Quick Upper Body Kettlebell/Dumbbell Workout

upper body workout kettlebell row

I’m normally not one to do workouts that are just upper or lower body focused. Sometimes, though, it’s fun to just work on one or the other.

When I do choose to do an exclusively upper body workout, though, I like to make sure I’m still focusing on compound exercises, just like I would in a full-body workout. I’m all about efficiency — I’m not going to waste time on a bunch of single-joint exercises (biceps curls, tricep kickbacks, etc.).

It’s not that these kinds of exercises are bad, by any means. They just don’t work as many muscles at one time, and that’s what I prefer to focus on while I’m exercising.

This upper body workout is composed of just four compound movements that will strengthen all of the muscles in your upper body. You can do it with a heavy kettlebell or heavy dumbbell. It only takes about 15 minutes, too!

The Moves:

Floor Press

Keep a slight arch in your back and pull your shoulder blades together. This helps to protect your shoulders and prevents you from putting too much stress on them.

Close-Grip Push-ups

You can do these on your knees or toes. Either way, make sure your hips aren’t lifted too high and don’t sag toward the floor — keep your abs engaged. Make sure your elbows go back when you lower your torso down, too — don’t let them shoot out to the sides.

Single-Arm Rows

Focus on retracting your shoulders when you pull the kettlebell or dumbbell back. Don’t swing the weight — use your back muscles and arm muscles to lift it up with control.

Overhead Press

Keep your abs engaged during this exercise and don’t let your lower back arch. Your torso should stay still and your pelvis neutral as you lift the weight over your head. Use control and don’t swing the weight.

How to do the Workout:

Perform all the movements back-to-back, circuit-style with little-to-no rest in between. Rest for 60-90 seconds in between circuits and complete four rounds total.

Here’s a video of the moves if you need some extra cues!

What kind of workouts do you normally do? Are you a full-body workout kind of person or do you prefer an upper/lower split?

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