strength and muscle.
- Set the backrest of a weightlifting bench to a 45-60 degree angle from the floor.
- Lay down on the bench and put your feet flat on the floor for stability.
- Grab one kettlebell with one hand. Keep the handle perpendicular to the body.
- Let your arm(s) hang down so they’re perpendicular to the floor. You’ll feel a bit of a stretch in your biceps.
- Contract your biceps and bring the kettlebell(s) towards your shoulder.
- Keep the elbow in the same location behind the body.
- Reverse the motion in a controlled motion.
You can either use the normal curl movement where you twist the lower arms throughout the motion or do a hammer curl where the lower arms stay in the same orientation throughout the movement.
4. Kettlebell Squat Curl
This is an interesting partly isometric (static) exercise with a dynamic movement for the biceps. This is a good way to turn a biceps exercise into a full body exercise. It combines an isometric hold at the bottom of a squat and a curl.
- Grab one kettlebell with both hands.
- Stand up straight with the feet wider than shoulder width apart.
- Squat down until your elbows touches the top side of your leg.
- While staying in the squat position and keeping your elbow planted on the leg, contract the biceps and bring the kettlebell towards the face.
- Slowly reverse the movement until the elbow is fully extended.
Because the elbow is stabilized on the leg, you can really focus on the contraction in the biceps. At the same time you get a great workout for the legs.
5. Reverse Kettlebell Curl
Finally one exercise that targets your upper arm muscles a little differently. Instead of holding the weight with the palms of the hands facing you, you grab the weights with the palms facing the floor so the opposite of the usual. Hence the ‘reverse’ in the name.
The benefit of this is that it is great for a few things; grip strength, lower arm development, Brachialis development. This means it targets muscles in the arms that other exercises target less and therefore is low hanging fruit for arm growth.
The movement is the same as the normal standing curl except you should keep the elbows a little closer to the body and aim to bring the kettlebell towards the inside of the shoulder and not outside.
You can do one arm at a time, use two kettlebells for two arms or one heavier kettlebell with both hands.
Kettlebell Biceps Workout
In the chart below you can see an example biceps workout for one week. This is just the biceps part so it’s not a fully body workout. You can easily combine this with a lower body/back or triceps exercises for a more complete full-body workout.
|Workout 1||Workout 2||Workout 3|
|Standing Bicep Curl||3×15||3×15|
You should use a weight that’s challenging and where you can just finish the sets with 1-4 reps in reserve. If you don’t have a lighter/heavier kettlebell that’s suitable, adjust the amount of repetitions per set.
After 2-3 weeks you might want to increase the weight you do these exercises with.
How To Optimize Your Kettlebell Workouts
Everyone has different reasons to work out. Some people want to look better, others want to become stronger to become better at a certain sport or just for everyday activities. Kettlebells are great tool to reach those different goals with a single piece of equipment. We all like to use our time as efficiently as possible though. So how can you get the most out of a kettlebell workout?
There are a few things you can do to make your kettlebell workouts more efficient and get better results;
- Consistency: Do 2-3 workouts a week every week for at least three months and see the results.
- Recovery: Make sure you recover in time for the next workout by eating and sleeping enough.
- Diet: This goes for any type of workout but eating well is important. Eat enough calories and clean food.
- Rest periods: Don’t play on your phone for too long between sets. Rest for about a minute and then do the next set.
- Supersets: You can make your workouts more efficient by doing two exercises that target different muscles immediately after each other without rest (e.g. 1 set bicep curls and then 1 set of kettlebell swings and then rest after the two sets.)