Kettlebell Ballistic Row

So, you want all of the benefits of a rowing machine without having to actually shell out for a rowing machine? Well, you can replicate a rowing machine workout with a kettlebell and some determination. 

Kettlebells are also great for adding some variety to your workouts and offer you a lot more flexibility when compared to a rowing machine.

If you are looking to get ripped, then a rowing machine will help you to do that. They are low impact and tone muscles.

Using kettlebells to achieve a rowing motion will give you the same benefits. The ballistic row is about exerting pure energy on your kettlebell to lift them in a rowing motion.

Kettlebell exercises are low-impact and weight-bearing.

Use kettlebells for this exercise and hundreds of others.

Rating of Difficulty

Much like rowing, this exercise is easy to do.

There is a little bit of technique to it, but as long as you concentrate on what you are doing, you will see lots of benefits to this exercise without any of the negatives which come with lifting weights.

Start slow and increase your speed and weight as you progress.

What Muscles Does This Workout Target?

Kettlebell ballistic rows will target your core. In your back, your rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and teres muscles are targeted.

In your arms, your posterior deltoids, biceps, and forearms are targeted.

How Often Should I Perform This Workout?

Ballistic rows are great when combined with other exercises.

You should have no problem doing these every other day, or even every day, but we would recommend adding them to your kettlebell routine three times a week.

Kettlebell ballistic row workout guide

Step by Step

Prepare your area. Make sure that your area is clear, and that there are no dangers present.

Ensure that you are wearing the proper clothing and that you are fueled for your workout. Place the kettlebell on the floor.

You should do this on a matted or padded area as you will be dropping the kettlebell as you are performing this workout.

  • Stand over the kettlebell so that the kettlebell is in between your legs. Make sure that your feet are spaced equally around the kettlebell. Stand with your back straight and your weight on your legs.
  • Squat down over the kettlebell. Your head should remain over the kettlebell. When you are performing this exercise, your head should be in a neutral position, either looking down or straight ahead.
  • As you squat down, your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
  • Grab the kettlebell with your right hand and hold it tight.
  • Pull the kettlebell up sharply with your arms and legs. You should pull your arm up until your elbow is pointing behind you, and push up with your legs slightly so that you come out of a squat but are not standing up.
  • When your upper arm reaches horizontal position (when your elbow is pointing back), drop the kettlebell and allow it to fall to the floor.
  • Squat down once again and grab the kettlebell with your left hand.
  • Repeat the same motion as before, dropping the kettlebell when your elbow points back and your upper arm is horizontal to the floor.
  •  Stay in a squat position and repeat the workout for two minutes.


By squatting and thrusting with your legs and arms, you get a workout which mimics the motion of rowing. Imagine translating this position to a sitting one, and it is exactly the same.

This workout is great for working your core and back. You also get a great arm workout with ballistic rows. 

The best part about this exercise is that it does not take its toll on your joints and bones. Much like rowing, swimming, and cycling, ballistic rows are a low-impact exercise which can help to target muscles as well as working your core strength.

Ballistic rows also give you a good cardiovascular workout. As part of a larger workout, you can tailor the weight of the kettlebell and the length of the exercise as needed.

If you need to target the muscles, then a heavier kettlebell can be used. If you need to add more cardio to your workout, then you can use a lighter weight for longer.

The weight-bearing feature of kettlebell rows is great for maintaining your bone health. As part of a rounded workout, they are great for maintaining your overall health.


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