The best kettlebell back exercises are not only effective, but they’re also very easy to learn and practice by yourself at home.
Kettlebells may seem intimidating at first, but don’t let that keep you from trying them out—especially when it comes to back training!
This guide will teach you how to perform the best kettlebell back exercises and how to perform them safely so you can get strong and sculpted shoulders, lats, traps, and rhomboids in no time!
Kettlebells are an excellent piece of equipment to include in your exercise routine if you’re looking to strengthen your back and improve your posture.
Kettlebell back exercises are one of the most effective ways to work the muscles of your back, both to strengthen them and to develop the tone and definition you want in your back.
By knowing which kettlebell back exercises to perform and how to do them, you can make sure that you get the results you’re looking for and reach your fitness goals more quickly than if you didn’t know what exercises to do or how to do them correctly.
Kettlebells can be great tools to help you build and tone your back, but if you’re new to kettlebells, it can be hard to know what exercises are the best kettlebell back exercises.
With so many options at your disposal, how do you know which moves to start with?
While there are lots of great exercises for building strength in your upper back muscles, lower back muscle, and your core the 15 I’ve listed today are the best!
Firstly let’s look have a closer look at this popular functional training tool.
Getting started with kettlebells
If you’re just getting started with kettlebell exercises, don’t fret.
While it’s helpful to understand some of the basics, you don’t need a degree in exercise science or strength training to get started.
In fact, all you really need is a kettlebell and maybe an Internet connection.
A simple YouTube search will yield all kinds of free tutorials that can help beginners figure out how to use and get results from these cast-iron gems.
Here are a few tips for starters Wear comfortable clothing that allows room for movement.
To make sure you’ve chosen properly, always wear lighter clothing when lifting than what you might wear when working out.
Also, make sure your shoes aren’t tied too tightly—you want your feet to be able to move naturally.
Start slow: Beginners should start with 15 minutes of kettlebell swings before moving on to other moves.
The swing helps build flexibility while strengthening your arms, abs, and back.
When performing the swing, stand with legs hip-width apart with one foot slightly ahead of the other.
Keep knees slightly bent throughout the workout.
Hold weight in both hands at chest level with elbows slightly bent.
Hinge forward at hips until torso is almost parallel to the floor while keeping the spine straight.
Drive hips forward to send kettlebell between legs as if swinging purse overhead (as shown), then reverse direction quickly by pushing hips back as you swing weight behind you.
Repeat until set is complete for best results (about 20 reps).
Perform two or three sets.
Once that gets easy, pick up speed:
Work up a sweat by performing three sets of 12 repetitions at maximum speed followed by 30 seconds rest between sets.
Are Kettlebells Good For Posture?
The kettlebell swing and snatches are, without a doubt, two of the best exercises to improve your posture.
These exercises engage more than just your back muscles; they also target your shoulders, chest, and core.
While these exercises target your posterior chain, many lifters neglect their back in favor of working on their biceps and abs (which is why you’ll often see men with great abdominal muscles but virtually no upper-back development).
That’s a mistake:
It’s crucial to have strong lats (the muscle that runs along either side of your spine) if you want healthy joints and proper spinal alignment.
Adding some kettlebell workouts into your routine will do wonders for your posture.
How Do I Train My Back With Kettlebells?
First and foremost, you need to make sure you know how to lift kettlebells in a safe manner.
If you don’t, here are a few quick tips.
Keep your back straight.
Bend with your knees, not your back.
And drive back up through your heels.
Now, it’s time to put your muscles through some exercises.
In particular, I like bent-over rows (where you grab a kettlebell handle with two hands and pull back on an imaginary bar) for building muscle in my upper back.
You also may want to incorporate shrugs and deadlifts into your routine as well. But now let’s dive right into the best 15 kettlebell back exercises.
1. Kettlebell swings
The kettlebell swing has been praised for its ability to build powerful glutes, a strong lower back, and a solid core.
This dynamic movement is performed by holding a kettlebell in both hands while standing with feet at hip-width or wider.
The weight should be held in front of your torso with straight arms as you hinge at your hips and bend your knees to drop into a squat position.
With control, stand up through your hips by thrusting them forward, swinging the kettlebell upwards.
Allow momentum to carry it between your legs until your arms are extended out in front of you and then allow gravity to return it between your legs.
Want to know if 100 Kettlebell swings a day will work? Read more here.
2. Turkish get-ups
Start by lying on the floor with your right knee bent and a single kettlebell held straight up above you in your right hand.
Drive up through your left hand and right foot so you lift your upper body up into a seated position.
Now lift your hips up high so you can scoop your left leg under you in a lunge position.
You should now be in a lunge with your right hand up in the air.
Slowly step up onto both feet.
Always make sure that you are looking up at the kettlebell.
Now move back through the step in reverse to lower yourself back into the starting position.
3. Single Arm Rows
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell in your right hand.
Bend knees slightly and hinge forward from hips, keeping back flat and core engaged.
Row kettlebell up to chest level while maintaining a flat back.
Lower back down to starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
Continue for specified reps then switch sides and repeat set.
Keep proper form throughout the movement.
(If you’re unable to balance properly or keep proper form, perform exercise against the wall.)
4. Bentover Reverse Fly
The bent-over reverse fly is a simple back exercise that’s great for developing upper-back width and thickness.
It’s also an ideal beginner exercise for those new to kettlebell training.
With the kettlebell resting on the floor in front of you, bend forward at your hips until your torso is almost parallel to the floor.
Then take a large step back with one leg, lowering yourself into a lunge position.
Now you want to pull the kettlebell out and up.
Keep a bend in your elbow and lead the pull from your elbow so that it’s always higher than your wrist.
This is going to look much like a lateral raise only you’re leaning forward more.
5. Single Arm Deadlifts
When it comes to kettlebell back exercises, you can’t go wrong with simple.
Very similar to how you would perform the deadlift movement pattern with a barbell.
The single-arm deadlift is a simple exercise that’s not only great for helping you to strengthen your lower back and hamstrings but also works your abs and core as well.
Start with a kettlebell in front of your feet, then by holding a kettlebell in one hand, stand up straight.
With your feet shoulder-width apart (or wider if necessary).
Keep your chest lifted and your eyes forward.
Bend down at your hips until your arm is fully extended, hold for a second and then come back up.
Repeat 10 times on each side with good form.
6. Laying Kettlebell Pullovers
Laying on your back take the kettlebell by the handle so the weight would be facing up if you were standing.
Now, holding it straight above your face lower it to the ground above your head with straight arms.
Pulling from your lats bring the kettlebell straight back up above you again. you will feel muscle activation in your core, triceps, and shoulders as well.
7. Bentover Row
This kettlebell back exercise primarily targets your latissimus dorsi (or lats for short), though you’ll also feel some activation of your rhomboids, teres major, posterior deltoids, and biceps.
Perform bent-over rows by holding a kettlebell with both hands and bending at your hips to about 90 degrees with knees slightly bent.
You should feel your shoulder blades pulled together in the middle of your back—this is called scapular retraction.
People commonly make mistakes during this movement by letting them drift apart as you row or not drawing them together enough.
If that’s happening, just adjust yourself on each rep until it feels right; practice makes perfect!
Drive through your heels to bring your torso up until it’s parallel with the floor while squeezing your shoulder blades together tightly.
8. Kettlebell High Pull
The kettlebell high pull is a simple movement that helps develop explosive power in your posterior chain.
Stand up straight with a light-to-medium-weight kettlebell.
Bend at your knees, hips, and elbows—all while keeping your back straight—and lift it as high as you can.
Your elbows want to lead the way on this movement and should finish above your wrists at the top of the movement.
You don’t need to bring your hands higher than eye level.
Pause for one second, then slowly return to your starting position.
That’s one rep.
Do two sets of 12 reps each day, with three days of rest between workouts.
9. Kettlebell Renegade Rows
Renegade rows are more commonly done with dumbbells but that doesn’t mean they can’t be done with kettlebells as well.
Hope down on the floor into a prone hold position, similar to a plank position only on your palms with straight arms.
With the kettlebell underneath your left arm, take hold of the handle and row it up to your chest before lowering it back down again.
You can go a step further by holding and kettlebell in each hand.
Step your legs out a little further to help with your balance.
And if you want to go to another level again.
Do a push up then alternate rows on each side!
10. Kettlebell Snatch
One of the kettlebell’s most popular exercises, especially for women.
This exercise works your back, shoulders, and core.
It trains power as well as explosiveness so it’s useful for athletic performance.
Start with a lightweight that you can swing properly for 20 reps and build up from there.
You will perform three sets of 20 reps each workout day.
To perform a kettlebell snatch you’ll be swinging with one day straight up above your head.
You want to roll the kettlebell around your wrist rather than straight up and over. you can do this either as a continuous swing or by starting each rep from the floor.
From the floor is more popular in CrossFit workouts.
11. Kettlebell Clean
The kettlebell clean is an explosive move that teaches you how to quickly move weight from one place to another and build total-body power.
Start by holding a kettlebell between your legs, with your feet shoulder-width apart and hips back.
Squat down, gripping the handle with both hands, then drive through your heels as you explode up.
As you come up, shrug your shoulders as hard as possible and squeeze your glutes tight.
The kettlebell is going to come up and roll over into the crook of your elbow with your hand tucked under your chin.
Then push it back down into a squat position; repeat for 12 reps per set.
12. Kettlebell Halo
Halo is a complete exercise for your upper body.
It does involve your back, but it’s also a great exercise for your shoulders and arms.
To do halo, you want to stand straight up with your hands holding the kettlebell by the horns. with bent elbows, you want the circle the kettlebell around your head keeping your core tight and you move through in one direction.
Now repeat the movement back in the opposite direction.
13. Figure Eight
Start off with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width with a kettlebell underneath you.
You want to take the kettlebell in your right hand and swing it around the outside of your right leg.
Your left hand is going to come under your legs to receive it then swing the kettlebell around the outside of your left leg for your right to receive from the front.
This action draws a figure eight in and around your legs.
Keep your back straight and your core tight during the full movement.
14. Single Arm Kettlebell Swing
Swinging a kettlebell back and forth between two hands can be difficult to master; swinging it only with one hand requires an immense amount of control.
This is a demanding exercise, but you’ll get a great workout because your core, legs, and back muscles are forced to work in unison.
Swing for 10-12 repetitions, which will give you plenty of time to focus on your breathing and form.
15. Deadlift High Pull
The deadlift high pull is a great exercise to help you build up your back muscles.
It’s similar to a clean and press, but instead of bringing it over your head, you bring it only about two-thirds of the way there, so that you finish with the handle in front of you.
Start by picking up one kettlebell and standing with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.
Your feet should be just outside shoulder width.
Grab hold of a kettlebell with both hands and lift it off of its stand.
This will get you ready for step 2:
Keeping your arms straight at all times
Drive through your heels as if you were trying to push them into the floor.
Then drive up from your hips explosively.
Pulling with the muscles on either side of your waist.
As you do, raise your arms until your hands come up to eye level.
Pause momentarily before lowering back down under control to return to start position.
Next up have a read of the best kettlebell exercises for building thick legs!
Below I’ve added a video I uploaded to youtube recently breakdown my top 5 exercises as well as giving you a workout to try out!
And before you go don’t forget to download your FREE copy of my EBook ‘Train Wherever The F*ck You Want’