Gorilla Row with Kettlebell – Unilateral Exercise

Average Reading Time: 2 minutes

I enjoy back (and leg) training a lot and would like to do it everyday. It’s not the easiest body part to develop, as it’s hard to get a good mind-muscle connection, but it’s crucial for building a strong foundation for all the compound lifts.

If you want to build a strong back, rows need to be part of your routine – in some form or another.

If you’re new at the gym, read this article.

All the vertical and horizontal rowing can get boring at times. The kettlebell gorilla rows definitely bring back the fun to the row.

I did this exercise at the end of my back workout and got tired. You’ll see my form break down at the end. Try to focus on your form for best results.

Here’s how to set it up:

  • Place two kettlebells between your legs
  • Get your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Hinge at the hip until you’re able to grab the handles (you should have a setup similar to a deadlift)

How to perform the kettlebell gorilla row:

  • Sit back a little and engage your glutes & hamstrings (drive your knees out)
  • Row one kettlebell up towards your hips
  • Stay close to your torso while rowing
  • Grip the kettlebell sitting on the floor tightly
  • Return the kettelebell to the floor and repeat with the other side

Advanced execution

  • Sit back a little and engage your glutes & hamstrings (drive your knees out)
  • Protracte your shoulder
  • Retract yoour shoulder (keep it retracted)
  • Drive your elbow up, not your arm (keep the retraction ongoing)
  • Stay close to your torso while rowing
  • Grip the kettlebell sitting on the floor tightly
  • Return the kettelebell to the floor
  • Protract only at the end of the movement
  • Repeat with the other side

Pay attention to the following points:

  • keep your back flat
  • your head is an extension of your spine, so keep it in a neutral position
  • brace your core

If you only have one kettlebell you can do your rows first on one side, then on the other.

Gorilla rows are not only fun, but also a good tool to work your grip strength. Besides that I personally find it a great exercise to isolate your mid and lower lats.

It seems to be easier to recruite these muscle fibres, as you can move your elbow back and high enough but also close enough (because of the kettlebell) to your body to engage the muscle.

As this position is a little unconventional, it will also work your general motor unit skills (stabilizing with the core and your legs, while bracing) and balance.

Unilateral work has it’s perks too and has an important place in any routine, in my opinion at least.

Why Is It Called Kettlebell “Gorilla” Row?

That’s an easy one. The setup as a whole will make you look like a gorilla.

Gorilla Row

I hope you enjoy this video. Let me know if this works for you.

One Reply to “Gorilla Row with Kettlebell – Unilateral Exercise”

  1. Pingback: Bulgarian Split Squats - Unilateral Training - Tao of Stefan

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