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Kettlebell High-Pull Exercise Guide (Step-by-Step)

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Muscles Worked: Abdominals, Traps, Glutes, Hamstrings

Equipment Needed: Kettlebell

Difficulty: Advanced

The kettlebell high-pull is a useful whole-body exercise which works virtually every muscle in your body. It's great for building up stamina and improving your cardiovascular ability.

Perfecting a kettlebell high-pull can be difficult and requires practice, doing it wrong increases the risk of injury significantly too.

How to Do Kettlebell High-Pulls

  • Begin by placing the kettlebell between your feet on the floor. Your feet should be somewhat wider than shoulder width apart, with a 45° angle between them.

  • Bend your knees and descend into a squat stance with your back in a neutral position.

  • Grab and lift the kettlebell with both hands and push through your heels.

  • As you return to your initial standing posture, lift the kettlebell to hip level with your core engaged.

  • Raise the kettlebell until the handle is at chin level, while pointing your elbows up. Return to a squat position by lowering the kettlebell to your waist.

  • Do this for 12 to 15 reps.

> Browse for kettlebells on Amazon here.

kettlebell high-pull exercise diagram


The kettlebell high-pull exercise is a full-body exercise. It has many benefits, such as the following.

  • Great Cardio: It's a high-intensity cardiovascular exercise that doesn't require you to move your feet.

  • Full-Body Exercise: Almost every muscle in the body is used in this exercise.

  • Doesn't Hurt the Knees: Since you aren't running or doing any high-impact activity, it's great for your knees.

  • Improves Posture: The kettlebell high-pull is great for improving posture.

The high pull is great for improving posture. One of the most beneficial aspects of the kettlebell high pull is the horizontal pulling movement, making it an upper back exercise.

Horizontal pulling exercises serve to balance out all of the sitting and rounded shoulders that so many of us suffer from.

The kettlebell high pull's added pulling action makes the workout even more dynamic and aerobic.

Muscles Worked

The kettlebell high pull workout engages almost all of your muscles. You get all of the advantages of a kettlebell swing, with the extra benefit of horizontal pulling and increased cardio.

kettle bell high pull muscles worked diagram

Major muscles worked include the following.

  • Trapezius

  • Rhomboids

  • Abdominals

  • Glutes

  • Hamstrings

  • Quads

This exercise also involves a significant amount of stabiliser muscle activation. Because the high pull is so dynamic, smaller, secondary muscles must work extra hard to keep the joints aligned.

woman doing the kettlebell high pull exercise


Written by Billy White

billy white

Billy White is a qualified Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer. He is an aspiring bodybuilder, fitness enthusiast, and health and fitness researcher.

He has multiple years of experience within the fitness, bodybuilding and health space. He is committed to providing the highest-quality information.


The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.

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