While they are not the first choice for arm workouts, kettlebells can help in this area too. Find out what arm exercises you can do.
This list will focus on arm muscles like your biceps, triceps, deltoids (shoulder), and forearm grip muscles. To train your back and chest muscles a lot, you have to choose other movements.
1. Lying kettlebell tricep extensions
Besides one or two kettlebells, you also need a flat weight bench to do kettlebell tricep extensions. Once you have the gear requirements, take the following steps to do the exercise:
- Sit on the weight bench with one or two kettlebells on your lap.
- Kick back the kettlebells and lie down at the same time. Keep the kettlebells at chest height for now.
- Push the kettlebells up until your arms are slightly less than stretched and tilt your arms back as far as needed to have room for the next step.
- Slowly lower the kettlebells as far as comfortable behind your head by folding your arms. Keep your upper arms in the same position and your wrists more or less straight.
- Return the kettlebells to the position of step 3 by stretching your arms again in a controlled motion.
As the name implies, lying kettlebell tricep extensions mainly target your triceps. These are the muscles in the back of your upper arms.
Using a weight bench makes it easier to keep your upper arms and body still. In turn, this could lead to a more effective kettlebell tricep workout.
One thing to note is that kettlebells are not the ideal equipment choice.
This arm exercise typically uses other weights that are more compact and less likely to bump against your head.
2. Kettlebell bicep curls
This next kettlebell arm exercise is relatively straightforward in both technique and equipment requirements. Take the following steps to do a kettlebell bicep curl:
- Stand up straight with a kettlebell in each hand. Point your hand palms forward.
- Slowly raise the kettlebells by folding your arms at the elbows. Keep your upper arms and the rest of your body in the same position during this movement.
- Lower the kettlebells back into starting position in a controlled motion.
This movement is the base version of many other kettlebell bicep exercises.
As you will notice while doing the curls, your biceps are the muscles in the front parts of your upper arms.
One downside of kettlebell bicep curls is that the metal balls could potentially bump against your thighs and interfere with the exercise.
That is one reason why curls are typically done as a dumbbell bicep exercise.
3. Kettlebell shoulder press
Kettlebell shoulder presses are another arm exercise where you don’t need any other fitness equipment. Take the following steps to do movement:
- Put two kettlebells about shoulder-width apart on the ground. Hold the handles.
- Swing the kettlebells forward and upward so that you can keep them close to your body at about shoulder height. Point your upper arms forward at about 45-degree angles to the horizontal line of your shoulders.
- Push the kettlebells upward in a controlled motion until your arms are slightly less than stretched. Keep your wrists more or less straight throughout the movement.
- Slowly lower the kettlebells back to shoulder height. Again, keep the angle of your upper arms in mind.
Kettlebell shoulder presses are more of a compound movement that works your triceps, deltoids (shoulders), and upper trapezius (upper shoulders/neck) in nice amounts.
By using kettlebells, your forearm muscles will typically have a harder time keeping your wrists in position. As long as this does not interfere with your workouts, this could be a positive point.
4. Seated hand palms up kettlebell wrist curls
The biceps, triceps, and even deltoids get a lot of attention but you have other arm muscles too.
More specifically, there are a variety of muscles in your forearms that are responsible for moving your wrists and keeping them in position.
One movement that works some of these is the seated kettlebell wrist curl. Take the following steps to do this exercise:
- Sit on a sturdy object with a light kettlebell in each hand. Rest your forearms on your upper legs and let your wrists hang down for now.
- Slowly raise the kettlebells as far as comfortable by tilting your wrists back. Keep your forearms in the same position.
- Lower your wrists again in a controlled motion.
If you find it hard to keep your forearms in position, you can also consider resting them on the sturdy object itself. This does make the exercise itself slightly less comfortable.
That aside, hand palms up kettlebell wrist curls work the forearm muscles on the side that points upward in this position.
You can also rotate your wrists 180 degrees to work the muscles on the opposite side of your forearms.
5. Lateral kettlebell raises
Lateral kettlebell raises are another straightforward arm exercise. Take the following steps to do this movement:
- Stand up straight with a kettlebell in each hand. Keep your wrists at angles that are comfortable for you.
- Move the kettlebells sideways and upward in a controlled motion. Stop when your upper arms are about horizontal.
- Slowly lower the kettlebells so that you are back in starting position.
Lateral kettlebell raises are a shoulder isolation exercise. More specifically, this movement focuses on the middle part of your deltoid muscles.
Kettlebells are not perfect since they may limit your range of motion by a tiny amount at the bottom of the movement.
That being said, you should have no trouble growing and strengthening your shoulder muscles with this kettlebell arm exercise.
Are kettlebells good for arms?
Kettlebells are not as good for arms as something like a pair of dumbbells or a cable machine. At the same time, you should definitely still be able to grow and strengthen the most important arm muscles with kettlebells.
How do you tone your arms with a kettlebell?
Toning your arms is a combination of two steps. First of all, you need to lower your body fat percentage enough through other kettlebell exercises and lifestyle habits. Secondly, you grow your arm muscles by doing the right kettlebell exercises with the right weight, reps, and sets.