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What Muscles Do Kettle Bells Work?

author image Kevin Rail
I am very genuine and magnetic on camera, and have made numerous videos on my own for clients and other organizations that I'm affiliated with. I also have a degree in Sport Management, and multiple certifications to back up my validity. I've also been featured in three different exercise infomercials and had a speaking role in a National Lampoons movie.
What Muscles Do Kettle Bells Work?
A woman working out with a kettlebell Photo Credit MarkSkalny/iStock/Getty Images


Kettlebells are training tools that have been around for centuries. They started in Russia, and they have caught in the U.S. recently. These cannon-ball shaped tools with handles work several muscle groups at the same time. Not only can you build muscle strength and endurance with kettlebell training, but you can build flexibility and aerobic capacity.


The core muscles are the basis for every kettlebell exercise. When you lift, swing or even hold the bell, you have to contract your abdominal muscles to maintain proper postural alignment and stability. The upper abs, lower abs, lower back and obliques are all muscles that compose the core. A two arm swing is an example of a core stabilization exercise where all parts of the core are being activated.


The shoulders consist of the trapezius muscles and the deltoids. The deltoids have three sections -- the posterior, lateral and anterior. These muscles are used as stabilizers with all kettlebell exercises, and they are primary movers with any exercise that involves an overhead movement. Clean and presses and snatches are examples these exercises.


The quadriceps are the large muscles found on the front of the thighs. They are being activated every time straighten your knees. Any type of squat exercise with the kettlebells will activate your quads. Goblet squats, lunges and sumo squats are examples.


The glutes are muscles that extend the hip. Your glutes get recruited when your thighs move away from your torso, as on the rising portion of a squat. These muscles are also recruited for stability when doing swings and deadlifts.


The hamstrings are known as knee flexors, and they get called into play when your lower legs go from a straight position to a bent position. This means any squatting exercise will recruit the hamstrings. They are also contracted for stabilization with exercises like one and two arm swings.

Back Muscles

The latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and erector spinae are the anatomical names of the back muscles. They all get recruited with any exercise that involves a pulling motion toward your body. Renegade rows, single arm rows and high pulls are examples.

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