Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredKettle Bells
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Biceps, Lats, Lower Back, Shoulders
Target Muscle Group

Upper Back

Upper Back Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Bent Over Kettlebell Row Overview

The kettlebell bent over row is a variation of the bent over row and an exercise used primarily to strengthen the muscles of the back.

Using kettlebells to perform the bent over row provides a unique challenge in the form of an untraditional implement. The way kettlebells are designed, the weight is below the handle, allowing for gravity to challenge your grip strength more so than a dumbbell would.

Also, kettlebells can be extremely beneficial in helping lifters maintain a neutral grip to alleviate joint pain commonly associated with other implements.

Bent Over Kettlebell Row Instructions

  1. Assume a standing position while holding a kettlebell in each hand with a neutral grip.
  2. Hinge forward until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor (or slightly above) and then begin the movement by driving the elbows behind the body while retracting the shoulder blades.
  3. Pull the kettlebells towards your body until the elbows are at (or just past) the midline and then slowly lower the kettlebells back to the starting position under control.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Bent Over Kettlebell Row Tips

  1. If desired, you can begin with the kettlebells in a static position on the floor and then row them. Utilizing this dead stop position will make it slightly tougher given the lack of momentum but it will improve your speed off the floor.
  2. Experiment with head position and see which option (looking forward vs. packing the neck) works better for you.
  3. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the kettlebell into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through your spine.
  4. Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the kettlebells throughout the entirety of each rep.
  5. If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining under active, consider utilizing a false grip (i.e. don’t wrap the thumb around the kettlebell).
  6. Don’t allow the head to jut forward as you pull.
  7. Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.