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14 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Arms with Kettlebell Arm Workout

By Greg Brookes
14 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Arms that Perform Like An Athlete

It is possible to use Kettlebell Exercises for the arms but it is very important to understand that kettlebells are not used like classic bodybuilding exercises. Kettlebell training should be focused on movement patterns and not particular muscles.

If you want to just develop or add size to the arms then classic biceps curls or tricep extensions using a dumbbell or barbell would be a better use of your time.

Kettlebells when used correctly focus on the entire body and so treat the body as one complete functioning unit. In other words, most kettlebell exercises will develop the arms just because the arms are being used as an extension to the body.

However, that being said there are some kettlebell exercises that focus on the arms more than others. Below I’ve listed 14 of my favourite arm exercises along with kettlebell arm workout ideas too.

Kettlebell Tricep Exercises (backs of the arms)

Whenever you press, extend or straighten the arm you use your tricep muscles. So Push Ups, for example, are a classic exercise for developing the triceps. If you are not using the Push Up in your training then I highly recommend that you start not only for your triceps but for your chest, abs, glutes, shoulders and back.

Here are 4 excellent kettlebell tricep exercises that you could use in a kettlebell tricep workout:

1 Kettlebell Overhead Press

Kettlebell Overhead Press Exercise
Kettlebell Overhead Press Exercise

The classic overhead press can be performed with most pieces of equipment but it feels particularly good with a kettlebell.

Discover more: Complete guide to the kettlebell overhead press

Watch the Kettlebell Overhead Press below:

2 Kettlebell Push Press

Kettlebell Push Press Exercise
Kettlebell Push Press Exercise

The Push Press is a little more technical than the overhead press and is a technique used to lift heavier weights and also additional repetitions when the arms are getting tired.

The Push Press uses the body to help pop the kettlebell out of the most difficult part of the movement. When the kettlebell is at the bottom your arm is at a mechanical disadvantage so by using the legs slightly you are able to give it a little boost out of this sticking point.

Watch the Kettlebell Push Press below:

3 Kettlebell Tall Kneeling Press

Kettlebell Tall Kneeling Press Exercise

If you want to really focus in on the arms and shoulders then the Tall Kneeling Press will take the lower half of the body out of the equation.

A great exercise for developing pure pressing strength. You will need to keep your Glutes squeezed tight to ensure you don’t lose alignment and stress the lower back.

Watch the Kettlebell Tall Kneeling Press below:

4 Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press

Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press
Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press Exercise

You can also challenge your core a little more by pressing overhead from the Half Kneeling position. Have fun with this exercise by pressing from different sides with different legs forwards. You will find the natural cross body, right arm and left leg forwards, the easiest variation.

Keep an eye out for your weaker side and practice to develop equal strength on both sides.

Watch the Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press below:

Kettlebell Bicep Exercises (front of the arms)

The bicep muscles are activated whenever you pull something towards you so the classic exercise would be the bicep curl.

10 best kettlebell workouts

However, when kettlebell training we do not waste our time with isolation (bodybuilding) based exercises like the kettlebell bicep curl when we can target 100’s of muscles in one go.

Below are 6 kettlebell bicep exercises that you can use in your kettlebell bicep workout that will activate lots of other muscles too:

5 Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Kettlebell Goblet Squat Exercise
Kettlebell goblet squat exercise

The squat is a huge full body movement that targets so many of the body’s muscles and when the kettlebell is held in the Goblet position it targets the biceps with the kettlebell too.

You won’t get huge bicep muscle activation from this exercise but it does demonstrate that simply holding a kettlebell in a certain way will condition the biceps too.

Discover more: 7 kettlebell squats that you need to know

Watch the Kettlebell Goblet Squat below:

6 Kettlebell Regular Row

Kettlebell Regular Row Exercise
Kettlebell regular row

A superb exercise for working into the back of the body and core muscles as well as conditioning the biceps. Good form and technique is required to avoid excessive momentum and to ensure that the back is kept safe and flat.

Learn more: 6 kettlebell row variations for a strong back

Watch the Kettlebell Regular Row below:

7 Kettlebell Suitcase Row

Kettlebell Suitcase Row Exercise

A similar exercise to the regular row above except even more emphasis is placed on the arms. The body is kept in an isometric position meaning that the muscles are working against each other in order to maintain position.

Isometric exercise positions like this one are especially demanding on the full body and require good concentration.

Discover more: 10 kettlebell exercises for the back

Watch the Kettlebell Suitcase Row below:

8 Kettlebell Bottoms Up Clean

Holding positions included in the kettlebell course
Kettlebell Bottoms Up Holding Position

The bottoms up clean is an excellent kettlebell exercise for improving alignment of the body, warming up before other exercises and also working into the bicep muscles.

Make sure to practice on both sides and improve your weaker side to ensure balance throughout the body.

Learn more: 5 kettlebell exercises that you are not doing but should be

Watch the Kettlebell Bottoms Up Clean below:

9 Kettlebell Plank Row or Renegade Row

Kettlebell Renegade Row Exercise
Kettlebell Renegade Row Exercise

The plank row is a very challenging exercise for the core muscles as well as the back and biceps.

If you cannot hold a good front plank for at least 60 seconds then I would focus on that first and practice the other kettlebell exercises for the arms listed above before using this one.

Want more? Master the kettlebell renegade row with 5 progressions

Watch the Kettlebell Plank Row below:

10 Kettlebell Clean

Kettlebell Clean Exercise Uses the Hip Hinge
Kettlebell Clean Exercise

The kettlebell clean is one of the fundamental kettlebell exercises and is used to take the kettlebell from the floor up and into the racked position against the chest.

Good kettlebell clean technique should use the hip snap in order to ‘pop’ the kettlebell up into the racked position. Beginners often overuse the biceps during the clean movement but there is bicep activation during the exercise.

A good set of heavy kettlebell cleans will certainly overload the biceps and improve the look of the arms.

Learn more: Stop banging your wrists and clean like a pro

Watch the Kettlebell Clean below:

Kettlebell Combination Exercises for the Arms

As mentioned earlier kettlebell training should be focused on movement patterns, rather than individual muscles, and by doing so targets 100’s of muscles at a time.

Here are some combination exercises that not only target the arms but also 100’s of other muscles too:

11 Kettlebell Clean & Press

Kettlebell Clean and Press
Kettlebell clean and press exercise

There is a good reason why the Kettlebell Clean and Press is such an impressive exercise combination. As you have seen above the Clean exercise works the biceps and the Press exercise targets the triceps.

In addition to the arm muscle activation the Clean and Press also targets almost every muscle in the body making it an excellent full body conditioning exercise and superb for fat loss.

10 best kettlebell workouts

There is only one precaution, the Clean and Press is a complicated and more advanced exercise so the individual components of the Clean and then the Press should be mastered first.

Watch the Kettlebell Clean and Press below:

12 Kettlebell Squat and Press

Kettlebell Thruster Exercise
Kettlebell thruster exercise

Similar to the Clean and Press, the Squat and Press is a huge full body exercise that targets most muscles of the body. You won’t get as much bicep activation with this exercise as the Clean and Press but you will find it more cardiovascular.

Want more? How to master the kettlebell thruster 

Watch the Kettlebell Squat and Press below:

13 Kettlebell Lunge and Press

Kettlebell Lunge and Press Exercise
Kettlebell reverse lunge and press exercise

An advanced and more highly demanding kettlebell exercise than the other two exercises listed above. Again very little bicep activation but great for the triceps and the rest of the body, especially the buttocks and legs.

Learn more: 16 kettlebell lunge variations for the ultimate legs

Watch the Kettlebell Lunge and Press below:

14 Kettlebell Sit & Press

Kettlebell Sit and Press Exercise
Kettlebell Sit and Press Exercise

The sit and press exercise is a powerful shoulder and tricep exercise that also works into the core muscles.

It is very important when performing this exercise to lower the kettlebell to the start position slowly. The slower the lowering please of the sit and press the more core activation you will receive.

The Sit and Press exercise is also excellent to perform after one of the other pressing exercises listed above because the two handed holding position is stronger than the one handed and so means you can continue to fatigue the triceps when regular overhead presses are not possible.

Discover more: Top 7 floor based kettlebell core exercises

To see more posts about push workouts, go here.

Watch the Kettlebell Sit and Press below:

Kettlebell Arm Workout

Now you have a good selection of arm exercises let’s put them together into a kettlebell workout for the arms.

Begin my choosing 1 exercise from each category:

Kettlebell bicep exercises:

  • Kettlebell Goblet Squat
  • Kettlebell Regular Row
  • Kettlebell Suitcase Row
  • Kettlebell Bottoms Up Clean
  • Kettlebell Plank Row or Renegade Row
  • Kettlebell Clean

Kettlebell tricep exercises:

  • Kettlebell Overhead Press
  • Kettlebell Push Press
  • Kettlebell Tall Kneeling Press
  • Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press

Combination kettlebell exercises:

  • Kettlebell Clean & Press
  • Kettlebell Squat and Press
  • Kettlebell Lunge and Press
  • Kettlebell Sit & Press

Next perform the 3 kettlebell exercises together in an arm circuit like this:

  • Kettlebell Regular Row
  • Kettlebell Push Press
  • Kettlebell Sit & Press

Depending on your goals you can use a heavier kettlebell and perform less reps, 6 – 8 or a lighter kettlebell and more reps 8 – 15 reps. Around 8 – 12 reps is usually a great goal for most people.

Try to keep rest between exercises to a minimum and only rest at the end of all 3 exercises. You can then rest for 60 seconds and repeat for 2 – 4 sets.

The amazing thing about kettlebell training is that even while training your arms you are also activating 100’s of other muscles too, saving your time and making your workouts more efficient.


Kettlebell training is different from bodybuilding style training. Kettlebell exercises are based on movement patterns and so target the whole body rather than a select few muscles including the triceps and biceps. Even though kettlebell training does target 600+ muscles per exercise there are certain exercises that do target the arms more than others.

I’ve listed above the kettlebell exercises for the arms that focus on the triceps, biceps and those that use big combinations to get a lot done in one big movement.

You can also find above an idea of how to perform a kettlebell arm workout.

To develop tone and muscle I’d recommend working on a repetition range of between 8 and 15. The challenge is to find the correct sized kettlebell for each exercise so that you fatigue during this repetition range.

10 best kettlebell workouts

Have you tried any of these kettlebell exercises for your arms? Let me know below….


Are kettlebells good for arms?

Kettlebells will activate the muscles in your arms but not like bodybuilding type exercises will. Kettlebell training should be focused on movement patterns and not particular muscles.

How do I tone my arms with kettlebells?

There are a lot of different kettlebell exercises that are demanding on the arms. The Kettlebell Overhead Press, Kettlebell Suitcase Row or Kettlebell Sit & Press are just a few examples.

How do kettlebells make your arms bigger?

Even though kettlebell training should be focused on movement patterns and not particular muscles the movements still put a lot of stimuli and stress on the muscle and therefore promote growth.

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    1. ticma2717 Avatar

      Hello Greg!

      Thank you very much for sharing your expertise. Stay awesome!

      1. Lara Avatar

        Hi Greg! I love your programs/tutorials. I purchased your Complete Workout Package a few months ago. Getting started on my workout routine with those is my fitness goal for 2020. Your material is easy to understand and follow. I love that you have diagrams and videos for each exercise.

        Could you please answer this question: What weight of kettlebells should I use for arm exercises? I purchased the 8 Kilogram | 18 Pound, and 12 Kilogram | 26 Pound Kettlebells (fair maiden set) from Kettlebell Kings for other exercises. But I think I need something smaller to start with for my arms.
        I’m a woman in my 50’s intent on building muscle in 2020.

        Thanks for any specific guidance you can give me! Cheers!

        1. Greg Brookes Avatar

          Hello Lara, there are no arm-specific exercises within my programs so you will be fine with the 8kg and 12kg kettlebells. As you will be using your full body for most of the exercises you will be much stronger with the movements 🙂

          1. Lara Avatar

            I think the 8 kg / 12 kg size is a little large for doing arm excercises… no?

            1. Greg Brookes Avatar

              These are full-body exercises Lara that use the arms so with good technique you should be OK. Start with these 5 exercises first

            2. Lara Avatar

              Just read this article you linked to in your newsletter:

              Excellent! Just the info I need! Thank you Greg! I just love your info and guidance and your recent newsletter is stuffed full of great things!

    2. Isaac King Avatar

      Hey Greg, I’m a great fan of the Kettlebell clean and jerk too! It has drastically increased muscle mass. I also do a variation of your sit & press where I use a medicine ball instead of sitting on the mat.

      Thanks for sharing this.

    3. Gary Avatar

      Hi Greg
      A great full body exercise that gives good biceps and triceps activation is the double kettlebell clean and jerk
      This really is a one stop shop for strength conditioning and full body muscle activation when done for multiple sets of 5 plus reps with heavy bells
      It’s an advanced lift but worth practicing cos you really can’t beat it

    4. Peter Kell Avatar
      Peter Kell

      One of the best for biceps that I have found is the Round the World movement. Done with a heavy kettlebell, 24kg +, this really focuses on the bottom half of the biceps when the arm is curled slightly when coming round to the front of the body. I get DOMS every time.

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Yes totally agree Peter and excellent for the forearms too. I call that exercise the Slingshot.

        1. Jeff roberts Avatar
          Jeff roberts

          Two questions on peters comment
          1. Should the KB be close to,the body as it goes around or should the rotation be wide? Does one work harder than the other?

          2. Is it correct to “get doms every time’? I’ve tried to get PTs to,answer this but answers are not consistent.
          If you work hard you might expect doms, especially if you ramp up the weight or reps.
          However, if you are getting fitter/stronger, then why would doms occur? Your muscles and fibres are becoming accustomed to the movements
          So,they shoul accommodate the effort without resulting in doms – shouldn’t they??

          1. Greg Brookes Avatar

            Hi Jeff, in answer to your questions:
            1. I like to keep the kettlebell close to avoid over internal rotation during the back part of the pass
            2. No you shouldn’t get DOM’s every time unless you are using different exercises or loads. DOM’s are predominantly caused by the eccentric part of the exercise, so when your muscles are lengthening under load. With this in mind it is important to not overload the body with eccentric movements like heavy lowers and explosive reductions in speed like running down hills or jumping from boxes etc.

            Hope this helps.