Can Kettlebell Be Used For Biceps

Ellen Grant
• Sunday, 11 October, 2020
• 8 min read

Kettle bells can be a great tool to use in place of more traditional bicep exercises. You’ve got the handle and the horns of the kettle bell where the grip is held, and the bell (ball) where most of the weight’s sat.

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(Source: www.johnnyfit.com)


Because of their unique leverage and loading mechanics, kettle bells place a huge amount of tension on the biceps. They also allow tension to remain longer in certain biceps exercises, where dumbbells or barbells would otherwise fall short.

Dumbbells and barbells do a great job at loading this angle but depending on the exercise and the position of the shoulder and elbows relative to the torso, some tension can be lost. To see what I mean grab a preacher bench and perform a dumbbell bicep curl with full range of motion.

A preacher curl machine also adds tension at the top, versus dumbbells. With a slightly loose grip the kettle bell will rotate in your palm slightly and you’ll finish at the top of the movement with the bell behind your wrist and load further in front. With a dumbbell or barbell, the load would be over the wrist more taking tension away from the bicep.

So, in this instance the kettle bell has allowed you to maintain high muscle tension for a longer time. A kettlebellcan also allow you to maintain tension in the stretched position of a curl.

By being able to emphasize this elongated eccentric contraction and stretched position, kettle bells can produce high mechanical tension coupled with micro-trauma and tissue breakdown. The semi-awkward nature of the kettle bell and minor instability also adds to the level of muscle activation achieved by the biceps.

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(Source: gymbox.de)

Just another way the unique design of a kettle bell makes them an ideal biceps building tool, and why you should give them a shot. Because of the constant tension throughout the movement with very little relaxation of the biceps, you’ll also get a fair bit of blood occlusion and metabolic stress.

By triggering a cascade of events and spike in anabolic hormones, these are also helped build muscle. Combine kettle bells with Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training and you might have a winning combo.

You’ll notice how at the end the elbow comes up a little and my grip rotates in to a little pronation. In all honesty I can ’t see any rationale for this tweak at the top, except that when doing it I personally felt a better contraction.

A neutral grip position will shift a little more emphasis on the brachialis muscle. This little sucker shouldn’t be neglected, and if it’s some upper arm thickness you’re after then you need to give it some attention.

The squatting position isn’t some stupid way to try and hit the quads at the same time. Like a preacher bench this helps to isolate the elbow flexors, whilst the angle which is steeper than a preacher bench emphases biceps tension at the top of the curl.

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(Source: www.muscleandfitness.com)

If you struggle to get in position though, and it takes away from the quality of the biceps exercise itself, then try supporting your chest on a bench and executing it similar to a spider curl. You’ll get some crazy amount of tension during this biceps exercise, and another great one to emphasize the brachialis a little more.

Known as the “mirror muscle,” men and women alike love to show off a set of toned and muscular biceps. There’s plenty of ways to exercise and strengthen your biceps, but one tool that’s frequently overlooked is the kettle bell.

While most people may be familiar with using a bar or dumbbells to build muscle, kettle bells are an effective alternative that offers unique benefits. They’re a versatile tool used for reducing body fat, increasing endurance and power, and of course, building muscle mass.

How well you’re able to get your body into shape with kettle bells will depend on two factors: your training volume and the intensity of your workout. The handle is the grip’s location, and the ball underneath is where nearly all the weight is held.

This design places high tension on the biceps and creates metabolic stress, a stimulant for hypertrophy (increase and growth of muscle cells). Understanding a bit about kettle bells and their use for bicep growth and overall body strength can help you decide the best workout for your individual goals.

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(Source: www.muscleandfitness.com)

Also, if you’ve hit a wall with your dumbbells and barbells, changing up your routine by using a kettle bell may help you get past that plateau. Lastly, remember that you can always decrease the weight and increase the reps for this workout if you’re seeking tone instead of growth.

Incline curls, in general, are a great exercise because you can increase the growth and maximize the muscle damage you could incur as a result of the constant stretch and overload that’s placed on your bicep. With kettle bells, the hanging weight produces an adequate and steady amount of tension and stimulation at the top of the movement on the contracted position.

For this workout, you’ll want to grab a bench that is set to a 45-degree angle and kettle bells that are ranging in loads from heavy to moderate to light. This workout includes doing various weights and rep ranges to target both strength and toning.

Should you choose to focus on the heavier weights, you’ll see sizable gains with this workout. Standing curls are a staple in any bicep workout simply because they allow for maximum overload.

The key to sculpted and strong biceps is in the way that you push them to the limit. Kettle bells give you versatility and a distinct design that allows for optimal tension and tearing of the muscles.

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It’s composed of two parts, commonly referred to as the “short head” and the “long head.” These two sections work together as a singular muscle known as the biceps.” Connective tissues, which are the tendons, are what keep your biceps attached to the bone in your arm. Kettle bells provide exclusive benefits and unique kinds of biceps stimulation that are difficult to replicate with dumbbells and barbells.

Due to the design of kettle bells, there's significantly more tension throughout the movement, including the top contracted position. Aside from the kettle bell hanging below the wrists, which creates a constant pulling sensation on the biceps, it's almost impossible to lose tension at the top by cheating and curling the weights too high.

In addition, any swinging or excessive use of momentum will result in the kettle bells banging against the forearms, which is extremely unpleasant. Due to the high levels of continuous tension and biceps innervation, use slightly fewer reps.

They emphasize the elongated eccentric and stretched position, which produces muscle damage and micro-trauma that's critical for growth. Because of the constant tension throughout the movement with little relaxation of the biceps, this exercise creates an occlusion-effect to the surrounding musculature.

There's an incredible amount of blood flow, muscular pump, intramuscular solmization, cellular swelling, and metabolic stress, all of which are linked to muscle growth. It finishes with the kettle bells in an extended lever-arm position, allowing you to place constant tension on the arms throughout the movement.

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(Source: www.muscleandfitness.com)

But the combination of lighter loads and constant tension will leave your biceps screaming at the end of each set, producing muscular pumps and cellular swelling that's hard to get with other exercises. This is due to the strict form it requires, the reduced momentum you're forced to maintain so you can stay balanced, and the resultant continuous tension on the biceps.

Performing kettle bells curls while holding an eccentric isometric squat produces incredible levels of tension in the biceps, particularly in the top position. This slightly angled position, combined with the hanging nature of the kettle bells, provides continuous levels of significant tension, creating occlusion and cellular swelling.

As an added bonus, this exercise improves lower body mobility, hip mechanics, and squatting technique. This variation keeps you from fully straightening the arms at the bottom or curling excessively high at the top.

This creates enormous tension on the biceps because you're locked into the sweet spot of the movement where there's maximal activation and no relaxation. It also promotes optimal shoulder positioning and postural alignment, which is something most lifters struggle with when training biceps.

Many people lack the ability to keep the wrists locked during curls, which can produce strain on the surrounding connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments. This variation requires you to lock the wrists in order to create a solid platform for the weight to rest on.

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(Source: www.muscleandfitness.com)

Sitting down with support for your torso and performing a biceps curl would be the best form of an isolation exercise as the support work is handled by the seat so you can focus on the curl. It just requires you to know your kettle bell grips and how to adjust your posture during the movement.

The short answer to whether they can be used for isolation is YES they can, and NO, kettle bell cleans are not intended to target the biceps. It’s usually people that have just started kettle bell training or been doing things wrong for a long time that suggest this.

For this, I suggest reading our Preventing Kettle bell Training Injuries book. In fact, kettle bells are in a way superior for this topic, however, it requires a lot more investment, the investment of time to learn how to use them properly and knowing how to adjust your stance, your posture, and above all, knowing how to perform the movements (see Kettle bell Exercise Encyclopedia).

The kneeling and bending forward removes a lot of work usually done by the body stand upright, hence, a great way to isolate the curl. The gorilla curl is awesome, but you need to get the angle of the elbow right, know how to grip and transition the handle.

You can work with one bell so you can use your other elbow for support, i.e. more isolation. But you could apply nearly the same position but seated and curl with just one arm to work more on isolation.

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(Source: www.muscleandfitness.com)

Here is a video with several techniques I played around with a long time ago. Taco Fleur Russian Gregory Sport Institute Kettle bell Coach, Caveman training Certified, IFF Certified Kettle bell Teacher, Kettle bell Sport Rank 2, HardstyleFit Kettle bell Level 1 Instructor., CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit Judges Certificate, CrossFit Lesson Planning Certificate, Kettle bells Level 2 Trainer, Kettle bell Science and Application, MMA Fitness Level 2, MMA Conditioning Level 1, BJJ Purple Belt and more.

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1 www.self.com - https://www.self.com/gallery/beginner-kettlebell-moves
2 www.healthline.com - https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/kettlebell-workout