“You have some opportunities with a kettle bell for what I and some of my friends call ‘accidental exercise,’” says Prentice Rhodes, a NASA -certified personal trainer and performance enhancement specialist. “You’re actually working a little harder to stabilize the weight than you would with some other implements.” Compared to that of a dumbbell or barbell, a kettle bell ’s weight isn’t completely balanced, so you’ll have to work harder to keep the bell straight throughout the exercise, training your body unilaterally (re: on one side) in the process, explains Rhodes.
In the rack position, the kettle bell ’s uneven weight distribution will ask your core to remain strong and centered and your arm to stay in toward the midline, says Rhodes. Plus, your forearm muscles will need to work harder to keep your wrist in a neutral position, he says.
Aside from providing bonus strength training for your upper body, kettlebellsquats have the potential to create some major lower-body gains. Throughout the whole kettle bell squat movement, your hamstrings act as your glutes’ support system too.
But no matter how you're squatting, it's important to have a solid foundation before you casually pick up a weight and try a complex or heavy-loaded exercise. For instance, if your legs are on the long side, you may feel more comfortable standing with your feet a bit farther apart.
Once your feet are in their proper place, stand tall in what Rhodes likes to call a “vertical plank position.” Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears; brace your abs and glutes; tighten your quads, and lift your kneecaps, he says. As you sit down into your squat, bracing your core will help stabilize your spine so you can efficiently drive into the floor and pop back up to standing, he adds.
Just like the right amount of protein, carbs, and calories to consume post-workout, the best weight to use when performing kettlebellsquats will be different for everyone, depending on your fitness level and goals. If you’re a total newbie, start training with a lighter weight that allows you to complete a greater volume (say, 12 reps), which will help teach the nervous system to properly activate the muscles being used throughout the move and train the body to perform a proper squat, says Rhodes.
By the same token, remember to stick to the range of motion that you can control, so don't go deeper or lower than you can successfully lift with proper form. Before you start dropping it like it’s hot, make sure you properly warm-up (try this dynamic routine designed for weight lifting), says Rhodes.
As for which kettlebellsquats are worthy of a spot in your regular rotation, Rhodes has one simple answer: All of them. Provided you can maintain proper form throughout, you should incorporate numerous types of kettlebellsquats into your workouts.
If you’re completely new to kettlebellsquats, don’t pick up a bell and immediately attempt a seriously challenging weighted pistol squat. “There’s less to manage, not a lot to focus on, and you don't have to worry about learning extra technique, getting the bell into the rack position,” says Rhodes.
This move will activate your back muscles, which in turn improves your posture and stops your shoulders from rounding, says Layoff. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettle bell with one hand on each side of the handle at chest.
Keeping chest lifted and spine straight, bend knees and shift hips back to lower into a squat, until you reach the bottom of your range of motion. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle, holding the bottom weight of the kettle bell with both hands at chest and the handle directly below the chin.
Keeping chest lifted and spine straight, bend knees and shift hips back to lower into a squat, until you reach the bottom of your range of motion. Holding the bottom weight of the kettle bell with both hands at chest and the handle directly below the chin.
Keeping chest lifted and spine straight, bend knees and shift hips back to lower into a squat, until you reach the bottom of your range of motion. Remember to keep your forearms vertical when you bring the kettle bells into the front rack position to prevent them from slamming into your chest.
C. Keeping chest lifted and spine straight, bend knees and shift hips back to lower into a squat, until you reach the bottom of your range of motion. C. Keeping chest lifted and spine straight, bend knees and shift hips back to lower into a squat, until you reach the bottom of your range of motion.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettle bell with one hand on each side of the handle at chest. B. Squat as deep as possible to the left, while turning right toes up and flexing right foot (right leg remains straight and torso leans slightly forward to maintain balance).
Hitting these large muscle groups means a greater hormonal response along with metabolic effect. The Squat can be categorized as a pushing exercise, and so can be paired with the kettle bell swing for a dramatic effect.
The ability to squat well requires adequate stability, mobility, strength and movement patterning. Regular squatting keeps the joints fresh and mobile reducing the potential for back and knee pain.
Start the movement by pushing the hips backwards Keep the weight on your heels and the outside of the feet Imagine you are wearing ski boots Widen the feet if you have hip mobility issues Turn the feet out to approx 10 degrees Thighs must get to at least parallel with the floor Push the floor away from you on your way up Keep the back flat, chest up and look up Breathe in, hold and descend, breathe out on the way up It is important to note that if you do not squat deep enough (thighs at least to parallel with the floor) then you are not engaging your backside correctly.
Allow the kettle bell to rest against the chest if needed and keep the arms tucked in. Practice : work up to 20 perfect repetitions moving smooth and steady.
Hold the kettle bell in both hands with the handle pointing upwards. You will find it easier holding the kettle bell by the body rather than by the handle in this position.
As you get stronger and more comfortable with the movement you can add a press into the top of the exercise (see image above) to increase even more muscle activation. Now we move on to the single-handed variation of the kettle bell squat.
You will create an imbalance and rotation through the body by holding the kettle bell one handed and against the chest. Once you have mastered the racked kettle bell squat above you can add even more muscle activation and cardiovascular demands to the movement.
Holding the kettle bell permanently overhead while you squat requires excellent mobility through the upper back and shoulders. Keeping the arm over the head makes the heart work harder too as it pushes the blood uphill.
The kettle bell is held with both hands but the squat is performed on just one leg. Using a resistance band or Tax as demonstrated earlier is a great way to build up strength and mobility in the movement.
An advanced kettle bell squat variation that requires very good hip mobility. Take it nice and steady at first as the kettle bell can throw your weight quickly backwards.
Once you really start to get the hang of loading your kettlebellsquats you can add in a second kettle bell. The easiest starting point is by holding a kettle bell in each hand in the racked position against the chest.
You can even link fingers if you wish but try to keep the elbows in and upper body nice and compact. Ensure that you are great at squatting without a kettle bell before loading the movement pattern.
You can use a resistance band to help improve your squatting skills and strength. Take your time, progress carefully and logically and the rewards will be well worth the effort.
The kettle bell is excellent for squats due to its unique holding positions. Everyone is different, begin with only your body weight to master the technique first then start to add weight using the goblet squat.