Kettlebells for Muscle

how to build muscle kettlebell

Kettlebell workouts are primarily full-body in nature – they hit all of your major muscle groups in a single session. This is great for fat loss, conditioning, and improving overall athleticism – but let’s face it, if your #1 goal is to gain muscle, a body part split is the way to go.

Kettlebells can be used for gaining muscle just like any other strength training implement – in fact, I think kettlebells have a place in your workouts no matter what your fitness goals are. The key is knowing how to set up your workouts for maximum effectiveness.

Here’s a complete workout program that you can do to gain muscle with kettlebells and your own body weight, called the “Kettlebells for Muscle Workout”:

Workout A

1) Turkish Get Ups

Do one ‘naked’ on each side (no added weight) and then three more on each side, switching sides each rep.

2) Push Ups

Do three sets of max reps with 30 seconds of rest between sets. Pick a Push Up variation that’s challenging for you – you shouldn’t be able to complete more than 20 reps on the first set.

3) KB Presses

Do three ladders up to 5 reps each. The pressing ladders will look like this:

Clean and Press Right

Clean and Press Left

Clean, 2 Presses Right

Clean, 2 Presses Left

Clean, 3 Presses Right


4) Ring Dips

Do three sets of max reps just like you did with the Push Ups.

Workout B

1) Snatches

Do 50 total, switching hands every 5-10 reps. Men should use a 24k ‘bell, women 16k. Time yourself and do all 50 reps as fast as you can. As your conditioning level improves, strive to improve your time. You can also start with a lighter weight or less reps and work your way up if you’re out of shape.

2) Goblet Squat/ Pull Up Superset

Start by doing 15 Goblet Squats.

Follow the KB Squats with a Pull Up ladder – do 1 rep, rest :30, do 2 reps, rest :45, do 3 reps.

After completing the Pull Up ladder, rest about :60 seconds and repeat this superset two more times.

3) Rengade Rows

Finish the workout off with 3 sets of 10 reps here.

Additional Program Notes

So how do you put these kettlebell workouts together into a routine that makes sense, gives you the right amount of recovery, etc.?

Simple – do workout A on Monday. Rest or do some light recovery work (walk, ride your bike, swim, etc.) on Tuesday. Do the workout B on Wednesday. Again, do some light recovery work, flexibility/mobility, etc. on Thursday. Do workout A again on Friday. Take the weekend off.

The next week, you’ll follow the same schedule, except you’ll do workout B on Monday, workout A on Wednesday, and workout B on Friday. Rest for the weekend and start all over again the next Monday. You can do this routine for 4-6 weeks until you’ll need to change it

Now you have a basic blueprint for using kettlebells to build muscle.  Hit it hard, and prepare for some of the best gains of your life.

– Forest Vance

Master of Science, Human Movement

Level 2 Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor

About the Author

how to build muscle kettlebellForest Vance holds a Master’s degree in Human Movement and personal training certifications through the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is also a Level II Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Instructor, Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist, and Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach.

Over the last 8 years, Forest has experience as a personal trainer, group fitness/boot camp instructor, fitness manager, and health club general manager. He currently works as the owner and head trainer at his Sacramento functional training gym.

He also maintains a network of fitness-related websites, makes regular guest appearances on many others, has been featured in national newspaper, radio, television, and other media. He is the creator and author of numerous books, DVD’s, and digitally delivered workout programs and systems.

To learn more about getting jacked with kettlebells, check out his Kettlebell Challenge Workouts here: