How to Do Kettlebell Row Properly

Your back, shoulders, legs, core, and hips have been missing out on something big if the kettlebell row is not part of your routine yet.
And that is such a shame.
While the double kettlebell row will work your upper back and biceps, the single-arm variation focuses more on the core because that is a group of muscles you invoke more to stabilize the body.
We are feeling generous today so we will not stick to just one variation of this exercise. Therefore, we will describe how to do both the single-arm kettlebell row and the double kettlebell row.
If you are new to the whole kettlebell stuff, stick to the single-arm kettlebell row. If you have some experience with kettlebells, then the double kettlebell row is for you to try and have fun with!
Depending on the variation you will be going with, you will need 1 or 2 kettlebells and a chair.


  • Place a kettlebell between your feet and stand with the feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Drop to a squat and grip the kettlebell, then tighten your core
  • Hold on to a chair with your free hand and step forwards with the opposite leg to the kettlebell
  • Hinge at the hips to bend forwards towards the chair, as you do so maintain a straight back
  • Drop the arm with the kettlebell in straight down with your thumb facing inwards
  • Rotate your hand so your thumb faces forwards and retract your arm backward by bending your elbow
  • Straighten your arm to return the kettlebell back down and rotate your hand so your thumb faces inwards
  • Breathe in as you bring the kettlebell down and breathe out as you raise it


  • Place two kettlebells between your feet and maintain a hip-width distance between your feet
  • Drop to a squat, gripping a kettlebell in either hand
  • Engage your core and bend your knees ever so slightly. Maintain a straight back and drop your arms straight down with your thumbs facing inwards
  • Rotate your hands so your thumbs face forwards and retract your arms backward by bending your elbows
  • Straighten your arms to return the kettlebells back down and rotate your hands so your thumbs face inwards
  • Breathe is as you bring the kettlebells down, and out as you lift them.



If you are doing the single-arm variation, the back muscles will benefit most from your ministrations. But simply calling it the back muscles is too vague.

More specifically, this exercise targets the latissimus dorsi, better known in the fitness circles as the lats. The lats are on the side of the upper back, just below the armpits.

Besides the lats, this exercise also gives your trapezius and rhomboids a serious working. These lie in the area between your shoulder blades.


Strictly speaking, the kettlebell rows are considered a back exercise. However, this is a generous exercise that does not just focus on one area of your body.

It is a gift that does not stop giving because it ropes in helper muscles, otherwise known as the synergists. The biceps and deltoids in this case are the helper muscles that play a significant role in the pulling and lifting movements.

While they might not be the muscles this exercise targets, they do some serious job, and there really is no harm in working multiple muscles at once.


This exercise does not just stop at the deltoids and biceps, it goes even further. You see, as you pull the kettlebell into your body and lift it, we emphasize that you keep your core tight and maintain a straight back.

Keeping your back straight and core tight won’t be so easy if you do not invoke the stabilizer muscles. These muscles are located in your lower back.

However, you work your triceps and shoulders too because you will be resting on your other arm for support during the single row. Other muscles worked are the hips and legs.



One of the main benefits of this exercise is that it can target many muscles at once. You go in hoping for a stronger back but you come out with strong shoulders, biceps, triceps, and lower back.  Nothing is left behind.


This is pretty much a full-body exercise where muscles in both the upper and lower body join in the fun. To pull this exercise off requires a lot of focus and all these muscles have to work in perfect harmony.

This way, it improves your overall body coordination.


This exercise might have its mind on pretty much all muscles, but it has the back at heart. That is where the focus and the most gains are. People assume that the back can only be worked through vertical movements.

The truth is that this is one of the largest muscle groups in the body and a lot of your daily activities rely on it. Thus, you need to approach work out for this area from multiple angles, and that is exactly what this exercise does.

It not only strengthens the lats but the trap and the rhomboids as well.


Other exercises that work almost the same as this one include the kettlebell bent-over row and the squat rows.


Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes when doing this exercise is that people forget that it is an exercise meant for the back, not the biceps. Granted, it may work the biceps, but this is just by extension, not the intention!

If you want to work the biceps, there are plenty of exercises targeting them specifically. Otherwise, maintain the right form to hit the back muscles as intended.


You are missing out on so much if you think kettlebells are just for swinging. They can do much more and one way to explore this is with the kettlebell row. The results are rewarding and you get a full-body workout!