9 Kettlebell Exercises That Will Work Your Upper Body

It’s no secret that kettlebells can help you get a great workout. The way the weights are shaped makes them ideal for dynamic movements—you can grab onto the handle of a kettlebell and easily twist and swing it without having to readjust your grip—and they come in so many different sizes that you can find one that works for any type of exercise. Kettlebells are useful for building strength and muscle, training power, and depending on how you use them, they can also give you a great cardio workout.

Basically, if you aren’t already using kettlebells in your workouts, it’s worth giving them a chance. To get started, try adding the upper-body kettlebell exercises below to your routine. Most of them are great kettlebell moves for beginners and pros alike that can help you build core and overhead stability and strength so that you can safely do more advanced moves down the road, Ava Fagin, kettlebell-certified personal trainer and functional strength coach at Body Space Fitness in New York City, tells SELF.

A fun bonus: Many of these upper-body kettlebell exercises work other areas of the body simultaneously. “The great part about kettlebells is that sometimes performing just one exercise gives you a total-body workout,” says Fagin. “Most kettlebell exercises are multi-joint movements, meaning multiple joints are moving at one time to complete the exercise.” For example, the kettlebell halo below is definitely an arm exercise, but it’s also great for your core. So are the single-arm versions of moves like a push-press and bent-over row. Conversely, many lower-body-focused moves that aren’t on this list, like kettlebell swings, do require some upper-body strength and stability, Fagin says.

Fagin recommends doing the exercises below with light kettlebells at first, which will be easier to handle. That way, you can really nail the form, first and foremost. “As you become comfortable with the kettlebell movements and form in a lighter weight, you’ll feel more comfortable going up in weight.” And if you’re doing these exercises regularly, you’ll notice yourself getting stronger, too.

Ready to change up your upper-body routine? Try out the kettlebell exercises below. To create a full upper-body workout, pick three or four exercises you like best and do them in a circuit—try doing 5-10 reps of each and then repeating the whole thing two or three times.

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