Workout Routines

Just Add Kettlebells for Upper Body Mass

Ditch the barbells for a moment and try building mass with these crude, effective tools.

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Want to get big? Then you need to lift big. But it also pays to lift heavy things besides a nice, familiar barbell. Kettlebells hold tons of value outside of the world of CrossFit or old-timey strongman meets. And you don’t have to limit your kettlebell work to common moves like swings and cleans. This workout allows you to move some iron in unconventional ways to break down muscle tissue, recruit tons of stabilizers and challenge your athleticism, all in one torso-shredding circuit. After three passes through this workout, the mirror might convince you to use keep this in your upper body training toolbox. First, a look at the moves. 

Floor Chest Press

Place two kettlebells on the floor with neutral handles. Grab the handles, get into push-up position and complete reps as required.

Single-Arm Row

Bend at the waist, keep a flat back, step forward with your left foot, and place your left forearm across your left quad or brace it against a bench. Your upper body should be parallel to the ground. While keeping your back flat, hold the kettlebell in your right hand,and pull the kettlebell towards your ribcage using your back muscles. Complete all reps on one side, and then reverse leg and arm positions and complete all reps on the other side.

 

Kettlebell Halo

Hold the kettlebell by the horns with two hands with the base facing up. Start with kettlebell at chest height. Raise one elbow up, bringing your forearm toward your face, move that arm past your opposite ear and move both arms until the kettlebell is beside your head. Raise the other elbow until the kettlebell is behind your head. Lower the original arm until the kettlebell has made a half circle around your head. Finally, lower the original arm to its original position. Repeat this movement in the other direction, which is one rep. The objective is to make a circle around your head and back. The kettlebell should pass behind the base of your head; your forearms should graze against your head.

Seated Alternating Shoulder Press

Sitting on a low-back bench with a kettlebell in each hand, the bells against the backs of each hand, handles at shoulder height. Brace your core, inhale and press one kettlebell up to full extension, lower it, then press the other. Alternate in this fashion until you have completed the prescribed number of reps.

Turkish Get-Up (Half Get-Up)

Begin by lying on your back, holding a kettlebell in your right hand. Think of opening our chest and keeping your right arm straight and locked. Bend your right leg; your heel must be next to your glutes but slightly outside. Position your left arm (free arm) about 45 degrees from your hip. Press through your right heel, sitting up while shifting your weight from your left elbow to your forearm. Sit all the way up until your torso is vertical. Be sure to always keep your eyes on the kettlebell. Reverse the motion carefully and return to the starting point. Alternate arms between reps, completing 6-8 reps for each side.

The Workout

Floor Chest Press

Single-Arm Row

Kettlebell Halo

Seated Alternating Shoulder Press

Turkish Get-Up (Half Get-Up)

Do 12-15 reps of each exercise. Once you complete all five exercises, start back at the beginning for three rounds total.

Perform 12-15 reps for each arm on the rows.

Perform 6-8 reps for each side with the half get-ups.

 

Eric Salvador is the head instructor of The Fhitting Room, a boutique fitness studio in New York delivering comprehensive, high-intensity workouts in a small class environment. Known as El Capitán, Eric is a United States Marine and is certified through the NASM, NSCA and USA Weightlifting. For more, visit http://www.fhittingroom.com

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