[Ultimate Guide] 8 Squats you Need to Try with Kettlebells

By November 5, 2018 No Comments

Along with the kettlebell swing, the kettlebell squat is a huge exercise for hitting all those large muscle groups.

Hitting these large muscle groups means a greater hormonal response along with metabolic effect.

In other words, great for fat loss and strength building.

The Squat can be categorized as a pushing exercise, and so can be paired with the kettlebell swing for a dramatic effect.

Most people do not Squat well.

The ability to squat well requires adequate stability, mobility, strength and movement patterning.

Taking the time to work on these important squatting aspects will pay huge dividends for your squatting and ultimately your results.

 


Why you Need to Squat

Squatting is one of our fundamental movement patterns.

Whenever you sit down or stand up you use the squatting exercise.

If you drive a car then you need to squat and twist in order to get into the car.

As a baby the squat is one of the main developmental movement patterns and watching youngsters move demonstrates how beautifully we all squat at a young age.

Squatting opens and closes the joints of the ankles, knees, hips, and lower back, pumping and flushing valuable nutrients into the joints.

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.

Front Muscles Used During the Kettlebell SquatBack Muscles Used During the Kettlebell Squat

The squat is quite possibility the most important exercise you will ever perform.


How to Squat with Kettlebells

In simple terms the kettlebell squat takes the bodyweight squat and loads it with a kettlebell.

It is very important to realise here that squatting with a kettlebell is no better for you than squatting without a kettlebell if you cannot squat properly in the first place.

 

Watch this tutorial on the kettlebell squat:

Here are a few teaching points for the basic squatting movement:
  1. Start the movement by pushing the hips backwards
  2. Keep the weight on your heels and the outside of the feet
  3. Imagine you are wearing ski boots
  4. Widen the feet if you have hip mobility issues
  5. Turn the feet out to approx 10 degrees
  6. Thighs must get to at least parallel with the floor
  7. Push the floor away from you on your way up
  8. Keep the back flat, chest up and look up
  9. 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.

Shallow squatting will only work your quads (thighs muscles) and not the largest muscles in the body your Glutes (backside).

If you do not want big thighs and a flat backside than squat deep!

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 and a yoga ball to improve your squats:

Try some of these hip opening exercises to help improve the depth of your squats.

Here’s a video to help open your hips and work on your depths of squats:

I usually recommend that you are able to perform 20 non-stop bodyweight squats before moving on to the kettlebell squat variations below.


8 Squat Exercises with Kettlebells

1. Goblet Kettlebell Squats

The Kettlebell Goblet Squat is the best starting point for adding load to the squat.

Hold the kettlebell upside down and by the handles.

Allow the kettlebell to rest against the chest if needed and keep the arms tucked in.

 

Watch a video of the kettlebell goblet squat below:

Practice: work up to 20 perfect repetitions moving smooth and steady.

2. Squat & Press Kettlebell Squats

Next a similar squat variation to the goblet squat.

Hold the kettlebell in both hands with the handle pointing upwards. You will find it easier holding the kettlebell 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.

Watch a video of the two handed kettlebell squat below:

Practice: work up to 20 perfect repetitions before adding the press.


3. Racked Kettlebell Squats

Now we move on to the single handed variation of the kettlebell squat.

You will create an imbalance and rotation through the body by holding the kettlebell one handed and against the chest.

The racked kettlebell squat allows great transitions from one position to the next but does mean that you will need to squat equally on both sides.

As the arm starts to fatigue you can always use the other arm just to steady the kettlebell and help out a little.

Watch a video of the racked kettlebell squat below:

 

 

Practice: progress to 10 repetitions on each side and 3 total sets.


4. Cat Toe Squat

Once you have mastered the racked kettlebell 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 upwardsand press the kettlebell overhead.

The thruster is a very demanding exercise so don’t progress onto this exercise until you have mastered all 3 of the squat variations above.

Watch a video of the Cat Toe Squat and press below:

Practice: work up to 60 seconds non-stop on each side. Tough on the cardio!

 


5. Squat with No Name

Now the kettlebell squatting exercises are getting a lot more advanced.

Holding the kettlebell 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.

Watch a video of the overhead kettlebell squat below:

Practice: 12 well performed repetitions on each side is a great achievement.

6. Figure of 8 Squat

Now the kettlebell squatting exercises are getting a lot more advanced.

Holding the kettlebell 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.

 

Watch a video of the overhead kettlebell squat below:

Practice: Add this into a Tabata Round.

7. Sumo Squat

Once you have mastered the racked kettlebell 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 upwardsand press the kettlebell overhead.

The thruster is a very demanding exercise so don’t progress onto this exercise until you have mastered all 3 of the squat variations above.

Watch a video of the kettlebell thruster squat and press below:

Practice: work up to 60 seconds non-stop on each side. Tough on the cardio!


8. Charlie Chaplin

Now the kettlebell squatting exercises are getting a lot more advanced.

Holding the kettlebell 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.

Watch a video of the overhead kettlebell squat below:

Practice: 12 well performed repetitions on each side is a great achievement.


4. One and a Half Squat

Once you have mastered the racked kettlebell 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 upwardsand press the kettlebell overhead.

The thruster is a very demanding exercise so don’t progress onto this exercise until you have mastered all 3 of the squat variations above.

Watch a video of the kettlebell thruster squat and press below:

Practice: work up to 60 seconds non-stop on each side. Tough on the cardio!


5. Low High Squat

Now the kettlebell squatting exercises are getting a lot more advanced.

Holding the kettlebell 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.

Watch a video of the overhead kettlebell squat below:

Practice: 12 well performed repetitions on each side is a great achievement.


9. Double Racked Squat

Once you have mastered the racked kettlebell 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 upwardsand press the kettlebell overhead.

The thruster is a very demanding exercise so don’t progress onto this exercise until you have mastered all 3 of the squat variations above.

Watch a video of the kettlebell thruster squat and press below:

Practice: work up to 60 seconds non-stop on each side. Tough on the cardio!


10. Lisa’s Kick Ass Squat

Now the kettlebell squatting exercises are getting a lot more advanced.

Holding the kettlebell 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.

Watch a video of the overhead kettlebell squat below:

Practice: 12 well performed repetitions on each side is a great achievement.

12. Kettlebell Pistol Squat or Kettlebell Single Leg Squat

The most difficult of the kettlebell squat variations.

The kettlebell is held with both hands but the squat is performed on just one leg.

The kettlebell will act as a nice counterbalance during the movement but does add additional resistance to the movement.

You should practice the movement first without using a kettlebell. Using a resistance band or TRX as demonstrated earlier is a great way to build up strength and mobility in the movement.

Watch a video of the kettlebell pistol squat below:

Practice: try a strength ladder, 1 on each side, then 2 on each, then 3, 4 and 5.

3 Kettlebell Workouts using the Kettlebell Squat

Just to show you how you can incorporate the kettlebell squat into your kettlebell workouts I’ve included a few 4 minute workouts below.

The workouts last a total of 4 minutes and can be completed a total of 3 times with a 30 – 60 second rest in between.

Kettlebell Workout No. 1

  • Slingshot – clockwise x 20 reps
  • Goblet Squat – 10 reps
  • Slingshot – anti-clockwise x 20 reps
  • Goblet Squat – 10 reps
  • Halo – clockwise x 10 reps
  • Single Arm Deadlift – left x 15 reps
  • Halo – anti-clockwise x 10 reps
  • Single Arm Deadlift – right x 15 reps

Watch this 4 minute kettlebell workout no. 1 below:

Kettlebell Workout No. 2
  • Two Handed Swing  x 15 reps
  • Goblet Squat  x 10 reps
  • Slingshot – changing every 5 x 20 reps
  • Two Handed Swing  x 15 reps
  • Goblet Squat  x 10 reps
  • Halo – alternating x 10 reps
  • Two Handed Swing  x 15 reps
  • Goblet Squat x 10 reps

Watch this 4 minute kettlebell workout no 2. below:

Kettlebell Workout No. 3
  • Single Handed Swing – left  x 15 reps
  • Single Handed Swing – right  x 15 reps
  • Reverse Lunge – left x 10 reps
  • Reverse Lunge – right x 10 reps
  • Racked Squat – left x 10 reps
  • Racked Squat – right x 10 reps
  • Sit and Press  x 10 reps

Watch this 4 minute kettlebell workout no. 3 below:

Conclusion of 7 Kettlebell Squats You Need to Know

The kettlebell squat is one of the most important kettlebell exercises that you need to use.

Squatting with a kettlebell helps to improve your joint health, uses 100’s of muscles in one movement, is very cardiovascular and is a great fat burning movement.

Ensure that you are great at squatting without a kettlebell before loading the movement pattern. You can use a resistance band to help improve your squatting skills and strength.

Once you can squat well you can use one or two kettlebells and also nicely transition from one exercise to the next without putting the kettlebell down. Great for keeping your heart rate elevated.

Take your time, progress carefully and logically and the rewards will be well worth the effort.

You can use my follow along workouts above to help understand how the kettlebell squat fits beautifully into your workouts.

Lisa Barwise

Author Lisa Barwise

Hi, I'm Lisa. I consider myself a Wellness Alchemist, the catalyst in the transformation of Strong Women around the world. Strong of mind, body and character.

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