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Kettlebell Row [Exercise Guide]

kettlebell row

Kettlebells row delivers many fat burning and body toning benefits. It is one of the most effective movements for strengthening your upper body. Read on to know more about kettlebell row advantages and find a step-by-step tutorial. 

What Is A Kettlebell Row

Kettlebell row is a great pulling exercise to isolate and train the back muscles, including latissimus dorsi, biceps, and rhomboids. The technique is pretty easy and is suitable for any fitness level. Kettlebell rows are attractive for athletes because of their convenience and functionality. It is an essential exercise proven by the time and experience of many athletes. Furthermore, the kettlebell row has many variations. You can always pick and practice the one that suits your training goals perfectly.

What Muscles Does The Kettlebell Row Work

Primary moves feature lats, rhomboids, and traps. Additionally, it also involves posterior delts and biceps. Furthermore, you are going to engage many stabilizing muscles to maintain your position while doing the kettlebell row. So the spinal erectors and transverse abdominis work too. The muscles around the hips, knees, and ankles help to maintain the correct posture.

How to Perform The Kettlebell Row 

Kettlebell rows are good for training for fat loss, strength, or hypertrophy. If it’s too challenging for you to keep your balance while exercising, you can use a chair to support your free arm. It’s also possible to set up an inclined bench for the same purpose.

 Step 1. Take the initial position

Place your kettlebell between your legs. Put your legs shoulder-width apart, and bend over. Your back should be almost parallel to the ground.  

Step 2. Choose a grip

While practicing kettlebell row, you can choose the grip. Take an overhand grip to engage more lats and lower traps. While keeping your palms facing backward, away from your body, you can focus on upper traps, posterior delts, and rhomboids.

Step 3. Pull the kettlebell up

Initiate the movement by bending elbows and retracting hands backward. Try to pull your arms closer to the rib cage. Keep the wrist under your elbow. One of the key points of performing this exercise is maintaining a neutral spine. As we mentioned earlier, you can press your other hand into the bench or chair to support your upper body.

Step 4. Return to the starting position

Pause for 2 seconds and return to the initial position by straightening your arms. Don’t forget to assist the exercise with breathing. Inhale as you drop the kettlebells and exhale as you push them up.

Advantages of A Kettlebell Row

Convenient and affordable

You can get started on kettlebells routines without buying much equipment or spending a lot of money. It’s possible to get the most out of the kettlebell rows by having only a few kettlebells. Light ones work best for small muscles, and medium ones are good for wide movements like kettlebells swings. One more pleasant benefit is kettlebells workouts don’t require much space.

The superior choice for muscle building

You don’t need to use too much extra effort to maintain the proper posture. That fact increases the focus you can place on target muscles. Kettlebell rows can help you provide maximum stimulation to the lats and mid-back muscles. This exercise will keep your lower back and legs supported and will let you put all your attention on training your latissimus dorsi, biceps, and rhomboids.

Great for posture and joints

Kettlebell rows activate the back muscles responsible for healthy posture. It’s challenging to maintain proper posture when you spend your days in front of a computer. A kettlebell row has the power to change that. Kettlebell row requires a lot of control and stability that improves joints’ flexibility and overall health. You may increase the suppleness of your joints by working with light to medium-weight kettlebells.

Decreasing body fat and cardio 2 in 1

Because it involves large muscle groups, a kettlebell row is a great fat-burning exercise. It increases metabolism and makes your body lose fat faster. Short, intense bursts of energy are interspersed with rest intervals throughout this workout. Because of this, your heart rate may rise as quickly and as high as it would during jump training. So kettlebell row is also effective cardio.

5 Kettlebell Row Alternatives

Chest-Supported Row 

Rowing with weights on an incline bench is known as a chest-supported row. Having support under the sternum greatly lessens the strain on the spine. The workout strengthens the mid to upper back muscles and the rear delts.

How to do:

  1. Lean your upper body on the support area. As you recline on your stomach, make sure your head is erect. Keep your legs together and your hands — on both sides of the bench.
  2. Row up by bending your arms at the elbows. Keep your lats and mid-back in close contact as you raise your arms. Avoid extending your elbows beyond your shoulders.
  3. Slowly and cautiously, bring your hands into the beginning position.

Pendlay Row 

The pendlay row is one more excellent workout for building muscle and strengthening your back. With the Pendlay row, static and concentric strength may be greatly improved.

How to do:

  1. Bend over, trying to be as parallel to the floor as feasible.
  2. To grasp a barbell, use an overhand grip.
  3. Extend the weight to your mid-torso or below your chest.
  4. Allow the barbell to fall to the ground as soon as you finish pulling it all the way up.
  5. Return to the starting position.

Kettlebell Renegade Row

Renegade row is excellent for training the core, upper back, lat, and improving stability. Also, it’s easy to scale for any fitness-level enthusiast.

How to do:

  1. Put kettlebells directly under the shoulders. Get on your fours, hands – shoulder-width apart, and legs – hip-width apart. The starting position is similar to an extended plank. The wider you go, the easier it will be to perform the exercise.
  2. Brace the core, squeeze the glutes, and drive heels to the ground. Grab the kettlebell and initiate the row as you do it in an ordinary bent-over row. Avoid swinging the elbow out.
  3. Control the movement, putting the kettlebell down.
  4. Repeat the whole process on the opposite arm.

Kettlebell Upright Row

This exercise targets the back, shoulders, and biceps all in one motion. It can be a fantastic muscle-builder—if you perform it correctly.

How to do:

  1. Place the kettlebell in front of you. Put your legs on the width of your shoulders.
  2. Lean forward, grasping the equipment with both hands.
  3. Strain the muscles of the thighs, buttocks, and abs. Raise kettlebell up, initiating the movement with elbows. Watch the position of the hands. They should be above the face.
  4. Return to your original position, controlling the movement.

Kettlebell High-Pull

Kettlebell high-pull is great for training your upper back muscles like traps, rotator cuff muscles, mid and rear delts. The exercise also targets hips and abdominal muscles.

How to do:

  1. Put your feet a little wider than shoulder length apart. Grab the top of the kettlebell. Dip your butt down like in a squat.
  2. Come up and push through your heels. When you hit about midway, bring the kettlebell up to the bottom of your chin, opening your elbows to the sides. 
  3. Make the kettlebell touch the floor as you come back down.
  4. Keep your chest high as you make the up and down motion. Don’t let your knees pass your toes.


What muscles do kettlebell rows work?

The kettlebell row works muscles in both the upper and lower body. You will gain strength in your back, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, and core by doing this movement correctly.

Can you do rows with kettlebells?

Sure. Using kettlebells, you will make rows more effective. Kettlebell rows help to strengthen your upper back and biceps, improve your stability and make your joints healthier.

Can you get ripped with kettlebells only?

It’s possible to build a lean, muscular body with kettlebells. Kettlebells don’t take up as much space as smith machines, making them ideal for those who enjoy working out at home.


Kettlebell row is one of the easiest and most effective exercises for back muscles. Kettlebell row is also loved for its accessibility. The exercise can be performed in all settings, even in a small room at home.

The target muscle group includes latissimus dorsi, biceps, and rhomboids. The weight of kettlebells can be adjusted depending on the fitness level. Regular exercising helps not only build your muscles but also improve posture and joint health.