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Kettlebell Workouts For Hypertrophy

author
Ellen Grant
• Saturday, 10 October, 2020
• 17 min read

Yes it’s possible, but you have to change the way most people work with them, you have to follow the same program as bodybuilders do, heavy and slow reps paired with a strict diet. The staple of bodybuilding exercises are front squats, shoulder presses, chest presses, rows, carries, isometrics, and curls.

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Contents

Ivan trains for high reps and endurance, one does not get YouTube from that. The angles you can chest press in with kettle bells is far superior to the barbell.

On the topic of grip, the next in line are the wrists, weak wrists mean injury and inability to lift heavy, the kettle bell is great to work on the wrist due to the different weight distribution compared to the dumbbell, I’m thinking overhead tricep extensions, pull-overs etc. In the end, use what works best for you, use what you prefer to use, but don’t say you can’t do hypertrophy training with kettle bells.

Side note: I’m not saying that kettle bells are all you need, just like a bodybuilder doesn’t just use the barbell, so include pull-ups and other exercises. 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.

In addition, it’s an effective way to train for improving movement patterns and ensuring equal weight distribution during certain exercises. As a result, it allows you to do things you couldn’t (more efficiently) with either of the aforementioned fitness tools.

If you can’t maintain proper form or perform more than 8 reps, the weight is probably too heavy for you at this point in your training. The most important thing is that you learn the exercise first and the weight will naturally follow.

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It works the entire posterior chain (backside of the body) and core muscles too. Kettle bell SwingSomething important to know about this movement is that the hips should be responsible for the arm action.

Keep your feet slightly wider than hip-width and bend your knees a quarter of the way. Tighten your core, keep your shoulders down, straighten your back, then hinge forward at the hips without bending your knees further.

With your torso parallel to the floor, flex your lats and lock in your rear Delta. Swing the kettle bell back between your legs then thrust your hips forward into the standing position which should move your arms upward in front of you.

The kettle bell dead lift is another excellent posterior chain exercise that works the upper legs, back, core, and even biceps. Stand close to the kettle bell, keep your back straight and core tight.

Hinge forward at the hips and bend your knees then grab the kettle bell with both hands. Flex your lats, retract your shoulder blades and drive the weight up through your heels and mid foot.

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The goblet squat is a great kettle bell exercise for working your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. But it also works your core and forces you into thoracic extension which is ideal for good lifting posture.

Kettle bell Goblet SquatThoracic outlet syndrome is when the space between the collarbone and the first rib is compressed. As a result, the weights smacks into the forearm muscles (not good), not to mention placing a lot of stress on the wrists.

So, the key to doing this exercise safely is to keep the kettle bell close to your body, while using a grip that’ll allow the weight to move around the handle as opposed to flipping over it. The right way to do this is to rotate the wrist during the concentric (positive) portion of the exercise.

Lastly, you don’t want to keep your wrists completely straight or flexed, but in slight extension for better control. To do it: Grip the kettle bell so that the handle is at a more diagonal angle in your palm rather than straight across (e.g. the handle should start high near the thumb and angle down to the bottom of the wrist directly under the pinky finger).

Thrust upward and pull the kettle bell up the center of your body as if you were zipping up your jacket then rotate your wrist so your palm is facing away from you. The push press is a simple movement that works the shoulders and traps plus it also involves assistance from the triceps.

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(Source: www.cavemantraining.com)

But the little ‘push’ from the legs helps to get heavier poundage overhead and it’s also useful when fatigued. So for this variation, you’re going to combine the two previous movements to make for one fluid motion.

It’s a great exercise for developing overhead strength, power, and shoulder stability. With your back straight and core tight, bend your knees a quarter of the way down to allow the kettle bell to lower while hinging at the hips.

To do it: Get into a push-up position and grip the kettle bell handles so your hands are about shoulder-width apart and on either side of your lower chest. The kettle bell windmill is a great core and hip flexibility exercise and it may also benefit the spine.

Maintain a neutral spine and bend your torso in the same direction as your feet while looking at the kettle bell. Push upward through your heels and mid foot while squeezing your glutes as you return to the starting position.

Repeat on the other side after you’ve completed the desired number of reps. It’s a rather simple movement that involves picking up the weight, keeping everything tight with shoulders back, and walking for distance without breaking form.

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It’s a very functional movement that can improve stability, shoulder health, coordination, and overall full-body awareness, as you have to hold a kettle bell overhead while going from a lying to a standing position. Here’s a great video demonstration… A lot of exercises focus on anterior and posterior stability/strength.

However, if we’re to prevent energy leaks and maximize overall physical performance, then we need to do exercises that focus on lateral function. So since we’re talking about kettle bell exercises, what better time to offer this is as a great variation.

Bend your hips and knees until you can grab the kettle bell while keeping your back flat. Drive upward through your heels and mid foot then thrust your hips forward as the kettle bell reaches mid-thigh.

Make sure your torso and shoulders are level and resist the kettle bell pulling you to one side. If you’re using enough resistance while continually progressing in weight or reps then you’ll build muscle.

We recommend keeping the weight in the 10-20 rep range for muscle building. There are several very effective kettle bell exercises that will help to build muscle and strength.

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Kettle bells are better suited for individuals who have a decent amount of training experience unless doing very basic movements. So if your goal is maximum muscle growth and strength, then you’ll need to focus more on dumbbell and barbell training.

Although, kettle bell training can produce muscle and strength gains with an effective routine. Some are easier while others are more challenging but just start slow, learn the techniques, and you’ll have an arsenal of kettle bell exercises that you can pull from at any time.

Kettle bells get a bad rap when it comes to building large amounts of muscle. People wrongly believe that because the heaviest kettle bell you can commonly find is 48 kg that they must be useless for gaining large chunks of meat.

Despite the heaviest bells typically being 48 kg, 96 kg of kettle bells doesn’t feel the same as 96 kg using a barbell. The kettle bell ’s offset shape means that instead of the load being lifted almost directly in line with the joints, as with a barbell, it needs to travel a much more difficult path to get overhead.

And because of the way kettle bells tend to pull your arms backward while pressing, the body has to overcome much more than just the physical weight of the bell. For those who have never tried pressing bigger bells overhead, it feels more like trying to arm wrestle than lifting weights because of these forces.

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The bottom line is that unless you’re one of the rare people who can perform multiple reps with two Beasts (48 kg bells), you’ve still got more than enough weight to pick from for hypertrophy work. As an example, Donnie Thompson is reputed to use two 40 kg bells for assistance squat work for sets of ten reps.

Likewise, Andy Bolton and Brad Dillingham have spoken of using kettle bells for assistance work in their quests for maximum strength and muscle mass. animal fiber activation cannot be viewed as the exclusive driver of fibrillar protein synthesis rates.

Older lifters will remember what happened when Charles Poltroon went down this path with his German Volume Training template years ago. Yes, people gained muscle, but they often lost a huge amount of strength in the process.

Because see-saw press is performed alternating arms, you’ll do 20 total reps here, or 10 each side. For a massive upper body boost, pair all the exercises with pull ups for active rest.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

*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.

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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. 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.

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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. 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.

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.

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Then take a week off and try another functional mass program to change the stimulus. All programs should contain all human movement patterns and should obviously be suitable for the person it’s written for.

Kettle bell Muscle worked for me, but I have recently “hypertrophied” if that's the word from doing phase two of Geoff Expert's “Strong” program. Kettle bell Muscle is the simplest program to implement that you will ever see, and only requires one pair of bells.

It's simple in the sense that there is absolutely no thinking or decision-making involved, after you decide what size bells to use in the first place. Both programs only require one pair of bells that you can milk for a long time.

One thing I don't like about the KettleBear program is that it has you doing a lot of Caps and then FAQs with the same bells. I'd prefer more cleans and front squats with heavier bells.

The Prometheus program at least lets you use heavier bells for the FAQs. Again, IMO, for hypertrophy, the money is going to be more in heavy CFS, with presses as a supplement, not vice versa.

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Aside from those programs, two of my favorite simple complexes originate, AFAIK, with Dan John. The first is the 213 “grad workout” complex (2 DCL, 1 DMP, 3 DFS).

This one you have to do to appreciate, and don't think your arms don't get enough work, especially as you progress the ladders higher. Fast Tens, a program by Pavel written some years ago, might still be out there on Google, as well.

It is great, but good Lord you will be hating life in squat days. You make it to the top of the pyramid and think you'll be able to get some relief as the squat numbers decrease, but it is still lots of suffering.

Kb Strong+One is a solid choice if you do decide to follow it and implement it Just a thought, and I hate messing with a good program, but you could drop the rows from the Total Tension Complex and only did it twice per week instead of three.

I think that would be enough recovery time to keep progressing with it for at least until you're ready to jump up a bell size. Fast Tens, I did that right after the Top and before Km about five years ago.

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I forgot about that. The workouts seem short but if you do them with appropriately weighted bells, it will kick your butt! I wanted to do additional work with the program but wasn't terribly motivated after doing each session.

Km is nuts I only did it for 6 weeks as a well and got pretty big and stronger. Just to clarify, KB Muscle is a 12-week program with two six-week phases.

Phase 1 certainly works as a stand alone six-week program, as the previous posters have done. On the other hand when the layoff is over, I could take a couple bells with me to finish the program.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In

01: Appropriate Kettlebell Weight For Beginners
02: Nome Do Kettlebell
03: MoreHow Heavy Should Your Kettlebell Be?
04: More Items...Kettlebells For Beginners
Sources
1 www.amazon.ca - https://www.amazon.ca/Yes4All-Combo-Cast-Kettlebell-Weight/dp/B00639WIH0
2 kettlebellcentral.com - http://kettlebellcentral.com/biggest-kettlebell-myths/
3 www.ebay.co.uk - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/JLL-Cast-Iron-Kettlebells-2kg-24kg-Neoprene-Covered-Strength-Training-/271790329849