Kettlebells are the Swiss army knife for building different muscle groups. Today, we’re going to look at ten kettlebell exercises you can utilize to strengthen your triceps. We’ll also look into the anatomy of the muscle and leave you with a kettlebell tricep workout to try on your own. Are you ready? Let’s get started!
What are the Triceps?
The tricep is the muscle located on the back of your upper arm or the humerus bone. This muscle is twice as large as your bicep and takes up a larger portion of your arm.
Your triceps are responsible for extending the elbow or pushing movements away from the body and are responsible for stabilizing the elbow joint.
Anatomy of the Triceps
The Tricep is made up of 3 different “heads”, the long, lateral, and medial heads. The long head and the lateral head are the most visible of all three heads. This muscle group is mainly responsible for connecting the elbow and shoulder and helps in stabilizing the elbow through extension, pulling, and isometric movements. The long head of the tricep connects behind the shoulder blade and helps assist the shoulder in bringing the arm behind the back in front of the body.
When training the triceps, changing your grip, position, and arm angle will help hit all three heads of the tricep.
The Best Kettlebell Exercises for Triceps
Training triceps can be mundane due to the limited number of exercises compared to other muscle groups. Kettlebells change this. Here are ten exercises you can add for a total kettlebell tricep workout.
10. Kettlebell Push Press
The kettlebell push press involves the whole body while performing this exercise versus the strict kettlebell overhead press. This exercise will target the entire tricep as well as the stability of the shoulder.
- Begin with the kettlebell in the front rack position on your right shoulder
- Quickly bend the knees, dipping down
- Then simultaneously quickly stand and press the kettlebell overhead
- Return the kettlebell back to the shoulder with a soft knee
9. Tricep Dip
The tricep dip performed on kettlebells is a great bodyweight exercise that, when performed correctly, will blast the triceps and pecs. Be sure to start with your kettlebell set up on the ground directly under your shoulders
- Start with your hands on top of the handles and arms straight and legs straight out in front of your body
- Begin to lower your body toward the ground by bending your elbows and bringing your shoulders forward
- Once you feel the stretch into the front of your shoulders then press back up by extending your elbows
Be careful not to lower beyond what your mobility will allow. Only go as far down as you feel comfortable and be sure not to let your shoulders elevate upwards.
8. Skull Crushers
The skull crusher exercise performed with a kettlebell is another great exercise to target your triceps because you are putting your arm at a fixed angle. The weight of the bell plus gravity keeps tension on the triceps throughout the entire range of motion.
- Begin lying on your back holding onto one kettlebell mass with both hands straight above your chest
- Then bend both elbows lowering the kettlebell towards your head being sure not to let your shoulders extend overhead
- Return the kettlebell overhead by extending the elbows to avoid moving your shoulders
7. Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press
This is a great kettlebell exercise for the abs and biceps. Starting in a half kneeling poison will cause the core to have to stabilize the torso through the movement.
- In a half kneeling position, place the kettlebell in the front rack position on one side.
- Press the kettlebell overhead while maintaining your shoulders down away from your ears until your arm is straight, without bending to the side
- Return your kettlebell back to your shoulder without letting your elbow flare out to the side and maintaining your shoulders in place
6. Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Kettlebell goblet squats are a great beginner full-body exercise. Working the upper body isometrically keeps those triceps active while actively working the lower body.
- Begin holding the kettlebell in front of your body directly under the horns of the bell
- Keeping your elbow in tight to your body and kettlebell close to your chest squat down trying to keep your chest tall
- Once you squat as low as you can, then return to standing by driving your heels into the ground and squeezing your glutes keeping your chest tall
5. Kettlebell Tate Press
This is a unique exercise that will target your triceps and keep them on fire! Using a kettlebell and a unique grip is all you’ll need for this burner of a tricep exercise!
- Begin laying on your back holding the kettlebell under the horns with your thumbs down
- Lower the kettlebell directly to your chest by bending your elbows out to the side
- Once the kettlebell touches your chest, extend the elbows to push the kettlebell back above the chest
Be sure to keep the elbows flaring out to the side as you lower the kettlebell towards your chest to keep those triceps the focus!
4. Kettlebell Tricep Kickback
The kettlebell tricep kickback is one of the most common weight-lifting exercises to blast the triceps. It is a challenging and highly effective exercise that doesn't require much weight! Focus on the movement and make sure you get your full desired range.
- Begin holding the kettlebell by the handle, hinging at your hips with your feet offset
- Extend the elbow so the kettlebell goes back behind the body, keeping your elbow tight to your ribs
- Let the kettlebell return to your side by just bending the elbow not letting the shoulders drop
3. Kettlebell Single-Arm Overhead Extension
Working the tricep, shoulder and core, this kettlebell single arm overhead extension will be a great exercise to target those triceps while working other important stabilizers in the shoulder. The kettlebell adds leverage to increase the resistance so choose the right kettlebell weight!
- Begin standing holding onto the handle of the kettlebell with your elbow bent over your shoulder, palm facing behind you
- Keeping your core braced, extend your elbow, straighten your arm to reach overhead and keep your shoulder away from your ear
- Return the kettlebell back down to your shoulder by bending the elbow, maintaining the same position in the arm the whole way through the movement
2. Kettlebell Bell-Grip Overhead Extension
This exercise is similar to the kettlebell single-arm overhead extension except you will be using two hands. This means you can load up with a heavier kettlebell and challenge those triceps even more!
- Begin standing holding on to the bell of the kettlebell with your elbow bent behind your head
- Begin by extending the elbows simultaneously until the kettlebell is fully extended overhead without overarching your low back or elevating your shoulders
- Lower the kettlebell back down by bending both elbows and returning the kettlebell back to the tops of your shoulders
Be sure to lower the kettlebell slowly with control to avoid hitting yourself in the back of the head.
1. Push Up on the Kettlebell
Utilizing the kettlebell handles to gain more elevation for push-ups will allow you to go lower into your pushup. This allows you to target a little more chest and triceps due to the increased range of movement.
- Begin in a tall plank with your hands on the handles of the kettlebells, shoulders over your wrist
- Lower your body towards the ground by bending both elbows trying to keep your forearms vertical and moving your chest slightly forward
- Once you have lowered as far as comfortable press your body back to the top of the plank while bracing your entire body
Be sure to only lower as far as you feel comfortable. Try not to overdo it for the first time.
Sample Kettlebell Tricep Workout
Now that we’ve covered the exercises, here is a sample workout that you can try at the gym or at home today. You can add in or change out exercises to suit your need or level of challenge. This should take you about 15-20 minutes to complete this sample workout and will be focused on strength.
- Pushup on Kettlebell: 40:20 X 4
- Kettlebell Single Arm Overhead Extension: 40:20 X 4 (left & right)
- Kettlebell Tricep Dip: 40:20 X 4
- Kettlebell Skull Crushers: 40:20 X 4
- Kettlebell Goblet Squat: 40:20 X 4
Perform each exercise in a group, and then move on to the next exercise. Give yourself 45-60 seconds of rest between each set!
Build Your Triceps With the Kettlebell
When it comes to training the triceps you’ll be incorporating different grips and different angles to hit each part of the triceps. Using a kettlebell for training can help you easily change those things by just the design of a kettlebell. You can use a variety of exercises but you might get better results focusing on just a few exercises for a consistent time rather than trying to do them all at once.
Try some of our kettlebell tricep exercises today and let us know how the sample workout is if you add it to your workout split. Remember: keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate things and stay dedicated. You’ll see gains in your triceps with the proper kettlebell work!
Solan, M. (2022, February 1). Building better muscle. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/building-better-muscle