Kettlebell Pushups: Variations, How-To & Benefits

The pushup is a popular and effective exercise for developing sizeable pecs and a firm torso.

You can perform pushups in various ways with and without equipment.

Beginners do them using their body weight, while experienced fitness freaks do pushups with weights.

I’ve already shared various dumbbell pushups in my previous article, and today, I’ll share how you can do them with kettlebells.

Kettlebells are great equipment, allowing you to perform pushups in multiple ways and helping you build strength and muscles.

Whether you train at home or in the gym, you can incorporate kettlebell pushups into your workout routine to increase your strength, mobility, and mass.

Muscles Worked During Kettlebell Pushups

pushup with kettlebells
pushup with kettlebells

The kettlebell pushup and its variations work throughout the upper body muscles, including the chest, arms, core, shoulder, and back and help you build a muscular trunk.

  1. Chest: The chest muscles are engaged during every pushup variation.
  2. Arms: The crush grip kettlebell pushup engages more of your triceps muscle.
  3. Back: The kettlebell pushup row builds your chest and back together.
  4. Shoulder: Kettlebell T pushup can help you target your deltoids.
  5. Core: Nearly each kettlebell pushup variation works to engage and strengthen your core muscle.

Safety and Tips for Performing KB Pushups Effectively

1. Select The Right Kettlebell

Picking the correct weight is important when it comes to performing pushups safely and effectively with kettlebells. So, depending on your fitness level, choose a kettlebell that is the perfect fit for you.

2. Keep your Core Tight and Back Straight

Keep your spine as neutral as possible and your abdominal muscles engaged throughout the pushups because it protects your back from injuries and helps you perform pushups effectively.

3. Slow and Controlled

It is best to prefer quality over quantity when it comes to training. Performing each rep in a controlled fashion and feeling the proper contraction in the working muscles help elicit maximum results.

6 Best Kettlebell Pushups to Build Muscle

Here are four pushups you can do using a pair of kettlebells.

  • Standard Deficit Push up
  • Kettlebell pushup row
  • T pushup with kettlebell
  • Narrow Grip Kettlebell Pushup

You can also do these pushup variations with a single kettlebell:

  • Crushed Grip Push up
  • Staggered push up

Let’s see how to do each one with step-by-step instructions:

1. Deficit Push ups on Kettlebells

Kettlebell Push up
Kettlebell Push up

The deficit pushups provide excellent stretch to the pectoral muscles and help improve the upper body’s strength, size, and definition.

It also engages core muscles higher than the floor pushup, as shown in a study published by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.

Steps to do it:

  1. Place a kettlebell on the floor (slightly wider than shoulder-width apart).
  2. Get into an “up” position of a pushup with your hands firmly gripping the kettlebell handle.
  3. Brace your core and keep your body straight from top to bottom. That’s the start.
  4. Slowly bend your elbows as you lower your chest toward the floor.
  5. Once your chest is nearly close to the floor, push yourself up until your arms are fully straight. That’s your one repetition.
  6. Do it as many times as you like.

2. Kettlebell Pushup to Row

The pushup to row is a compound movement that works on multiple muscles simultaneously, including the chest, back, arms, abs, and shoulder, and helps you build muscle and improve balance and coordination.

Steps to do it:

  1. Go into an “up” position of a pushup with your hands firmly gripping the kettlebell with a neutral grip and arms straight underneath the shoulders.
  2. Keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, which will help you perform rowing effectively.
  3. Hold your abdominal muscle tight and maintain a flat back. This is your starting position.
  4. Lower your chest to the floor as low as possible, and press back to the start.’
  5. Now, lift the right kettlebell off the floor and row at your side until your back muscle is engaged.
  6. Hold the kettlebell for a couple of seconds at the top and then return to the start and repeat on your left side to complete one rep.
  7. Do as many reps and sets as you like.

3. Narrow Grip KB Push up

The narrow grip pushup is one of my favorite kettlebell exercises that I often perform on my push day. It bolsters the pecs, triceps, anterior deltoids, and biceps muscles and helps develop a muscular torso.

 If you’re a beginner, you can do it on your all-fours.

Steps to do kettlebell narrow pushups

  1. Place the kettlebell on the floor, a couple of inches shorter than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the handle firmly with your hands and arms straight under your chest. That’s the start.
  3. Lower your torso toward the ground as low as you can go, and then extend your arms to return to the start.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of times.

4. Kettlebell T Pushup

The T pushup is an advanced-level exercise requiring good strength and balance. It activates multiple upper and lower body muscles and helps you increase mass, mobility, and muscle coordination.

The lighter weight you use, the better you can perform.

How to do kettlebell T pushups

  1. Grab a pair of kettlebells with a neutral grip and get into a high plank position with your arms straight below your shoulders.
  2. Keep your feet two times wider than hip-width apart.
  3. Brace your core, hips, and glutes, and keep your body straight from top to bottom. This is your starting position.
  4. Bend your arms and lower your body toward the floor until your chest is a few inches off the floor, and then extend your arms to return to the starting position.
  5. Now, raise your left arm along with your body to the left.
  6. Rotate your body to the left until your arm is straight up toward the ceiling so your body forms the letter T shape.
  7. Repeat on another side to complete one rep. Do it as many times as possible.
  8. Use lightweight kettlebells and perform each rep slowly and safely.

5. Crushed Grip Single Kettlebell Push up

The crushed grip pushup helps add strength and mass to the pectoral muscles and bolsters the triceps muscles. It also increases wrist mobility and strengthens forearms.

Steps to do it:

  1. Sit on your knees and place a kettlebell on the floor in front of you.
  2. Put your hands on the kettlebell firmly with a crushed grip. Do not grip the handle.
  3. Keep your arms straight underneath your chest, lift your knees off the ground, and keep your body straight from head to heels.
  4. Maintain a tight core and flat back. That’s the start.
  5. Lower your upper body until your chest is close to the weight.
  6. Pause for a moment and then extend your arms to return to the start. This is your one rep.
  7. Do three sets of 8 to 12 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between sets.

6. Staggered Pushup

The single-arm or staggered pushup is an intermediate-level exercise you can do with one kettlebell. It hits several muscles simultaneously, including the deltoids, pecs, arms, and core, and helps build an athletic torso.

Steps to perform a staggered pushup:

  1. Sit on your knees, and place a kettlebell on the ground in front of your right shoulder.
  2. Place your left hand on the floor and grab the kettlebell with your right hand.
  3. Keep your arms extended just below your shoulder and brace your core. That’s the start.
  4. Now, do as many pushups as you like.

The Undeniable Benefits of Kettlebell Push ups

  1. Kettlebell pushups work on various muscles simultaneously, such as the chest, shoulders, arms, core, and back.
  2. Performing push ups with kettlebells increases strength, builds muscle mass, and improves stability.
  3. The kettlebell pushup exercises also improve grip strength, as you hold them in different ways during the several variations.

How often Should You Do Pushups?

You should do pushups two to three times a week. It would be best to do a combination of different pushups so you can bolster your entire upper body muscles and grow mass.

For example, you can do deficit and crushed grip pushups on Monday, pushups to row and staggered pushups on Wednesday, and narrow grip and T pushups on Friday.

Aim to perform three sets of 10 reps each to complete sixty pushups every alternate day.

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Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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