Kettlebells are often overlooked by lifters who stick to traditional bodybuilding or powerlifting style training. Kettlebell training usually involves a circuit, and has been shown to improve your strength, stamina, core stability, mobility, and athleticism. Circuits with kettlebells are commonly used for burning calories. However, they can also be immensely effective for building muscle.
Kettlebell Tricep Exercises
You might think kettlebells can‘t be used for dedicated tricep work, but they can. In fact, the design of kettlebells with the handle on top can actually make them more effective than dumbbells for some exercises.
Kettlebell Tricep Workout
To maximise this tricep workout, you’ll need at least two kettlebells. Ideally you should have a pair of light kettlebells, and/or a pair of medium weight kettlebells. This will mean you can use two kettlebells for higher rep exercises, and one kettlebell for heavier or lower rep exercises using both arms. It’s up to you what weights to use, just make sure you repeat the circuit enough times to feel the burn.
This workout is a circuit. You should take no more than 30 seconds – 1-minute rests between each exercise. Complete 3-5 rounds of the circuit until your triceps are too weak to carry on.
Kettlebell Close Grip Push-Ups | 6-8 Reps
Place two kettlebells on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Get into a push up position with your hands resting on the kettlebell handles. Position the handles at whatever angle is most comfortable for you. The kettlebells put you in an elevated position, making these much harder than regular push-ups. Lower yourself down as far as you can go, whilst keeping your core tight and making sure to keep your back straight. Focus on keeping your elbows as tucked as possible, this will ensure your triceps are pushed to the max. Push yourself up by squeezing through your chest and triceps.
Overhead Kettlebell Tricep Extension | 12-15 Reps
This can be done with two kettlebells (one in each hand), or one kettlebell (with both hands) depending on the weight you use.
If you’re using two kettlebells, grab the top of each handle with your palms facing away from you. Press them upwards as if you were doing a shoulder press movement. One your arms are locked out, bend your elbows back and allow the kettlebells to hand off your hands behind your head. Once you can’t go any lower, squeeze through your triceps and straighten your arms.
If you’re using one, heavier kettlebell, grab the sides of the handle with both hands. Push the kettlebell upwards until it’s resting on the front of either of your shoulders. Then use both arms to push it above your head. Straighten your arms, then slowly lower the weight behind your head. Try to focus on keeping your elbows tucked and facing forwards. When you can’t move the weight any lower, squeeze through your triceps and straighten your arms.
Kettlebell Dips | 8-10 Reps
Grab two kettlebells and place them on the floor at just wider than shoulder width apart. The handles should be parallel with your body. Sit down between the kettlebells and grab the handles with your palms facing inwards. Straighten your legs, keep your chest upright and push yourself off the floor. Keep your heels in contact with the ground and lower yourself down as much as you can. Then, drive through the triceps and straighten your arms. You should feel a pinch in your triceps at the top of the movement.
Kettlebell Skullcrushers | 10-12 Reps
These are similar to the overhead tricep extensions from earlier, but you’ll do them lying down on the floor or a bench if you have one.
If you’re using two kettlebells, lie down and press them upwards towards the ceiling. Keep your elbows tucked, and lower the kettlebells behind your head. Then, drive through your triceps and straighten your arms. This same technique can be applied to one kettlebell, just grab the side of the handle.
Kettlebell Kickbacks | AMRAP (As many reps as possible)
Kickbacks should be done one arm at a time for maximum control and tricep isolation. Grab the top of a kettlebell and use your off arm to balance yourself. Lean forward, keep your elbow tucked against your side and extend your arm backwards. You should feel a pinch in your tricep at the top of the movement.
Start with your weaker arm. Do as many reps as you can, then switch and do the same number of reps on your stronger arm.
Jamie Grover, Fitness Journalist from Bristol.