Our first kettlebellpush pull workout starts out with two very important exercises, the row and the push up. The format for this workout is very simple, perform one exercise after the other and then take a rest before repeating.
Beginners should start out with a lighter kettle bell and perform more repetitions whereas those more advanced can increase the weight and reduce the reps. Lean forward approximately 45 degrees and keep your weight back on your heels to load the hamstrings.
The regular push up is a very underestimated exercise for building the chest, shoulders and core muscles. Ultimately the push up is a moving plank exercise so the core needs to be braced throughout and a straight line created from the shoulders to the heels.
If you struggle to keep your body in a straight line without your hips dropping towards the floor then you should practice the plank / shoulder taps exercises instead. The second exercise, the push press, is used to develop brute strength and adds some serious muscle to the shoulders and upper body.
This kettle bell pull push workout is performed as a superset meaning that you complete both exercises one after the other before taking a short rest and then repeating. A weak core or an inability to stabilize in the top push up position will only lead to lower back issues.
A safer way to perform this exercise is to use just one kettle bell and have the other hand on a box, bench or, my favorite, a Paraclete. The kettlebellpush press is the ultimate strength and muscle builder for the upper body.
During the push press the knees are bent very slightly before they are locked out and the buttocks squeezed tightly. The initial pop or momentum that you get from the slight squat enables you to press the kettle bell more easily from the bottom position.
You will be activating most of the muscles in your body with this workout while at the same time balancing pushing and pulling movements. The kettle bell snatch offers a full body exercise that is predominately a pulling movement.
Whereas the Turkish get up is a stabilization pushing exercise that will strengthen your whole body and improve your mobility. The kettle bell snatch is a full body explosive exercise that is based on a pulling movement pattern.
As the snatch is based on the dead lift movement most of the power comes from the hips to start the momentum of the kettle bell. At the top of the exercise punch your hand through the handle to stop the kettle bell flopping over and hitting the wrist.
For those that really struggle with the downward part of the exercise the kettle bell can be lowered slowly as if coming down from an overhead press. As you work your way through the various positions of the exercise you will notice your stabilizing muscles as well as your mobility is challenged.
Deficiencies that are highlighted during the kettle bell Turkish get up will be magnified in other areas of your movement and daily life. Above I have listed 3 kettlebellPush Pull Workouts that you can use to strengthen and condition your upper body.
KettlebellPush Pull workouts are an excellent choice for balancing out your body and ensure that you do not over train one particular area more than the other. However, there are some exercises that should be considered your main courses and others that don’t even rate a mention on the kids’ menu.
Bodybuilders need to hit their bodies from every possible angle to enhance development of individual muscles as much as possible. Since so much of what we read about fitness evolved from bodybuilding, we, the public, end up with a list of exercises that is far bigger than it needs to be when viewed through a strength-training-only lens.
Approaching our training with only these six options makes forming plans quite easy. For the next workout, select the opposing upper movement and a different lower body pattern, and finish with core.
Both are quad dominant, but one will boost muscle size, strength, and performance while the other just seems to be a good way to hurt your knees. A big part of me wants to say handstands represent the best pushing option for body weight training.
The flexibility, balance, and strength required to do a good quality handstand are well worth training for. In addition, handstand push -ups are extremely portable and can be done anywhere (and if you can’t do freestanding reps, all you need is a piece of flat ground and a wall), and won’t destroy the abs or lower body the way one-arm push -ups will.
The downside to pressing heavy kettle bells is that as the bell gets larger, it places more and more stress on the shoulder joint as it tries to pull you into external rotation. It’s no exaggeration to say that a vast majority of the people I know who have spent a lot of time working on heavy kettle bell pressing have the worst shoulders out of everyone I know.
What we need is a drill that gives us the same feel as the heavy press and the same effort —without placing the same strain on the AC joint. It has been used in research studies by Dr. Stuart McGill who found it led to greater core activation.
It’s also heavily featured in FMS correctives as a way to increase core, grip, and shoulder stability while minimizing stress on the joint. The BUP very nearly wins this category, but its downside is the massive CNS recruitment involved.
Double jerks also require large degrees of ankle and thoracic mobility. For many, this degree of upper back flexibility will be difficult to attain, but just like with the handstand, working to achieve this will unlock many more physical abilities.
And if you work for extended sets, like in Gregory sport, the degree of strength endurance you can achieve is almost impossible to believe. Most of the complaints I get from people regarding their shoulders come from them overusing barbell pressing options when they have limited mobility.
That means you get all kinds of extra benefits such as glute, ab, and lower back activation while performing it. However, having your hands fixed to the bar can be problematic for some people and can cause an increase in shoulder issues.
When it comes to upper-body pushing exercises, the barbell bench press is probably the most iconic lift of all time. But the barbell bench press has a reputation for destroying shoulders and elbows, and doesn’t use the core at all because you’re lying down.
On the one hand, it allows you to lift more weight and truly develop your pushing strength free of distractions. The push press allows you to use more weight in a safer manner and teaches the body to be powerful — a skill lacking in many who train only heavy and slow.
If you wanted to put together a good pushing workout based on these three recommendations, I would structure it like this: He has trained hundreds of athletes and clients up to Olympic and World Championship levels.
He is both a black belt and an Iron man and has been honing the craft of training for over twenty years. Having trained alongside industry leaders in everything from Taekwondo to Brazilian Jim Jitsi to boxing, as well as kettle bells, running, triathlon, and weightlifting, Andrew has a wealth of experience to draw from. Kettle bells, which look like cannonballs with handles, have become a popular strength training alternative to traditional barbells, dumbbells, and resistance machines.
Kettle bell exercises often involve several muscle groups at once, making them a highly effective way to give your arms, legs, and abs a great workout in a short amount of time. Kettle bells can be used for a variety of exercises that improve both your strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Russian strongmen in the 1700s developed kettle bells as implements to build strength and endurance. You’ve probably seen depictions of bare-chested carnival strongmen hoisting them over their heads.
Using lighter kettle bells at first allows you to focus on using the proper form and technique for the different exercises. You can always increase the weight once you’re comfortable with the correct form for each exercise.
Fitness experts suggest using kettle bells with the following weights if you’re at an intermediate to advanced level with your strength training: Aim to add more reps each week, then work toward adding more sets as you build strength.
Push your hips backward, and bend your knees to reach the kettle bell handles. Firmly grip the kettle bells, keeping your arms and back straight.
This is an excellent exercise to boost both your muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. While your shoulders and arms will do a lot of the work, most of the effort should come from the hips and legs.
Engage your abdominal muscles and set your shoulders back. Exhale as you make an explosive upward movement to swing the kettle bell out in front of you.
Squats are an excellent lower-body exercise that work your quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, as well as your abdominal muscles. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out slightly.
Using your leg muscles, with your upper body still, straighten up to your starting position. With both hands around the handle, hold the kettle bell close to your chest.
Alternatively, you can hold a kettle bell by the handle in one or both hands, with your arms at your sides. Slowly step forward with your left leg, bending your knee while keeping your right foot in place.
A great exercise for working your abs and obliques (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen that run from your hips to your ribs), the Russian twist can also be done with a weighted medicine ball or barbell plate. When using a kettle bell, be sure to keep a firm grip so that you don’t drop it on your lap.
Holding the kettle bell handle with both hands, lean back so that your torso is at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. With your heels a few inches above the floor, rotate your torso from right to left, swinging the kettle bell slightly across your body.
When you’ve completed your repetitions, return to your starting position. When your chest is even with the kettle bell handles, exhale and push your body back up to its starting position.
Hold a kettle bell by the handle so that it rests against the outside part of your shoulder. There are many benefits to working out with kettle bells, for both men and women, across all age groups.
According to a 2019 study, a kettle bell workout is a highly effective way to improve your strength, aerobic power, and overall physical fitness. Compared to resistance circuit-based training, the same study found that a regular kettle bell workout is just as effective at improving cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength.
A 2013 study reported that participants who completed an 8-week kettle bell training session saw noticeable improvements in their aerobic capacity. Kettle bell exercises have the ability to restore muscle mass and improve grip strength in older adults, according to a 2018 study.
According to Harvard Health, kettle bell exercises can also help improve your posture and balance. You typically use your core muscles more with kettle bell exercises than with dumbbells or barbells.
If possible, ask a certified personal trainer at your local gym or fitness center to show you the proper form for kettle bell exercises. Stop immediately if you feel sudden or sharp pain.
A little mild soreness after a workout is normal, but you shouldn’t feel sudden, sharp pain while working out. Kettle bells can take a little getting used to, but working out with them is a highly effective way of improving your muscle strength and cardio fitness.
The key is to start slow and, if possible, with the help of a certified personal trainer. If you don’t already know, kettle bell exercises are one of the most underrated forms of muscle building methods out there.
The fact that they are known as one of the most versatile gym equipment should be a clue to there effectiveness in building muscle and getting stronger. Because of the kettle bell ’s shape, you can push, pull, and swing it like nothing else, and unlock a new branch of exercises that are pretty much impossible without it.
Follow these six kettle bell exercises to add more muscle, melt more fat, boost your endurance, and move better. You’ll improve your body quickly and build the foundation for every other kettle bell exercise.
Stand feet shoulder-width apart with the kettle bell between your legs and the handle inline with the bony part of your ankles. Squeeze the handle hard, pull your shoulders backward, and crush your armpits.
The kettle bell swing is a fantastic exercise to strengthen your body and burn a ton of fat. It develops tremendous power in your hamstrings, glutes, and core, which will improve your other lifts like the squat and dead lift.
Start with the kettle bell dead lift first —it will build a great foundation and teach good technique. Then, hike the kettle bell back between your legs like a center in football and explosively drive your hips forward.
With a correct swing, the kettle bell should reach around the height of your belly button or chest, no higher. Use it as a power exercise early in your workout or at the end as a brutal finisher.
The push press is a phenomenal, explosive move that sculpts big shoulders, huge traps, and ripped triceps. It also builds tremendous core stability and forces you to generate power from your lower body, transfer it up the kinetic chain, and out through your arms, which is integral in every sport.
Lower yourself into a very partial squat and explode upward with your legs while driving your arms overhead. At the top, make sure your biceps are next to your ears and your wrists are flat, not bent backward.
Carefully lower the kettle bells back to the rack position and repeat. It’s also a safe and efficient way to bring the kettle bell to the rack position for your overhead exercises.
Then, hike the kettle bell back between your legs like a center in football and explosively drive your hips forward. Use it as a power exercise early in your workout or at the end as a brutal finisher.
Because it travels more distance, the snatch builds more power than the swing or clean. Then, hike the kettle bell back between your legs like a center in football and explosively drive your hips forward.
The most common problem with the snatch is when the kettle bell slams on your forearm at the top. Use it as a power exercise early in your workout or at the end as a brutal finisher.
This is a phenomenal dynamic exercise that blasts your obliques, strengthens your shoulders, and activates your hips too. Use it early in your workout to light up your core, warm up your joints, and increase your flexibility.
Its wider handle makes it easier to grip with two hands (for the classic swing move), and its smoother finish is less likely to injure your skin over time. Dragon Door was the first company to popularize kettle bells in America, which is why the most other brands simply copy that shape down to the millimeter.
The Matrix Elite looks the same at first glance, but it features a slightly wider handle that won’t pinch your pinkies in two-handed positions. It’s also designed so that kettle bells of different weights will rest on the same place on your forearm, regardless of their size—this is preferred by advanced users for one-handed work.
Finally, we like that Kettle bells USA often has the Matrix Elite on sale for just a few dollars more than our budget pick. It also has a slightly wider base that makes it more stable to hold in a plank position—something that advanced users will appreciate.
If the goal is to learn kettle bell basics and use two-handed techniques, all of these bells are quite suitable, and being budget conscious (finding sales/free shipping) isn’t a bad route. We (Keira and I) have trained more than 800 clients in kettle bell techniques since 2008, and we’ve taught multiple instructor certifications in the US and abroad.
Kettle bell exercises combine cardiovascular and resistance training in one exercise—which means you’re improving conditioning (and burning fat) while building muscle. While they’ve been around since the early 18th century (the word first appears in a Russian dictionary from 1704), kettle bells have experienced a huge resurgence in the fitness industry in the past 10 years.
(Most recently, as the coronavirus pandemic forced people to work out at home, significant stock shortages have become the norm.) Their unique shape and functionality give them many of the strength-building benefits of dumbbells while also providing users with the opportunity to do kettle bell -specific drills that involve a lot of movement, like the swing.
The closed-loop handle of a kettle bell offers users a secure grip for movements with both hands. Dumbbells are better suited to doing squats, curls, bench press, cleans, and other exercises that have less kinetic motion.
That means you can fulfill all your workout needs with one simple tool that stows easily in a closet. One important caveat to this endorsement of kettle bell training is that proper technique makes all the difference between effective and beneficial use and potential injury.
You can also consult credible online tutorials, and many trainers will set up a Skype arrangement where you can send videos to them for feedback and coaching. My wife, master ROC trainer Keira Newton, has an awesome YouTube page with all kinds of tutorials/workouts for kettle bells.
In terms of credible resources on kettle bell techniques and workout ideas, here are a few great sources available digitally and/or in print: Dragon Door has the most resources in terms of kettle bell books and DVDs (at least in the “hard style” approach that I use) available.
Finally, Steve Cotter is a master practitioner/teacher of competition kettle bell lifting techniques. While many people recommend women starting with an 8-kilogram bell (about 16 pounds), I think that the two-handed lifts like squats and swings aren’t very well-served by that low weight.
If you want to start modestly, my suggestion would be to get the 13-pound version of our budget pick and then order a larger, higher quality bell once you feel comfortable. With these three, all kinds of single and double kettle bell work is easily achievable and scalable.
Both of these linked pieces reiterate my earlier point about seeking credible instruction before beginning an at-home regimen. Then there is the question about which kind of kettle bell you should buy: cast iron, competition, or adjustable.
Cast-iron bells are more comfortable for two-handed grip positions, which beginners should master before moving onto the more challenging one-handed exercises. It’s not worth paying extra unless you actually plan on competing—a slim minority of home kettle bell users.
Photo: Mark BixbyUnlike with dumbbells, adjustable kettle bells aren’t a good buy. A kettle bell should be capable of being thrown, dropped, and even juggled, so I would opt for single-forged metal that can stand up to a beating—and stay together in the process.
Also, a major frustration with adjustable kettle bells is that they don’t offer a wide enough weight range to make them ideal for many. As it turns out, there’s not a huge amount of difference between these things because most of them borrow their design from the Dragon Door ROC.
Dragon Door was the first US company to run kettle bell instructor certifications (taught by famed instructor Pavel Tsatsouline) and have mass distribution in the US (Dragon Door started selling these bells in 2001). Dragon Door bells achieved great acclaim, but their high price point (roughly $120 each after shipping and handling, the highest in our test) invited lots of competition from other companies.
CAP is another popular fitness company that makes a good bell at a lower price point. For example, this Yes4All bell is one of the most popular models on Amazon, but its large, flat face is hard on the wrists in one-handed positions.
Although much more rare, some companies compete by distinguishing their offerings from Dragon Door’s with different designs. Perform Better at one point implemented a screw-on rubber skid plate on the bottom of their bells, but later on scrapped it due to negative customer feedback.
Vinyl-covered bells were created to protect floor spaces in commercial gyms and homes, but more often, the vinyl is there to smooth over the defects of a cheaply cast bell, and they often get criticized for very uneven handles that cause hand pain and tearing. They were extremely uneven in terms of metal handle quality, had limited weight options, and they weren’t significantly cheaper than the budget options we ended up testing—you don’t even save money on shipping.
From left: Matrix Elite, CAP Cast Iron Competition, Rogue, Perform Better First Place, Dragon Door ROC. Photo: Anton BrkicOur testing group, which consisted of myself and five members of the high school varsity baseball team I coach, worked with all five bells at the beginner/intermediate level and did only two-handed moves (dead lifts, squats, presses, high pulls, and swings).
However, if a person is interested in exploring the full range of what kettle bell exercises have to offer (including the kettle bell snatch, which in lab testing has yielded a remarkable rate of burning 20.2 calories a minute over a 20-minute workout—the same rate of caloric burn as a 6-minute mile pace), a premium bell like the Matrix bell is definitely what they should opt for. A poorly produced handle can rip callouses off the hands during snatching, and this test is where the bells differentiated themselves.
In fact, I wouldn’t use the CAP or Rogue bells for high-rep snatching because they have coarse handles and some tackiness from the painted finish. If you order through the company’s website and have a problem, Kettle bells USA will “make it right, period!” by sending a replacement and taking care of return shipping fees.
Photo: Mark Blythe Matrix Elite kettle bell has a slightly different handle dimension and more distance from the ball part of the bell to the handle to create a larger opening for more comfortable two-handed positions. The Matrix bell clearly outclassed the competition for two-handed work, as the smooth, e-coated handle with a wider grip was consistently easy on the hands, even when doing high repetition sets of 20-plus kettle bell swings.
Even when the user advances to the one-handed moves, both two-handed swings and goblet squats should remain essential parts of a kettle bell program. Any flaws in a kettle bell will be exposed when you use just one hand, but the attention to detail in forging a smooth, seamless handle was clearly on display with this bell.
Besides the handle shape, the Matrix Elite (right) looks almost identical to the Dragon Door ROC, which costs anywhere from $30 to $50 more. Photo: Mark BixbyAnother thing that sets the Matrix Elite apart from other kettle bells (including Kettle bells USA's own “classic” line) is the fact that it’s designed to have the same “rack” position (where the round part rests on your forearm) regardless of weight and size.
Most companies use standard molds repeatedly, and inevitably, residue from previous castings creates uneven surface textures like edges or gaps. Finally, Kettle bells USA showed awesome customer service throughout my process of testing.
If you're used to standard Dragon Door ROC kettle bells (or any of its many clones), the Matrix Elite's rack position might feel strange at first, since the ball part sits higher up on the forearm by comparison. If you see the bell offered at full price (with no discounted shipping), wait seven to 10 days, and you should find it available more cheaply.
If the Matrix Elite is unavailable, or if you just want a standard-shaped bell without the wider handle, the Perform Better First Place Kettle bell feels the same in use as the high-end Dragon Door, but costs about 25 percent less. In fact, its dimensions are identical except for the extra half inch of flat base diameter on the bottom of the Perform Better bell.
This means it performs identically, but is easier to hold in a push -up position for the sometimes-precarious renegade row —typically done with two kettle bells of the same size. Like the Dragon Door and Matrix Elite, the First Place has a smooth, seamless handle, few surface defects, and a high-quality finish.
While Perform Better wouldn’t divulge what process it uses, I noticed that it’s somewhere between a matte powder coat and a glossy e-coat. Reading user reviews (see here and here) that slam performs Better for having noticeable seams on the underside of the handle or other defects isn’t helpful considering the construction specs on their bells currently.
The bell I received from them was really well-made, and it showed no signs of being defective in build or user experience. I contacted Perform Better about this discrepancy, and company reps explained that among other small changes, they’d since switched to a gravity casting process, which creates a more uniform surface, as you recall.
It’s also worth noting that Perform Better frequently has sales on its kettle bells, and while it’s usually cheaper to buy Perform Better bells directly from the company, it's worth checking Amazon and Strongest before buying to find the best deal. If budget is your bottom line, then we’d recommend the CAP Cast Iron Competition Bell.
But unless you really need to save a few bucks, it’s worth investing in our top pick, since these things last forever. In fact, none of the five baseball player panelists said they would pay extra for any of the other bells for the basic routines they were testing with.
The powder-coated CAP (left) and Rogue (center) bells are rougher than the e-coated Dragon Door (right). Photo: Mark Blythe CAP bell has a powder-coated matte finish and a slightly gritty (though it’s evenly dispersed grit) handle to provide a good grip (though a bit on the coarser end of those we tested) and a flat bottom so it doesn’t rock when used for push -ups or rowing moves.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Dragon Door ROC Kettle bell should feel pretty good about itself. Unfortunately for Dragon Door, other companies have been able to duplicate its design at a comparable level of quality for a lot cheaper.
Interestingly, the Rogue bell has a 4.9-star rating on its website, with more than 100 reviews at the time of this guide's publication. Chad Settler, John Forward, Carl Foster, and Mark Andes, Kettle bells: Twice the Results in Half the Time?, ACE Fitness Matters
This is a kettle bell swing and push up workout I do when I’m short on time. The whole thing takes 20-40 minutes (depending on how many sets I do) and involves only those two exercises.
The Kettle bell Swing is an effective exercise for the posterior chain. Correctly executed, a push up trains the chest, shoulders, core and triceps.
In two exercises, the kettle bell swing and push up workout covers pretty much all of your body! I always go for a Cast Iron Kettle bell because I find the plastic ones to be poor build quality and too bulky because the material weighs less.
I’ve written before about training simply — that more exercises doesn’t always mean better. Oftentimes adding exercises in to a workout is purely to make it longer, not any more effective.
I can promise you that done properly, you’ll definitely feel a training effect and won’t believe how good a workout you can have without much kit! Personal Trainer, Father and fitness copywriter.
When performing push -ups utilizing a pair of kettle bells your range of motion is greatly increased, improving chest activation as well as the core activation involved. While maintaining a straight back lower yourself down into the bottom of a push -up.
Place your feet on a high bench and perform push -ups off of your kettle bell handles, resulting in a large increase in range of motion. Invest in a high quality kettle bell or two that’ll stand the test of time here.
Elbows flared out to the sides decreases chest engagement while simultaneously increases your risk of shoulder injuries. To work the chest in its entirety we must perform the full range of motion!