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.
Finally, you use up to 600 muscles with every squat movement you perform, that makes it perfect for fat loss and overall strength building. Here are a few teaching points for the basic kettle bell squat movement:
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.
If you find that squatting nice and deep causes you problems then you can program and strengthen the movement pattern by using a resistance band. Here’s a video demonstrating how to use a resistance band to improve your squats :
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.
As you drive up from the bottom of the squat continue the momentum upwards and press the kettle bell overhead. Watch a video of the kettle bell thruster squat and press below:
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.
The kettle bell squat is a huge exercise for hitting all those large muscle groups. The main reason to get familiar with squats every day is that you can do them anywhere, since they’re a body weight exercise.
If you’re regularly on the go or you’re stuck in your home without access to a gym, squats are the perfect exercise. You may want to give your body a rest after a set or not do squats the day after.
You determine the number of squats that works for you, based on how your body feels. Squatting is pretty simple, but proper form is crucial.
Bend knees and push hips back as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Once thighs are parallel to the floor, pause, then push back up through your heels to stand.
Proper form ensures that you’re getting the most out of each squat without busting up your bod. Step back and across with right foot until left thigh is parallel to the floor.
Pause, then push up through the heel of your left foot to return to the starting position. This is like a lunge on fire, as you’ll isolate one leg at a time and rely more on balance.
Make sure front leg is bent but knee doesn’t go past your toes. Repeat the desired number of reps, then switch sides.
Stand with legs wider than shoulder width and toes pointing out. Stand in front of the chair, facing away from it, with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing straight ahead.
Engage core, keep spine neutral, and raise your head and chest. Squeeze glutes and hamstrings to drive your hips forward, then push back up to the starting position.
Bend your knees and squat, keeping back against the wall, until thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand on right foot and lift left leg out, holding it slightly in front of your torso.
Here’s a fun way to introduce some friendly competition to your fitness routine or just to challenge yourself. The key is to do it for 30 days in a row — this will help you get into a routine and create a habit.
Ideally, try each type of squat, doing 3 sets of 12–15 reps per day. Squats are a very effective move that can work most of your body (if not all of it, when you pack on the dumbbells).
As with any other exercise, it’s a good idea to warm up before you start dropping’ low. Squats are an awesome exercise to work your lower body.
How many squats you should do per day really depends on your fitness and comfort levels — and your personal drive. Before worrying about how many squats you should do in a day, pay attention to nailing the proper form.
While I was never exactly shredded, I was making good progress on the big lifts and felt comfortable taking off my shirt in public. I was still eating like a person with an active lifestyle, but the most movement I was getting was walking from my bed to the couch.
That, coupled with the new existential threats of daily existence under the pandemic, meant I was eating a lot of takes out, and food became a distraction from the casual terror of everyday life. Dan John's 10,000 Kettle bell Swing Workout has earned a reputation as a simple, brutal fitness challenge.
The swings are supplemented with squats, presses, or dips for four of the weekly training sessions. John claims that people who have taken on the challenge dropped fat while adding muscle, saw noticeable improvements in posture and body composition, and made significant gains in overall strength.
I wanted a program that didn't require regular gym access while still offering big results to combat my pandemic pounds and general malaise. By the time the challenge was finished four weeks later, I had dropped nearly all the pandemic weight and a quarter of my body fat.
Week 1 of the 10,000 Kettle bell Swing Challenge There are thousands of trainers on the internet insisting their programs are the absolute best way for people to lose weight. You need to expel more energy than you're putting in (this is called a caloric deficit).
That can happen through careful focus on diet, exercise, or most effectively, some combination of the two. To keep me accountable and make sure I actually finished the 10,000 swings, I asked longtime friend and collaborator Diego Lopez, a comedian and model in Brooklyn, to complete the challenge with me.
During the pandemic that's meant coaching clients through Zoom and training sessions in the park. For people looking to improve their fitness with minimal equipment, Lopez has been a strong advocate for kettle bells.
“The kettle bell swing is a phenomenal pattern to strengthen the upright human being,” said Lopez. The first day of training Lopez completed his 500 swings with a 70-pound bell, but struggled with his grip.
The first day of swings (I used a 54-pound bell, as prescribed in John's workout design) and presses took me 38 minutes to complete. By the end of the last set I looked like I’d just stepped out of the shower and every part of my body felt sore.
One of the hardest things about hitting 500 reps in a workout was maintaining good form. Focusing on the hip hinge and being consistent with the swings can get exhausting, but that's kind of the point.
Part of the reason I had gained so much weight over the course of the pandemic lockdown—aside from the obvious stress eating—was because I stopped doing things consciously. I'd slam back a fourth park drink because they were far cheaper than what I'd pay in a bar.
Logging the calories and doing more or less the same workout each day wasn’t sexy, but it did give me a sense of control. With the beauty of hindsight I can understand what a success dropping three pounds in a week is, but it didn't feel that way at the time.
These feelings had more to do with the fact that a big assignment was ramping up at my day job than anything to do with diet or kettle bell swings. I had a huge project due that required late nights and multiple meetings.
The shame of explaining that I'd quit or missed a workout seemed worse than actually doing the swings. Lopez even shared a story about a late night message from a lady friend he left unheeded—he turned down the booty call to finish his swings.
My face looked noticeably thinner and clothes that had been feeling tight fit again. Getting a decent workout in at under half an hour was incredibly satisfying, even if I continued to look like Swamp Thing after I was finished.
He cut his record for completing 500 swings to an impressive 17 minutes, and dropped 10 pounds without tweaking his diet. My buddy, Diego Lopez, showing off his results from the program. I dropped 16 pounds in four weeks, going from 210 to 194.
While the 10,000 swing kettle bell challenge didn't leave me with visible abs or a superhero body, it did leave me in a significantly better body composition than when I started, which serves as proof of concept for Dan John's program. I kept hoping to come up with some kind of life changing revelation when I discussed the challenge with friends, but nothing profound came to mind.
If you make a plan, put in hard work, and remain consistent, you'll get results. So really, I think the challenge shows that you don't need a gym or personal trainer to get noticeable results from your workouts.
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