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Best Kettlebell Exercises For Mass

Best of all you don’t have to be in a gym to do the kettlebellexercises most often you can do the entire workout in your backyard, or anywhere you have some open space.

author
Ava Flores
• Sunday, 22 November, 2020
• 14 min read
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When you eat in a calorie surplus, they’re also going to be a perfect way to develop more muscle mass and move the performance to the next level. This is a good multitasking exercise for hitting the shoulders at the same time, so by using it, you can potentially cut back on the total amount of work you have to do.

You should try and stay as upright as possible in this kettle bell exercise to prevent lower back pain from developing. This movement will replace the standard dumbbell dead lift and is great for developing stronger hamstrings and lower back.

The alternating floor press will do just that and will also work the deltoid muscles as they struggle to maintain balance throughout the lift. Since this exercise is performed sitting entirely on the floor, you’re going to find that it really takes any momentum out of the movement pattern, helping you see better shoulder results.

Since at points throughout the movement you will be required to maintain a high level of balance this will cause the abs to contract maximally deep within the core. As you pass the kettle bell from one hand to the other you’ll also work the shoulders to a degree, further increasing the benefits you see from this movement.

Because of the nature of this movement, it will also stimulate the quad muscles as well, so it’ll be good to add if you’re performing a lower-body or full-body workout. But adding in a movement that serves to directly work the muscles is also a wise decision.

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The bottoms-up clean from a hang position is great for targeting the forearms so it can be added towards the end of your workout to finish the muscles off. You should avoid doing this earlier however as if you’ve pre-existed the forearms, initially you might find that this really hinders your ability to lift heavy during the other upper body kettlebellexercises that have been described.

Due to a few trainers in the world, kettle bells have been exclusively associated with cardio and should be no heavier than 15 pounds. It doesn’t matter if it’s your body weight, a barbell, dumbbells, or kettle bells as long as there is a progression of lifting heavy weights often; your body will adapt by getting stronger.

You’re not going to grow unless you increase the time in which your muscles are being stimulated (and I’m not talking about a massage). Muscular growth is triggered by this, but won’t happen unless the next two pieces of the puzzle are in place.

Sure you can build muscle with thousands of calories of burgers and fries, but quality should always come first. The “right now” dictates that it’s not vitally important where the calories come from in terms of protein, fat, and carbs, but the long-term scope of your health should be your main driving force.

Rest is free, relatively easy to get, and is infinitely helpful at building your body. Your body goes hard to work at repairing and adapting to everything you did during your session to make sure you come back stronger tomorrow to handle whatever life throws at you.

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When it comes to kettlebellexercises, few movements build muscle like the Double Clean & Press. With a combination of a hinge, pull, and press movement, you hit multiple, large muscle groups that will illicit growth (provided it’s the right amount of stimulus).

The Double Clean & Press can be manipulated in a number of ways during your training session to build your body such as, supersets combined with pull ups, ladders, timed sets, and more. Take the Double Kettle bell Front Squat for example; not only are you fighting the movement with your legs to get yourself back to standing after a nice deep squat, you’re also fighting the weights as they try to go in two separate directions.

The problem with kettle bells is that most movements don’t hit the horizontal push pattern; enter the Floor Press! My favorite variation as it keeps the time under tension a bit greater is the Seesaw Press.

Lie back flat and bring up both weights into a locked out position. Reverse the motion in a controlled manner so the kettle bells always meet in the middle.

Bonus tip: I like to elevate my hips to hit different parts of my chest and shoulders and incorporate the lower body into the exercise as well. Similar to the Seesaw Floor Press in that the kettle bells meet in the middle during a fluid motion, the Seesaw Row keeps the tension on the back (from lower to upper and everything in between), shoulders, biceps, and core.

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The added benefit of this movement is that you’re in a constant (slight) hinge to stay in a position which taxes the glutes and quads. Double snatches build big, strong shoulders and backs.

Look at Olympic lifters and tell me that lifting heavy things overhead doesn’t build the upper body. By adding the twisting, squatting component to the movement, you recruit your entire body (less the arm without a kettle bell) and a ton of mobility.

You don’t need to go heavy with this one, but when you do (when you’re ready) you’ll see some amazing growth and the ability to lift heavier in other movements. When I went on a Bent Press rampage with moderate weight for low reps and high sets I saw my shoulders and triceps improve greatly while my overall mobility went through the roof.

We've all turned up to the gym, short on time and motivation, only to find every piece of equipment we need for our workout isn't free. Faced with this scenario, you have two options: ditch the workout and go home or find a piece of versatile equipment that is underused and undervalued by most of the gym-going community.

Packing the same weighty punch as dumbbells, kettle bells are likely to be found in a dusty corner of the gym. But don't let their underused fool you; this is a brilliant bit of kit, and while the bros are queuing for a bench, you can take advantage.

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Kettle bell swings can help increase your heart rate, burn extra fat and tone muscle Corey Jenkins Getty Images Much like the humble rowing machine and versa climber, most gym bros steer clear of the cast-iron 'bells, helping you get an effective, time-efficient workout in, without having to worry about your kit getting pinched.

This and the growing popularity of sports such as CrossFit and Strongman have helped drive kettle bell training and workouts into the mainstream. On top of this, owing to their design, kettle bells are one of the easiest weights to move around during your workout in a short timeframe and can be stored away easily, from your car boot to your garden shed or garage.

“Kettle bells give you the opportunity to move athletically with additional resistance from a variety of angles and more challenging positions,” explains Jon Lewis, a personal trainer with fitness outlet Industrial Strength. Not only that, but exercises such as kettle bell swings can help increase your heart rate, burn extra fat and tone muscle, but where they really come into their own is in building strength throughout your posterior chain.

As these are your body’s biggest muscles, you’ll also torch calories,” says Rob Blair, PT at The Commando Temple. Additionally, kettle bells are an incredibly useful tool for those looking to build their base of strength and mobility, so if you're struggling with your barbell back squat, for example, utilizing the kettle bell goblet squat is a good way of practicing proper form with a safer exercise that can then be upgraded as your strength increases.

Well-suited for swings, presses and carries, kettle bells also lend themselves to more dynamic movements, where a dumbbell or barbell may be more difficult to use. Usually, kettle bell workouts are built on a high-rep range, meaning that several muscles are worked at once and, if kept at a consistent pace, can offer similar aerobic benefits to HIIT training.

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Similarly, by performing kettle bell circuits three times a week, you’ll pump up your VO2 max by 6 per cent in just under a month, according to the NSA’s Sac Report. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research also found that kettle bell training contributes to a healthier lower back, owing to the loading and movement patterns.

“Kettle bells are arguably one of the most versatile bits of equipment you can find in a gym,” says Sam Wrigley, a London Bridge-based PT. “They're great tools for metabolic conditioning and can be used for resistance work too, if you can't access dumbbells or barbells.”

“Typically, it’s with the kettle bell swing, because of its dynamic nature — moving back and forth quickly at the hip joint”. “This exaggerated flexion and extension at the hip puts a lot of force through the lower back.” When it comes to getting injuries from poor form, the “arching of the back and not engaging the glutes in an overhead press or folding in a goblet position” can put you at risk of busting your lower back.

Stand with feet set wider than shoulder-width and bend your knees to grab the kettle bell with both hands. Drive your hips, keep your back flat swing the weight up to shoulder height.

Initiated by a powerful hip thrust from your hamstring and glutes, opting for heavier weights (once the move is mastered, of course) for up to 90 seconds a set will vastly improve your anaerobic fitness, accelerating your heart-rate and ignite a fat-burn that the bench press can only dream of. Instead, by combining a front squat with an overhead press, you're transforming a drab move into a compound, multi-joint exercise that demands full-body power.

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In one swift movement, slightly jump off the ground and raise your arms to extend above your head. Land softly on your feet with your knees bent as though you're doing a squat and extend your arms straight above you shoulder-width apart.

Powerlifting moves needn't be restricted to barbells bending under crippling weight loads. Instead, the kettle bell clean and press offers the opportunity to increase grip strength, become stronger in overhead movements (your shoulder press will thank you) and will help you learn the lesson of maintaining a rigid core during all lifts.

Plus, the researchers found that participants performing the kettle bell snatch usually maintained 86 to 99 per cent of their maximum heart rate, making it an essential move for easy weightless. Drive through the heel and bring yourself back up to standing position, without letting your leg touch the floor.

Functional and an easy gym brag, the kettle bell pistol squat is the king of mobility moves. Ideal for oiling the stiff joints of desk-jockeys and gym bros, it'll also set your Instagram feed ablaze.

Helping you master the holy trinity of fitness — stability, strength and mobility — it'll challenge your core (there's more to a six-pack than crunches and planks, after all) and will build sportive-worthy quads while increasing balance. Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, clasping a kettle bell in each hand in front of your chest with palms facing each other.

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Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat, keeping the kettle bells in the same position and ensuring you don't round your back by tensing your glutes throughout. Keep your arms strong and walk short, quick steps as fast as possible.

Ideal for building grip and plugging onto the end of a tough workout, farmer's walks also pack heavy-duty muscle onto your upper-back while fighting lower-back pain and being a useful conditioning tool and fat-loss. All the benefits of a traditional shoulder press — improved strength and targeting of many upper-body muscles — without the hassle of having to wait for dumbbells or a machine.

Stand with feet set wider than shoulder-width and bend your knees to grab the ketllebell with one hand. Drive your hips, keep your back flat swing the weight up to shoulder height.

Increase the demand you place on the shoulder stabilizing muscles by doing kettle bell swings with one arm. Sign up to the Men's Health newsletter and kick start your home body plan.

Make positive steps to become healthier and mentally strong with all the best fitness, muscle-building and nutrition advice delivered to your inbox. For effective home workouts, uplifting stories, easy recipes and advice you can trust, subscribe to Men's Health UK.

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This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Massaging yogis was always great for anatomy exploration, but some of my clients were everyday bodybuilders, forever chasing the Hollywood superhero body.

Massaging through gym rats’ chronically tight and tense muscles was a workout in itself. Arguably, the reason why many needed to see me in the first place was due to poor training habits (coupled with too much time spent in a chair).

They’ll also use external apparatus to stabilize movements for the sake of muscle isolation and “extra focus on the muscle fibers.” These training habits eventually rewire the nervous system to forget how to activate the stabilizers it was born with and effectively make the everyday bodybuilder prone to injury and, in the long run, substantially less capable at life. Training for functional mass involves protocols that build nice big Hollywood muscles while also making the body more useful at real life tasks and less prone to back, shoulder and knee injuries.

Their muscles are rock hard when activated, but unlike powerlifters and bodybuilders, they have the ability to switch off when not in use and are not short and chronically tight. If the goal is functional mass, arguably the best training modality would be Olympic lifting with a mix of calisthenics.

O-lifting is a long and highly rewarding path, for those who possess the movement ability. However, it’s not accessible to the vast majority of everyday people, because we just don’t move well enough.

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I encourage anyone to start their O-lifting journey if they can pass my simple litmus test: being able to hold a naked (20 kg) Olympic bar overhead while sitting in the deep squat for two minutes. Golden Rules and Essential Considerations for Designing Functional Mass Programs

Stand, kneel, lunge, hang, loco mote or sit or lay on the floor Never use a bench, chair, pad, fixed resistance machine or anything to help stabilize movement or isolate target muscle groups.

Smashing the muscle fibers to destruction, so they’ll grow back bigger and stronger is absolutely achievable using the stabilizers you were born with. I think that avoiding the use of external apparatus for help with stability is the most important rule that should be applied to all training, no matter the goal.

Forget back ‘n’ biceps, shoulders ‘n’ triceps or chest ‘n’ abs. Replace it with squat ‘n’ pull, hinge ‘n’ push, loco mote ‘n’ resist rotation, say.

Don’t go the gym and further train yourself to flex into the shape of a cashew nut (biceps, chest and superficial abs). It promotes feelings of depression and weakness and arguably brings you closer to the grave.

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Be more superhero and train extension, with dead lifts, pull-ups, push-ups×, squats, cleans, military press* and loaded carries. *A skilled practitioner presses from their lats while radiating tension throughout the midsection with their glutes.

For mass training, two kettle bells always beats one because this increases the work volume. When I’m programming for my remote clients, any given functional mass session only lasts 40-55 minutes.

Given that the first 15-20 minutes of that is spent on joint mobility, this leaves a short window for the main workout component. Ballistics involve kettebells being swung through two-planes of motion (swings, cleans and snatches).

For goals such as losing weight or improving conditioning, ballistics should outweigh grinds. Since the golden years of bodybuilding in the ‘70s, it’s been known that the more time the muscles spend under tension, the better for hypertrophy.

I served in the Royal Marines Commandos with a dude who had a better body than Captain America. He only ever did thousands of really light reps and isometric holds with resistance bands and baby dumbbells.

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We may have admired his physical appearance, but we relished in the fact that he was weak and sub-par as an operational Commando. His dead lift was pathetic, he couldn’t outrun a hedgehog, let alone run a heavy backpack over a mountain, he often had lower back pain, and he couldn’t reach his magazine pouches because his big, useless muscles were in the way.

Through my years of training I know that loaded jump squats are a very reliable ingredient for developing legs like tree trunks. But crippling injuries also usually come as a complimentary extra for those who can’t deep squat slowly without load.

If someone can sit in a deep squat position for over 4 minutes, they qualify for adding load. Then after some months, adding explosive speed will induce miracle muscle growth.

This is an age-old ingredient for muscle mass because it optimizes hormone release and facilitates the highest possible volume. Strength is tension… How much full body tension you’re able to produce reflects your ability to apply force.

More relaxed, loose muscles = better blood flow, faster recovery, less chronic tension and related injuries. But if the goal is looking like a Marvel superhero in the shorter term, without breaking the first two (and most important) of these golden rules, training to failure in some lifts for 2-3 months won’t do any harm.

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But if you want to put on some muscle mass in a short space of time without cocking up your hormone balance by taking vitamin-S (anabolic steroids), train to failure and grow some sarcoplasmic muscle mass. A great way to deplete the glycogen stores within the muscles and leave your arms or legs feeling like they might drop off.

Many uneducated or inexperienced trainers think it’s their mission to create delayed onset muscle soreness (Does) for their paying clients after every session. Regular, weekly Does creates excessive muscle toxicity, which has a plethora of negative side effects and cripples good movement.

Soles Does in unavoidable for people who’ve been wearing foot coffins (shoes) all their lives and want to learn to run properly. Does in all major muscle groups is expected for the first couple of weeks of any good hypertrophy program.

Do you wake up naturally and feel like moving first thing in the morning most days of the week? If all the muscle chasers I know put half the energy and discipline into planning and executing their rest as they do their workouts, they would be bigger.

Muscles grow when your metabolism isn’t busy digesting food Eat a large portion of complex carbs (yams, quinoa, rice, buckwheat) with most meals, particularly after training

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Leafy and colorful veggies should take up most of your plate for most meals—you need the nutrients for growth. I like Athletic Greens as a daily supplement to help cover my bases

Avoid processed crap, cook for yourself, prep meals, plan shopping Every session should begin with 20 minutes of joint mobility and muscle activation, relative to your individual movement needs and injury history.

All programs should contain all human movement patterns and should obviously be suitable for the person it’s written for. If you disqualify, there are literally thousands of other effective functional mass programs that are suitable for you.

Ability to walk for 30 seconds holding two snatch-weight kettle bells overhead (the amount you want to snatch with) 2-4 conventional barbell dead lifts, 2-4 offset kettle bell military press, shake it off

8-10 offset kettle bell military press, 3-5 explosive chin-ups (ruminated grip), shake it off 1st bleep: Heavy KB, non-dominant arm military press to failure

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2nd bleep: Heavy KB, dominant arm military press, match reps 4th bleep: Medium KB, dominant arm military press, match reps

6th bleep: Light KB, dominant arm military press, match reps

Related Videos

Sources
1 muscletoughness.com - https://muscletoughness.com/kettlebell-exercises-for-mass-and-strength/
2 www.onnit.com - https://www.onnit.com/academy/top-6-kettlebell-exercises-for-building-mass/
3 www.menshealth.com - https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a758657/the-7-best-kettlebell-exercises-to-build-muscle/
4 www.kettlebellkings.com - https://www.kettlebellkings.com/blog/how-to-build-functional-mass-with-kettlebells/