Kettlebell workouts can be used for many aims, from crossfit esque HIIT to kettlebell chest workout for your pecs. These kettlebell chest exercises can be used to both strengthen and grow your pec muscles.
No spam – just thoughtful training advice
People who only have kettlebells to train with often miss some key upper body strength movements including those for the chest. There are a huge variety of kettlebell exercises for developing the chest / pectorals even if all you have are two kettlebells. Let’s take a look at 7 kettlebell chest exercises you can do at home, their benefits, when to use them and different variations.
Although they target the same muscle group, the chest (pectorals) the exercises listed below have a lot of different benefits.
Some exercises are great for developing strength or hypertrophy like the kettlebell floor press, whereas the more function style movements like the KB press in hollow hold is excellent at recruiting the chest while requiring a great deal of core stabilisation. Other exercises like the diamond kb push ups is very good for building muscular endurance through performing a lot of repetitions. Having these exercises in your pocket is great when coming up with your next at home KB session.
These can be used to create a training session just for this particular muscle group / movement category or they can be used in an upper body session or a full body resistance training session. Structuring your session with the exercises that cause the highest fatigue at the start is a great way to go, have a look at the exercise label, primary, secondary or tertiary to see how we structure where the exercise would be put in a full body resistance training session.
The Alternating KB Floor Press is an excellent single arm horizontal press variation that is very challenging for the chest but also the core musculature. The effect of alternating between sides will mean that you have the weights in hand for an extended period of time, so just be aware that it can be slightly more difficult than true unilateral exercises. Be aware that crashing the elbow towards the floor can be painful so make sure you are controlling the eccentric movement is controlled.
The Half Seated KB Press is a very novel and interesting chest exercise that is a mix between horizontal press and vertical press. This exercise is not effective for maximal strength work and is primarily used for shoulder health and adding some novelty into a training programme that may be lacking variety.
The KB Crush Grip Floor Press is a perfect variation for the chest if you find yourself with a single kettlebell and are bored with press up variations. It can be very helpful for these situations, but it often requires a heavy kettlebell for intermediate and advanced trainees. If you are advanced and don’t have a heavy kettlebell you should perform a lot of repetitions until you have generated fatigue.
The KB Floor Press is one of my favourite kettlebell exercises that I often use with my clients. It is very effective at building upper body strength, especially for those who perform contact sport and find themselves needing to exert a great deal of force while on the floor. It also shortens the range of motion of the press, meaning you can lift heavy weights.
The KB Floor Press In Hollow Hold is a niche horizontal press variation that adds a core element into the traditional pressing variations. This should not be used as a primary chest exercise as the core element will prevent you from lifting any real weight. It however can be a great secondary exercise that adds a novel exercise into your training regime.
The Diamond KB Push Ups is kind of a cheat suggestion as it just uses the kettlebell as support, that being said, if you’ve searched for kettlebell chest exercises to find novel and interesting exercises then consider giving this exercise a try as it is both a fun and challenging exercises.
The Single Arm KB Floor Press is the most effective unilateral chest exercise with a KB. It requires both the chest musculature and core musculature. This exercise can be a great variation for both the advanced and beginner trainees.
A1) KB Floor Press
A2) Single Arm Gorilla Row
B1) Diamond KB Press Ups
B2) Half Kneeling KB Press
C1) Half Seated KB Press
C2) Tall Kneeling KB Horn Curl
Yes, there are many exercises which can be used to work and train the chest muscles also known as the horizontal press movement category.
Yes, it’s a little bit more difficult to load this movement compared to a barbell or dumbbells but is still an effective exercise.
These goals can be attained using kettlebells, but will also need a lot of emphasis on nutrition.
If you enjoyed this resource you can find more below or try Programme, a fitness app that plans every workout for you – based on your progress, equipment and lifestyle.
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.