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. Paying attention now? lol

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

Most women I meet at first 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:

  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.

 

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 Squat Press below:

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

 

 

Watch a video of the Double Thruster below:

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.

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

 

3. Racked Kettlebell Squats

Now we move on double and heavier variations of the kettlebell squat.

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.

 

Watch a video of the racked kettlebell squat below:

Practice: progress to 10 repetitions for total of 3 total sets

 

4. Cat Toe Squat

 

Once you have mastered the racked kettlebell squats and the presses above you can add even more muscle activation and cardiovascular demands to the movement.

The Cat Toe Squat is more demanding on Adductors (the inner thigh) for strengthening this area and making it more demanding.

 

Watch a video of the Cat Toe Squat below:

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

6. 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.

7. Squat with No Name

 

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

 

A full compound move like this  requires excellent mobility in addition to building strength in the core through the upper back, triceps and shoulders.

Keeping the arms moving as well as the legs means this is one of our most demanding movements when completing multiple rounds.

 

Watch a video of the this compound squat we call the Squat with No Name below:

Practice: 10 well performed repetitions of this one exercise with a 8kg is a triumph!

 

 

8. Figure of 8 Squat

 

Now the kettlebell  exercises are getting a lot more cardio and intense. 

Keeping your arms moving makes the heart work harder too as it pushes the blood uphill.

 

Watch a video of the Figure of 8 Kettlebell Squat below:

Practice: Add this into a Tabata Round for ultimate intense

 

9. Kettlebell Pistol Squat or Kettlebell Single Leg Squat

 

(how insane does this look? Just so you know I have NEVER done this but it does look awesome!)

 

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:

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

Want to add some of these into your next workout? Access any of our FREE Kettlebell or Body Weight 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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