Kettlebells are a great way to build a strong back. In this post we'll cover some of the best kettlebell back exercises you can easily work into your routine. Make sure to watch the video at the end to learn how to perform these properly.
The purpose of this post isn't to take away from barbells and machines, which are great for training the back for obvious reasons. Kettlebells are just different and provide an element of movement freedom that is hard to replicate with traditional equipment.
Because of the freedom of movement, kettlebell back exercises can be more functional than their traditional cousins due to the greater inclusion of core and stabilizing muscles.
Here are 5 of the easiest kettlebell back exercises to learn and add to your program. Make sure to watch our video tutorial on how to do them correctly at the end.
5 Kettlebell Exercises for a Bulletproof Back
Kettlebell Back Exercise #1: Deadlifts
Kettlebell Deadlifts are a great kettlebell back exercise for working the entire posterior chain, including your hamstrings, lower back, lats, traps, and glutes.
Deadlifts are one of the most functional kettlebell back exercises you can do because they simulate the day to day activity of picking heavy shit up (one of the most common ways the average people injure themselves).
Kettlebell Deadlifts are also great because you can easily modify the exercise to change the way it targets the back; for example, hand position, one kettlebell, two kettlebell, kettlebells infront, kettlebells next to your sides, etc.
Kettlebell Back Exercise #2: High Pull
The High Pull is a great shoulder and back exercise that looks like a weird hybrid between a kettlebell swing and an upright row.
Though it looks incredibly technical, it's really not. The High Pull is a great kettlbell back exercise for working your upper back, traps, and shoulders. Plus, because of its ballistic nature, the High Pull is also a great cardio finisher.
Kettlebell Back Exercise #3: Renegade Rows
The Renegade Row is one of the best kettlebell back exercises for working nearly every muscle in the body.
When performing a Renegade Row, you start in plank position on top of two matching kettlebells. Then, alternating between arms, you row one of the kettlebells while supporting yourself by your other extended arm.
Tip: You can work your chest, shoulders, and triceps by adding a push up between each alternating row.
Kettlebell Back Exercise #4: Static Lunge Rows
The Static Lunge Row is a great kettlebell back exercise for working your upper back and traps. Lunge Rows also challenge the quad muscles, since you perform the exercise in an extended unsupported lunge position.
Static Lunge Rows also work the rotations muscles of the core by requiring them to engage to keep the trunk from rotating during each row.
Note: If you can't safely perform the exercise without any support, perform the exercise next to a piece of equipment to stabilize your body. Then, as you get stronger you can work up to doing the exercise without the support of a wall or bench
Kettlebell Back Exercise #5: Lying Pullovers
Lying Kettlebell Pullovers are similar to the dumbbell pullover traditionally performed on a bench. However, as the name implies, the lying version is performed while lying flat on the ground.
Lying Kettlebell Pullovers emphasize the lower lats and the triceps to a lesser extent. They are also an incredible core exercise.
Tip: To protect the spine it is important to squeeze your abs and to press your lower back into the floor. It is also important to ensure you use a weight you can easily handle to avoid dropping the weight on your chest or face (not usually a pleasant experience).
Conclusion: The 5 kettlebell back exercises above can be used by just about anyone to hit the various parts of the back. Make sure to check out our video tutorial below to see how to perform each of these back exercises safely.