The 10 Best Kettlebell Back Exercises (plus kettlebell back workout)

Looking for back exercises when you don’t have access to a gym and can’t use a barbell or machines? Don’t worry we have a huge variety of kettlebell back exercises that you can use to make kettlebell back workouts at home.

7 min read
Sean Klein
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
02/05/22
Last updated
02/04/24
In This Resource
  • Sample Kettlebell Back Workout Superset
  • How To Use Kettlebell Back Workouts For Resistance Training
  • 1. Pulling Variations (Horizontal Pull)
  • 2. Hinge Kettlebell Exercises (Deadlift Variations)
  • Volume Requires for Back Hypertrophy
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • How Do I Train My Back With Kettlebells?
  • Does Kettlebell Exercise Work Your Back?
  • Are Kettlebell Swings A Back Workout?
  • Are There Any Kettlebell Lat Exercises?
  • What Is A Good Home Training Set Up Including Kettlebells?
  • How To Warm Up correctly For Back Workouts (Horizontal Pulling + Hinging)
  • Sample Warm Up for Kettlebell Back Workout
  • References

Looking to improve your posture, improve the strength of your posterior chain or just grow a more muscular back? Look no further than these 10 kettlebell back exercises which will allow you to achieve all the results above with just one bit of equipment. Let’s have a look at the 10 kettlebell back exercises you can start adding into your strength training sessions.

Sample Kettlebell Back Workout Superset

Complete 3 rounds

1. KB Deadlift

Complete 10 repetitions

2. Double KB Gorilla Row

Complete 8 repetitions

How To Use Kettlebell Back Workouts For Resistance Training

The kettlebell can be used to train your back for both strength and hypertrophy (increasing muscle mass). There are two types of movement patterns that can be used to grow your back:

1. Pulling Variations ( Horizontal Pull )

These are a much more direct way to train your back and target mainly the upper back (latissimus dorsi, rear deltoids) but also require a lot of stabilisation from the lower back (spinal erectors). These are also known as row or rowing variations and are very effective kettlebell back exercises. They require a strength in the back muscles but also use the muscles in the arm. These pulling variations include a great deal of kettlebell single arm exercises that can help grow the musculature of the back whilst also improving core strength.

Example

2. Hinge Kettlebell Exercises ( Deadlift Variations )

These are exercises which emphasis a hinge at the hip joint, although the emphasis the hamstrings they also require a lot of work from the back as a whole especially when using heavier weights. Hinge exercises are more advanced kettlebell back exercises as they are slightly more technical than horizontal pull variation. If you’re struggling to learn the hinge technique, don’t feel intimidated to find a coach to help you learn the movement as it will put you in good stead going forward with your strength training. The hinge variations will make up a lot more of your lower back kettlebell work while the row /pulling movements will put more emphasis on your upper back, a mixture of each exercise should be used in your workouts where kettlebell back work is done.

Example

Incorporating a range of both of these movement patterns into your kettlebell training will help grow your back, improve your posture, relieve chronic lower back pain (1) and strengthen your posterior chain. Doing each movement pattern for 4-12 sets per week will ensure you see great results.

Volume Requires for Back Hypertrophy

When trying to grow a particular muscle group, the amount of sets and repetitions performed on that muscle group per week will be crucial to your success. In order to grow the muscle of the back, specifically with kettlebells I would try and add at least 5 sets of heavy hinging into your week and 10 sets of horizontal pulling. This amount of volume will put you in a good place for building the muscles in your back. If you can, add some vertical pulling (4-8 sets per week) on top of that to ensure your applying a stimulus to all the muscles of the back.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Train My Back With Kettlebells?

Use the exercises above to create a full body resistance training programme and perform it consistently, using enough load and volume to create either a strength or hypertrophy stimulus. Creating a strength stimulus will require lift heavier weights for fewer repetitions while inducing hypertrophy effects will need more volume (sets and repetitions in the week) at a lower weight. In terms of hypertrophy, try and strive for between 8-20 sets per week for optimal growth.

Does Kettlebell Exercise Work Your Back?

Kettlebell exercise will have an impact on muscle strength and growth on the musculature of the back if they are used with appropriate loading and volume. Remember kettlebells can be used for a wide range of training goals not just for hypertrophy. Here is an example of a Turkish get up variation kettlebell exercises used for core and shoulder stability from Eric Cressey.

Are Kettlebell Swings A Back Workout?

This all depends on your definition of “back workout”, if your looking to use the back muscles in any way shape or form then yes, if your looking to ensure you create a strength or hypertrophy stimulus then its difficult to say a kettlebell swing is a back workout. It sure the the kettlebell swing will create some form of stimulus for the back muscles. Kettlebell swings are a great lower back workout for both explosive strength and muscular endurance depending on the weight and repetitions use.

Are There Any Kettlebell Lat Exercises?

Yes, a lot of them, each horizontal pull exercise in this article will use your lat muscles. Adding these movements into your workouts will be a great way to grow your lats and all upper back muscles. The kettlebell renegade row is a great example, but this is an advanced kettlebell back exercise. For non kettlebell exercises to train the vertical pull movement, check out our extensive list of vertical pull exercises.

What Is A Good Home Training Set Up Including Kettlebells?

Having a mixture of equipment to create a varied home training set up is a great way to build a fun and varied training programme. I advice having at least a few kettlebells, a TRX is also very effective, especially for back exercises , finally a few dumbbells of differing weights to target movement patterns with the appropriate weights.

How To Warm Up correctly For Back Workouts (Horizontal Pulling + Hinging)

Using simple variations of the exercises you are going to perform in the workout is always the best way to warm up. So for a kettlebell back workout, you might consider using a hinge and a pulling warm up exercise as seen below.

Sample Warm Up for Kettlebell Back Workout

Complete 3 rounds

1. Groin Shift Hinge

Complete 5 repetitions

2. Banded Facepulls

Complete 10 repetitions

References

  • Searle A, Spink M, Ho A, Chuter V. Exercise interventions for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Clin Rehabil. 2015 Dec;29(12):1155-67. doi: 10.1177/0269215515570379. Epub 2015 Feb 13. PMID: 25681408.
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    This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

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