I’m sure you’ve wondered, “Can You Do Bicep Curls With Kettlebells?”
Most of us typically head straight for a barbell or dumbbells when it comes to performing bicep curls.
However, that doesn’t stop you wanting to add some variety to your training.
Kettlebells provide an obvious solution, although it’s difficult to determine whether they’ll be as effective for bicep curls.
So, allow me to explain everything you need to know about doing bicep curls with kettlebells.
Can You Do Bicep Curls With Kettlebells?
You can do bicep curls with kettlebells. In fact, you’ll generally find that kettlebells provide a better bicep workout. Firstly, due to the design of a kettlebell you’ll be able to keep much more tension throughout bicep curls. Plus, you won’t be able to use excessive momentum or swinging to get the weight up, as this will result in the kettlebells banging against your forearms. Additionally, kettlebells allow for far more variations with curls, many of which may not be possible with dumbbells.
1. Kettlebells Provide Constant Tension With Bicep Curls
Personally, I would say that kettlebells are actually better for doing bicep curls.
Simply due to their design, kettlebells allow you to keep constant tension on the biceps throughout the movement.
Firstly, kettlebells will always be hanging below the wrists, which generates a constant pull on the biceps.
Plus, in order to keep the kettlebells in your hands without them slipping out you shouldn’t completely straighten your arms.
Once more this ensures that the tension remains in your biceps.
Kettlebells even allow you to keep constant tension in the biceps in the top contracted position of curls.
When it comes to using a barbell or dumbbells there is a tendency to curl the weights too high.
However, when you over curl a weight it will release stress off the biceps and place it on the anterior delts.
But, when you curl with kettlebells you’ll find that they press against the forearms at the top of the movement, thus meaning that it’s pretty much impossible to over curl.
Furthermore, as fatigue sets in it’s fairly common to use momentum or to swing the weights in order to “curl” them up.
However, if you were to try this with kettlebells you’ll find that they’ll bang into your forearms.
And for anyone who’s ever experienced this you’ll know that it’s not particularly pleasant.
Therefore, with this in mind, you’ll generally bicep curl with better form when using kettlebells.
So, in effect, kettlebell bicep curls allow for better muscle activation, tension, and form.
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2. Kettlebells Provide Many Bicep Curl Variations
When it comes to performing bicep curls with barbells or dumbbells you’re somewhat limited in exercise variations.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of ways to train biceps with barbells and dumbbells.
However, once again, due to their design, kettlebells allow for many more biceps exercises.
Plus, you’ll typically find that you’re hitting the biceps from many angles.
In fact, you’ll often find that you’re not only stimulating the biceps, but many stabilizing muscles too.
You can hold kettlebells by the handles in the conventional bicep curl, as well as with a neutral grip for hammer curls.
You also have the opportunity to do bottoms-up bicep curls by holding the actual ball of the kettlebells.
This movement in itself will provide bicep stimulation that you will have never experienced with any other exercise before.
And once more, let’s not forget, irrespective on the variation, you’ll always have constant tension on the biceps.
You’ll also find that certain variations, depending on how and where you’re holding the kettlebells, are better performed with different rep schemes.
As an example, kettlebell hammer curls are better performed with lighter weights and with 12-15 reps.
And the fact that you have to keep your wrists looked in a neutral position throughout will make this a better exercise than hammer curls with dumbbells.
Reverse Bottoms-Up Bicep Curl With Kettlebells
3. Why Kettlebell Experts Don’t Want You Doing Bicep Curls
I know for a fact that many so-called kettlebell experts aren’t too happy about people performing bicep curls with kettlebells.
The main reason for this is that kettlebells are typically viewed as being better for ballistic and multiple muscle group exercises.
So, as an example, performing kettlebell swings, cleans, and snatches are ballistic exercises that require an explosive movement.
Plus, these exercises will help you to train deceleration as well.
Therefore, in effect, the explosive kettlebell exercises help to train you for real-life activities and sports.
Additionally, even performing the most basic resistance exercises with kettlebells will mean that you’re training multiple muscle groups at the same time.
Another example of this would be the goblet squat.
You’ll typically find that a kettlebell goblet squat activates your upper back, lats, and grip much more than the dumbbell variation.
It is for these reasons that many kettlebell purists would scoff at the idea of an isolation exercise such as bicep curls.
With that being said, simply due to the constant tension, and the way in which you have to perform curls with a kettlebell, I think they’re a fantastic exercise.
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I would recommend that you typically keep standard curls in the 5-8 rep range, due to the demands placed upon the biceps through constant tension.
This is more than enough to completely tax the fast-twitch muscles of the biceps without your form suffering.
So, as you can see, you certainly can do bicep curls with kettlebells.
In fact, from a personal perspective I actually think kettlebells are a better option than barbells and dumbbells.
This is mainly because kettlebells allow you to keep constant tension on your biceps throughout the movement.
Additionally, due to the design of kettlebells, you’ll be less likely to cheat when doing bicep curls.
Finally, kettlebells allow for many different variations of curls, so you’ll be hitting your biceps from a variety of angles that they may not be used to.
This of course can lead to both size and strength gains in your biceps.
Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.