Five exercises and two kettlebells to sculpt a broad back at-home

Here's how you can get that desirable 'V-shape'

Man doing renegade rows with kettlebell
(Image credit: Getty)

Building a broad back can be one of many people’s fitness goals for a variety of reasons: aesthetically the V-shape can make your waist look smaller, plus it can help with your posture, stability and everyday daily activities. If your aim is any of these, then here's five exercises that will do just that and all you’re going to need for them are a pair of kettlebells.

Just like the best dumbbells, kettlebells are a versatile piece of home gym equipment that can help improve your overall fitness levels, build lean muscle, strength and burn calories. So many workouts can be done with them too, from HIIT workouts, to strength training; they’re also a popular piece of equipment used in CrossFit workouts too. You can also do plenty of exercises with just one kettlebell, although for most of these moves you’re going to need two.

These five exercises shared by MiraFit will help you achieve that desirable V-shape, as well as strengthening the back’s other muscles and helping with your body’s overall posture. They'll also work the core muscles too, as you will need to keep this engaged this while completing these exercises. Here’s what they are:

1.  Kettlebell renegade row 

The renegade row is a cocktail of goodness as not only does it recruit muscles in your back, shoulders, triceps and biceps, but also your core too. Basically, it’s great for your entire body. To do this, start in a plank position, pick up the kettlebell in one hand and row it upwards towards your chest while keeping yourself stable with your other hand. Lower back to starting position and repeat.

2. Kettlebell upright rows

Muscular shoulders can also create the illusion of a wider back and contribute towards that V-shape you oh so desire. Upright rows do just that, as this move targets your traps (the muscle that goes from the base of your neck across your shoulders and down the middle of your back) and deltoids (the ball of your shoulders). Pick up a kettlebell handle with both hands and your palms facing forwards. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and lift the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Hold here for a second, then lower back to starting position.

3. Kettlebell bent-over flys

These target the back of your deltoids. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a soft bend in the knee and hinge at the hips so you’re bent forwards slightly. Pick up two kettlebells with your palms facing inwards, then lift your arms out to the sides so that they’re almost parallel to the floor.

4. Kettlebell deadlifts

The conventional deadlift is a compound exercise. This means it works a variety of muscle groups, as opposed to just one (known as isolation exercises, like a bicep curl). They’re extremely good for building strength in your lower back, as well as your core. To perform, place a kettlebell between your feet and stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips with a slight bend in your knee and keep your back straight. Grab the kettlebell with both hands, turn your elbows inwards to engage your lats, push through your feet and lift the kettlebell up, squeezing your glutes at the top. Hold here for a second then lower to starting position.

5. Kettlebell high-pulls

As well as targeting the trapezius in your upper/mid back and your shoulders, these also work your hamstrings, glutes, quads and adductors. Start with a kettlebell placed in between your feet and have these a little wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower into a squat position, picking up the kettlebell with both hands. Stand up and lift the kettlebell up to your chest (the handle should just be below your chin and your elbows pointing outwards). Lower back to starting position.

Aim for eight to 12 reps of each exercise and try and complete three rounds of this workout. As you've probably realised, you can perform quite a few of these exercises using just one kettlebell. If you don't already own one, then take a look at our best kettlebell guide and get yourself kitted out and ready to give these exercises a go. If you want to take a further deep dive into how to achieve a fuller-looking back, then check out this expert's advice on how to build a bigger back.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.