Back Kettlebell Exercises... Have You Ever Heard of Back Curls?
It always sounds scary at first... I guess because most women have back issues.
- Low back pain from sitting...
- Upper back pain from stress and sitting...
- All around back pain from sitting and bad posture... we all suffer from it.
It's called life.
But I'm going to show you a lot of back kettelbell exercises that will strength your... your posterior chain... ie, entire back...
And when you mix in mobility... your body will begin feeling incredible.
Let's Talk Mobility First
If you have a really tight back right now...
I would focus on:
- Hip mobility
- Back and spine mobility
- Shoulder mobility
You need to restore some range of motion in your back so doing these exercises is safe.
We'll talk back mobility in a different blog post.
Back Kettlebell Exercises... A Full Breakdown
Hollow Hold with Single Kettlebell
I am using the hollow hold to bring up your core in general.
Your core is not just your abs... but wraps around your body... to your QL muscles and erector muscles in your back. Even your lats can play a big roll.
A strong core will help you back.
Read this post on core exercises with a kettlebell . All of the exercises in this post are powerful... so start using them.
Kettlebell swings are amazing for your back... your entire backside for that matter.
At the top of a kettlebell swing you should be fully locked out... hard.
- Shoulders pulled back
- Core pulled in and engaged
- Butt squeezed
The back side of your body is fully engaged and holding the momentum of the kettlebell as it swings.
There are even studies that have found during the hinged part of the kettlebell swing... you get some spinal decompression.
We should all be doing more swings... during workouts and throughout the day.
If you're new to kettlebells... learn the kettlebell swing here .
For the same reason swings are good... snatches are good too.
But snatches add in some upper back streangth through the shoulder as well.
I'll do what I call... reach snatches sometimes for shoulder and upper back mobility.
A reach snatch is nothing more than:
- Snatching a light kettlebell over your head.
- Holding at the top breifly.
- Extending the kettlebell as high as you can.. really reaching through your whole body and shoulder.
You'll feel this in your shoulders... your shouldre blades... and even into your core and obliques.
If you're new to kettlebells... learn to snatch a kettlebell here .
This is a great kettlebell back exercise and easy to do.
Grab your kettlebell upside down and by the handle.
Rotate it behind you like you're doing a halo. Once it's behind you... let it sink further down your back.
Slightly bend your knees and perform a hip hinge as if you were doing a kettlebell deadlift .
Keep hinging until your spine is just above parallel to the ground.
Keep your core engaged... thrust with your hips and come all the way up to standing.
This is an anti-rotation exercise.
Your core will stop a rotational force and change directions.
The reason I'm including this exercise in a back exercise list is becuase it hits your entire core... including your back.
Grab a kettlebell by the handle. Your elbows are close to your body... and your forearms are parallel with the floor.
Take a wide stance... enough so you feel very solid on the ground.
Rotate at your hips.... fast... changing directions each time you get close to rotating a full 180 degrees.
This is a very dynamic exercise. Your entire body will be engaged... including your back.
You learned about this a little with the kettlebell snatches.
But this time... grab a heavier weight.
Push press it over your head and hold it there for:
- 30 seconds
- 45 seconds
- 60 seconds or more
This is really great for your shoulders... but not just your immediate shoulder...
All the way down through your shoulder blade... your lats... and into your core too.
I love adding these into the end of a workout... or even better... as active rest during a workout.
Rows (Multiple Types)
Now we're talking about some direct back and shoulder exercises.
You probably need to row more. A row is a pull exercise... most exercise plans do not do enough pulling. They're typically heavy on pushing motions.
The more you row the better balanced your body will be.
Here are some different types of kettlebell rows:
Bent Over Row With Leverage
This is the row I use the most when teaching classes for Fit Women's Weekly LIVE .
All you need is a dumbbell or a kettlebell.
Take a wide stance and bend one of your legs like you're doing a lunge.
Lean on the bent leg with your forearm. The kettlebell is going to be right below you.
Push into the top of your thigh with your forearm as you row (or pull) the kettlebell up.
Repeat and keep going.
- You can go heavy for pure strength...
- You can go light for some endurance...
- You can do negatives (a slow rep for strength)...
- You can do static holds as well...
If you're going to go heavy you might want to check out the...
This is nearly the same as the bent over row... but you'll lean on a box.
This is going to give you more stability and allow you to go a little heavier than just leaning into your thigh.
Find a box... a chair... the arm of a couch can work well if it's not too soft.
Put one knee up on the box and one hand as well. Your kettlebell is hanging off the side.
Push into the box with your hand and row the kettlebell up.
Make sure to keep your spine straight.
Bent Over Row
You need two lighter kettlbells for this variation.
You have nothing to lean and push into... and a heavy kettlebell will ruin your form.
I love these rows for endurance and speed work.
Take two kettlebells and stand over them in a wide stance.
Hinge at your waist and make sure the weight over your feet is solid. Grab your kettlebells.
Now it depends on the version you'll do...
But you'll row the kettlebell between your legs... while maintaining a straight spine.
Ok we're done with the rows for now.
This is more of a mobility exercise for your shoulders... and your shoulders are part of your back right?
I love doing halos in my warm up... or mid workout as part of an active rest period.
Hold a lighter kettlebell upside down.
Rotate the kettlebell behind you... and all the way around your head until it returns to the starting position.
Then repeat some reps in the same direction and make sure to get the other direction.
You'll feel your shoulders opening up. It feels amazing.
You can and probably should do this during the day to loosen up your shoulders from sitting.
We've talked about how windmills are a great core exercise with kettlebells.
And remember... your core includes your back... so windmills are making this kettlebell back exercises list too.
Stand straight up with your feet about hip to shoulder distance apart.
If you're holding the kettebell in your right hand... make sure your feet are slightly pointed to your left... and visa versa.
Press the kettlebell over your head and watch the kettelbell the whole time.
Never take your eyes off the kettlebell.
Hinge at your hips... pop them out and hing your spine down to about parallel to the ground.
For example... if you're holind the kettlebell in your right hand... you'll pop your hips over your right foot.
Your right leg will stay straight.
I'll do a full breakdown of the windmill for my YouTube channel so you can watch this in person.
Regarless... windmills are great core and back exercise. A must add to your weekly routine.
The kettlebell high pull is some what like a dynamic row.
It's good for your shoulders mainly... but you do have this pull back into your body that hits your upper back really well... especially if you go heavy.
Let's break this down...
Set up like you're going to be doing a kettlebell snatch.
- Hike the kettlebell back
- Lead your hamstrings
- Fire your hips
- And just as the kettlebell comes through your legs things change up.
Pull hard on the kettlbell to make it go straight up.
As the kettlebell gets to about chest height... pull the kettlebell back into your body.
The keys here are:
- Your elbow is going to remain high... slightly higher than the kettlebell itself.
- You'll pull back until until your shoulder joint stops the movement.
- Keep the kettlebell in-line with your wrist. It takes some practice.
After a very brief pause in this "loaded" position...
Punch the kettlebell back out in front of you so it can swing back down between your legs and get setup back into the loaded position.
Then just repeat.
Again... high pulls take practice... but they are a great exercise.
This is one you probably have not tried or seen before.
I call them back curls.
It's like a back extension machine at the gym... but rather than lifting your upper body...
You're lifing your legs.
It's a great exercise that directly works your spinal errector muscles.
Start without a kettlebell... but you can add in a VERY LIGHT kettlebell to your feet when you're ready.
You do need some way to hold the kettlebell to your feet.
You need a box... table... chair... the taller the better.
Lay your stomach on the box with your hips just off the box. They should be able to hinge up and down off the box.
Hold the front of the box or table with your hands for leverage.
Keep your legs straight and lower them so they either go all the way down... if you're on a tall box.
Or so your toes hit the ground.
Just pull them back up so they are parallel with the ground and keep repeating.
You can rep out or you can hold at the top too. Holding is actually a great exercise too. Really tough!
It's a really good back exercise you should add into your routine.
Holding one kettlebell or two kettlebells in rack is a great back exercise.
It will hit your smaller rotator cuff muscles... but it also forces your to pull your shoulder blades together if you're standing upright.
Keep your elbows off your body... walk around... and you're in for a tough static workout.
This is a fundamental kettlebell exercise and if you want to learn how to workout with kettlebells ... you need to focus on these fundamentals.
Rack Hold with Fly Action
Okay... this is the same as a rack hold but rather than just stically hold...
Pull your shoulder blades together... repping it out.
It's similar to a reverse fly with dumbbells... the same muscle action.
Let's Stop Here And Go Get Our Backs Looking Great
I love a muscular looking back and shoulders.
I love a back that feels incredible with near zero tightness and pain.
These exercises will help you get to that point. But it takes a lot more than just exercises.
- It takes consistency...
- It takes a plan...
- And it takes a coach...
Go sign up for Fit Women's Weekly LIVE . It's our LIVE streaming private workout group.
Not just custom workouts... training to help you personally.
If you have any questions. Or you want to see some topic covered on the blog... the podcast or YouTube channel.
Hit me up on social.
One of the biggest events of the year is coming on July 10th.
The 8 Week Summer Shred Challange.
And to get the word out... I'm hosting a FREE workout this Saturday the 27th.
- A 30 minute bodyweight interval workout
- No equipment needed
- I'll count every rep out loud
- I'll constantly motivate you
Register for the workout and get my Summer Shred Recipe guide FREE.