Regular use of a kettlebell back workout is the perfect way to balance out a life full of sitting and forward bending.
Kettlebells are an excellent tool for conditioning the back due to the frequent use of the deadlift movement pattern.
Below I have listed 3 kettlebell back workouts for you to use starting with the easiest and progressing to the most challenging.
Let’s get started…
Why Should I Workout My Back?
The back of the body is often neglected but working on your back has more practical benefits than the front of the body.
Here are the benefits of a good quality back workout:
- Improved posture: in a world that is dominated by forward bending, sitting and hunching over a computer, exercising your back will help straighten you up.
- Burn more calories: the back has a lot of muscle mass that if conditioned will help burn calories both during your workout but more importantly afterwards too.
- Prevent lower back pain: a good quality back workout will help to improve the stability of the spine and reduce the risk of potential back pain.
- Develop muscle: training your back will help add muscle and tone creating a thicker and wider back if done so using the correct load.
You can think of back workouts as using kettlebell pulling exercises as opposed to kettlebell pushing exercises.
The main muscles used during pulling based back exercises include:
- Latissimus dorsi (Lats)
- Trapezius (Traps)
- Erector Spinae
There are many more muscles in the back that are used for stabilisation and for assisting with pulling based movements but these are the main prime movers.
Can I Workout My Back Everyday?
The muscles of the back are just like the other muscles of the body and need time to rest and recover following a workout.
I would recommend that you give your back at least one days rest after each workout, depending on the intensity of the workout you may need to rest for even longer.
Pulling Workouts vs Pushing Workouts
Creating a balance between both pushing and pulling exercises is important to avoid any postural or overly dominate movement patterns.
You can mix up your pulling and pushing movements in each workout or separate them out into pulling based workouts on one day and pushing based workouts on another.
Due to the importance of pulling and back based exercises you could argue that pulling based exercises should outnumber all pushing based exercises.
When looking at your workouts over a weekly or monthly period be sure to balance out your pulling and pushing based exercises.
1Beginners Kettlebell Back Workout
Let’s start with a simple but highly effective kettlebell back workout for beginners.
You will strengthen your lower back and develop good stabilisation with the deadlift while conditioning and mobilising the upper back with the kettlebell halos.
Kettlebell Back Workout 1
- Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift x 8 – 12 reps each side
- Kettlebell Halo x 5 reps each direction
- Rest 60 seconds and repeat for 3 circuits
Save time by performing this workout as a superset. Complete each exercise one after the other without taking any rest in between.
Exercise variations: the single arm deadlift can also be performed with 2 kettlebells, one in each hand.
Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift
The kettlebell single arm deadlift if one of the most effective and important exercises for strengthening the back of the body from head to toe.
Not only does the kettlebell deadlift strengthen the legs, buttocks, lower and upper back but it also stimulates a hormonal growth response.
Keep your weight back on your heels and your back flat as you stand upright.
Squeeze your buttocks tight at the top of the movement and do not lean backwards and overextend.
Make sure your shoulder stays down and away from your ears.
As this is our strongest movement pattern be sure to use a heavy kettlebell once you have mastered the exercise.
Discover the single leg variation: Single leg kettlebell deadlift exercise
The kettlebell halo is an effective upper back exercise that also helps to open up and mobilise tight shoulders.
Holding the kettlebell with both hands take the kettlebell around your neckline.
Keep the kettlebell as close to your neck as possible and the elbows tucked in.
You can perform all the repetitions in one direction and then repeat in the other direction or perform one rep one way and one the other.
Learn more: How to use kettlebell warm up exercises
2Intermediate Kettlebell Back Workout
Once you have mastered the beginners kettlebell back workout you can move onto this more advanced workout.
This intermediate back workout will condition both the lower and upper back.
Kettlebell Fat Loss Workout 2
- Kettlebell Swing x 10 – 20 reps
- Kettlebell Regular Row x 5 – 12 reps
- Rest 60 seconds and repeat for 3 circuits
Perform these 2 kettlebell exercises as a superset one after the other without taking a rest in between.
Exercise variations: the kettlebell swing can be performed with one or two hands. The row can be performed with 2 kettlebells to save time or one kettlebell and alternating arms after the desired repetitions.
The kettlebell swing, like the deadlift, will strengthen the back of the body from head to heel.
Beginners should start with the two handed swing and progress to the one handed swing only once they can swing for 60 seconds without resting.
The swing with one hand will better develop the shoulder stabilisers of the back and core muscles.
Regardless of the variation you choose the back should remain flat throughout the entire movement.
Squeeze the buttocks and abs tight at the top of the swing and be sure not to lean backwards and overextend the lower back.
Kettlebell Regular Row
The kettlebell regular row will add size, strength and condition to the upper back.
Beginners should start with the one arm kettlebell row because using 2 kettlebells adds double the load on the lower back stabilisers.
Keep your lower back flat and weight back on your heels to load the hamstrings and gluteus muscles.
Pull from the elbows up and backwards to avoid hunching the shoulders around the ears.
Lower the kettlebell slowly down towards the bottom position with control.
If you are using 2 kettlebells you can also experiment with rowing one arm at a time or both together.
Learn more: 6 kettlebell row variations for a strong back
3Advanced Kettlebell Back Workout
The final kettlebell workout is for the more advanced kettlebell athlete and includes 2 demanding exercises that require both skill and good core strength.
Kettlebell Fat Loss Workout 3
- Kettlebell Snatch x 5 – 12 reps each side
- Kettlebell Renegade Row x 5 – 12 reps
- Rest 60 seconds and repeat for 3 circuits
This advanced kettlebell back workout can be completed either as a superset with one exercise after the other or by taking a 60 second rest after each exercise.
Exercise variations: the kettlebell snatch can be completed using 2 kettlebells and the renegade row can be made easier by using one kettlebell and supporting the other arm on a box or bench.
The kettlebell snatch is an explosive power based exercise that uses most of the muscles from the back of the body.
As with all deadlift based exercises it is the hips and buttocks that produce the power required to lift and drive the kettlebell upwards.
An aggressive hip snap coupled with a pulling movement will take the kettlebell up and overhead.
Keep the kettlebell close to the body and punch the hand through at the top of the movement in order to prevent the kettlebell from crashing down onto the wrist.
Throw the kettlebell out and over in order to return the kettlebell back to its path downwards.
Discover more: Ultimate guide to the kettlebell snatch
Kettlebell Renegade Row
The kettlebell renegade row if a powerful core and upper back developing exercise.
Due to the plank based position the core muscles have to work very hard to keep the back flat and prevent your hips from falling towards the floor.
The lower back and shoulder stabiliser muscles are fully engaged during this initial plank position.
The upper back and core muscles work even harder once you begin the row upwards.
Pull the kettlebell up and backwards toward the hip paying close attention not to hunch the shoulders.
Be careful when using 2 kettlebells that they do not topple sideways and trap your fingers.
Find this exercise difficult? Master the renegade row with these 5 progressions
Using These Kettlebell Back Workouts
How you use this kettlebell back workouts will depend on your goals and other weight training and sporting commitments.
As mentioned earlier try to be mindful of how your programs balance pushing and pulling movements.
The 3 workouts included here are short so you could add 1 or 2 pushing based exercises.
A simple set of push ups at the end of workout 1 and 2 would be a good option.
Those more advanced athletes can combine workouts, performing workout 1 and workout 2, for example, in the same session.
Finally, as with all weight training your body’s ability to strengthen and adapt to the load is your worse enemy so constantly look to increase loads or add a few more reps week on week.
Conclusion of Kettlebell Back Workouts
Using kettlebells to exercise your back is a very wise investment of your time.
Kettlebells lend themselves perfectly to back based exercises because many of them involve the deadlift movement patten like the single arm deadlift, swing and snatch.
Regular kettlebell back workouts will help to improve your posture, prevent lower back injuries, increase your fat burning potential and develop a strong good looking back.
Above I have listed 3 kettlebell back workouts for you to use. Start with workout 1 and only progress to the next workout when you can comfortably complete the workout.
Remember that rest and recovery are just as important as exercise so be sure to take at least 1 days rest after each workout.
Have you tried any of these kettlebell back workouts? Let me know more below: