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. It works a tremendous amount of muscle and can burn a lot of calories, making it useful for both muscle-gain and fat-loss goals.
It trains the legs, as any squat does, but also forces the upper back and core to engage in order to maintain alignment. If you’re not familiar with the clean, let Innit Coach Eric Lava, aka “Primal Soldier,” bring you up to speed.
Keeping your head, spine, and pelvis in a straight line, bend your hips back to reach down and grasp the kettle bell. (Don’t crush it; a somewhat soft grip will allow you to spin the weight around your wrist more easily when you clean it.)
From the standing position with the bell racked at the shoulder (after you’ve cleaned it), the single-arm kettle bell front squat goes as follows. Step 1: Hold the kettle bell with your forearm as vertical as possible and your wrist straight.
Turn your toes to point out slightly—more if you have trouble squatting deeply, and less if you’re fairly mobile in your hips. Take a deep breath into your belly, and actively twist your feet into the floor, but don’t let them move.
You should feel the arches in your feet rise and your glutes tighten, creating tension in the lower body. Step 2: Squat as low as you can while keeping your head, spine, and pelvis aligned, and pushing your knees apart.
Keep your torso as vertical as possible—you shouldn’t have to lean forward or work extra hard to hold the bell upright. Holding a load in front of your body acts as a counterbalance, so that when you squat, you’re able to sit back with your hips as you descend with little fear of losing your balance.
This better activates your glutes and hamstrings while allowing you to keep an upright, vertical torso, and is much safer for the lower back than barbell back squatting (which often results in a forward lean of the torso that puts the lumbar spine at risk). The weight wants to pull you forward, so you have to battle to stay tall with good posture.
So, while it provides a great workout for a trainee of any level on its own, the kettle bell front squat also serves as a stepping stone to mastering more complex lifts. As so many activities in sports and in life require you to stabilize an uneven load (throwing a ball, carrying objects, holding an opponent in a grappling drill), the single-arm kettle bell front squat is highly applicable.
Because it allows for such a deep squat, you can be sure you’ll work your quads hard through a big range of motion, while also recruiting the glutes and hamstrings. Kettle bell front squats can be done heavy for low reps to build maximum strength and muscle, and lighter for higher reps as part of a conditioning circuit or kettle bell complex (in which multiple exercises are strung together).
Or row the bell from the floor, and then clean it, squat it, and step back into a reverse lunge. So, owning good front squat mechanics with the kettle bell opens up a range of movement that leads to endless training possibilities.
One of the great selling points of any kettle bell front squat variation is that it’s a full-body movement. Quadriceps hamstrings glutes internal and external obliques' rectus abdominal (the six-pack muscle) spinal erectors transverse abdominal (deep core muscle) multimedia (core) front and lateral deltoid latissimus Doris trapezium rhomboids forearm flexors
Use these drills to warm up and help mobilize your hips, upper back, and shoulders before you train any kettle bell front squat variation. Also, stabilizing one kettle bell (or dumbbell) with both hands is less complex than controlling a bell with only one arm.
Take a deep breath into your belly, and twist your feet into the floor to create tension. The landmine—a long metal cylinder in which you can load one end of a barbell—provides the freedom of movement that makes free weights great, but with a little more stability and an arc of motion that’s easier on the joints.
Start in the same start position as the single-arm kettle bell clean/single-arm kettle bell front squat, but grasp the end of the bar with one hand and a pronated grip (thumb pointing back at you, and palm facing the same side leg). Begin pushing through your heels to extend your hips and knees and pull the bar off the floor.
Drop into a full squat, keeping the end of the bar in front of your shoulder. Read articleGirls Follow these fit women we're crushing on for inspiration, workout ideas, and motivation.
It was never designed to be a lifelong program to follow — if such a thing even exists — nor did I consider the exercises necessarily the most important kettle bell drills. Given that we’re looking for exercises that fit kettle bells the best, you have to start with the question of what that means, and then choose the most effective movements accordingly.
So let’s walk through that discussion and I’ll share what I believe to be the three most effective kettle bell exercises for the advanced trainee. Kettle bells also offer a nearly unprecedented amount of variety to train the shoulder girdle.
Among the many benefits of using long cycle, he found that it contributed to improved military PT testing and other varied athletic events such as obstacle courses (the infamous “WTH effect”). In addition, body weight increased, blood pressure decreased, and in Return of the Kettle bell, Iron Tamer Dave Whitley (former Master SFG) is quoted as saying, “The long cycle added 15lb to my dead lift , even though I had not done dead lifts in over a year.”
For those wanting some research that is a little more modern and Western, there is ample evidence to back up the use of faster eccentric training for muscle growth. If you’re after big arms and shoulders as well as some serious strength endurance, then long cycle may be the best kept secret in the training world.
Having had the luxury of being around the kettle bell scene for quite a while, I can remember a time when the famous “program minimum” (what would later become Pavel’s Simple & Sinister) did not include the get-up. It was the bent press and the snatch, not the swing and get-up, that were regarded as being the two most essential exercises, provided you had the requisite shoulder and hip flexibility.
But the thing to remember about steroids is that while in the right dose they can help deliver powerful athletic performances, they can also give you cancer and you can die. In other words, the windmill and bent press are more powerful than the get-up as exercises and train more components of movement to higher degrees, but for many people they may be too much to begin with.
Strength pioneer Bob Hoffman wrote in 1938, “The bent press is the making of a lifter. It promotes efficiency in all lifts, and its practice will promote a great increase in strength development.” To perform the bent press, and its earlier progression the windmill, you will need a good hip hinge and flawless thoracic rotation.
Exercises like farmer walks and rack carries are a fantastic way to develop real-world core strength and stability. But not many people have access to a free-range style of gym like mine at RPT, and they lack the space to effectively carry.
The anterior load makes squatting better easier, as it forces the abdominal to engage fully, which in turn allows the hips to free up and work better. That placement of load also allows for a more upright torso angle, meaning there is less stress on the lower back.
Speaking of your back, the lats, which are an essential element to core stability, will have to fire up like crazy to stop you dropping the bells in front of you as you squat. Even large humans who can seemingly squat Ohio will find this variation challenging.
The windmill and bent press include high degrees of hip and shoulder mobility and stability, which will injury-proof you and keep you supple and strong. He is both a black belt and an Iron man and has been honing the craft of training for over twenty years. Having trained alongside industry leaders in everything from Taekwondo to Brazilian Jim Jitsi to boxing, as well as kettle bells, running, triathlon, and weightlifting, Andrew has a wealth of experience to draw from.