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Kettlebell Squats: How To Do It, Benefits, Mistakes to Avoid, Variations and 5 Workouts

Learn everything you need to know to incorporate this complete lower body exercise into your routine.

So you have a kettlebell at home and want to use it as part of your exercise routine?

Have you thought about doing kettlebell squats? Of course you have, otherwise you would not be reading this at the moment. Kettlebell squats are a great way to improve your level of fitness overall using one of the most common gym equipment.

After you are equipped with all the information necessary about kettlebell squats, you can implement the movements straight away by choosing one of the 5 workouts BOXROX has separated that include kettlebell squats.

How To Do Kettlebell Squats

Begin by standing upright with a slight bend at the knees and feet apart slightly wider than shoulder-width. Hold a kettlebell by the horns in front of you with both hands, also known as the goblet grip.

Lower your hips until your thighs are at least parallel with the ground – your legs should reach a 90 degree angle. Keep your back straight while lowering your body and make sure your knees do not pass your toe line. Maintain your heels in contact with the ground at all times.

After reaching at least a 90 degree angle, legs parallel to the ground, return to the upright position with your back still in a straight line. Extend the hips fully at the top position. That is one rep.

Muscles Worked

Kettlebell squats are a simple exercise that focuses on large muscles on your body. It primarily targets the lower body, but it also engages the core and different stabilizer muscles. The muscles targets are:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Calves
  • Tibealis Anterior (muscle that originates along the upper two-thirds of the outside surface of the tibia, near the shin)
  • Abdominals
  • Forearms
  • Upper back
  • Lower back

Benefits of Kettlebell Squats

Knowing which muscles kettlebell squats targets gives us a notion of the benefits the exercise has.

It improves core strength and stability by requiring contraction of the muscles and coordinated breathing as the movement gets harder with each rep.

Kettlebell squats improve balance more vigorously than a normal squat due to the added weight in the exercise. You must control the exercise’s movement properly, which requires you to focus on your stabilizing muscles.

Hand-in-hand with improving balance, kettlebell squats also help to improve your posture by forcing you to keep your back straight while lowering your body.

Holding on to that kettlebell for longer will help increase your grip strength, which in turn can transfer into making other exercises easier, such as the pull-ups.

rule yourself male crossfit athlete kettlebell squatSource: Under Armour

Mistakes to Avoid

The indication on how to do kettlebell squats are simple and clear. However, every one is prone to make mistakes. Check out these common mistakes you should avoid to get the best results from your kettlebell squats.

1. Knees surpasses the toe line

A common problem in the squat movement is having your knee line surpassing the toe line. When your knees are caving in, you lose the stability in the hips and, overtime, you become injury-prone when returning to the upright position. Try to maintain your foot grounded at all times.

2. Chest tips forwards

Another mistake to avoid is losing balance and leaving your chest or torso to lean forwards while performing the descending movement. Keep your head straight and focus on bending more your knees and sitting the hips down.

3. Wing flapping

This mistakes happen when you lose control of the grip and your elbows start pointing outwards instead of keeping them pointing down. This mistakes will put unnecessary stress on your shoulders and the top of your spine. Keep your armpits closed at all time.

Kettlebell Squats Variations

The kettlebell goblet squat is the most simple of the exercise options and recommended for anyone who has never done a kettlebell squat in their life. It can be performed with just one equipment and it challenges you to be mindful of your movements before advancing to other variations of the kettlebell squat.

The kettlebell sumo squat is fairly similar, but your feet should be pointing outwards and your perform a deep squat. In contrast, the narrow kettlebell squat keeps the feet as narrow as possible, between hip-width to shoulder-width apart, and it targets primarily the inner-thigh muscles.

You can add momentum to your kettlebell and perform the kettlebell squat swing, which looks similar to a Russian or American swing, but it shifts the focus to your legs, instead of your back. Sit down to a deep squat position, , swing the kettlebell forwards and instead of straightening your legs, you maintain the squatted position.

Workouts With Kettlebell Squats

“Bell & Rope”

For time:

  • 25-20-15-10-5 American kettlebell swings (70/53 lbs)
  • 50-40-30-20-10 Double-Unders
  • 25-20-15-10-5 Goblet Squats (70/53 lb)

Score is time on clock after performing the last set of goblet squats.

Perform 5 sets of American Kettlebell Swings, Double-Unders and Goblet Squats in the order mentioned, but at decreasing rep rates. American Kettlebell Swings and Goblet Squats will start at 25 reps and reduce by 5 reps, while Double-Unders will start at 50 reps and reduce at a rate of 10 reps.

Workout by Juan Jimenez.

“190709-Mayhem”

Strength:

Split jerk (1 repetition max)

Time cap: 10 minutes

For time:

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

  • Kettlebell swings (70/53 lbs)
  • Goblet squats (70/52 lbs)

Every time you break, perform 10 burpees over kettlebell.

Workout by CrossFit Mayhem.

“Bellzebub”

For time:

20 to 1 reps of:

  • Kettlebell goblet squats (24/16 kgs)
  • Kettlebell Russian swings (24/16 kgs)

Perform as fast as possible the prescribed work in the order written. Perform 20 kettlebell goblet squats, followed by 20 kettlebell Russian swings. Continue to 19 kettlebell goblet squats, and so on until you finish with one kettlebell Russian swing.

Score is the time on the clock when the last repetition of the kettlebell Russian swing is completed.

Workout by Luke Downing.

“Bauer”

For time:

  • 2 minute elbow plank
  • 13 burpees
  • 18 kettlebell swings (50/35 lbs)
  • 31 push-ups
  • 53 goblet squats (50/35 lbs)
  • 53 burpees
  • 31 kettlebell swings (50/35 lbs)
  • 18 push-ups
  • 13 goblet squats (50/35 lbs)
  • 2 minute wall sit

For the plank and wall site, count time while in hold position only.

Score is the time on the clock when the two-minute wall sit is completed.

Bauer is a hero WOD dedicated to Chicago Police commander Paul Bauer who was shot in the line of duty on February 13, 2018.

“Irvine”

For time:

  • 400 meter run
  • 23 push-ups
  • 53 goblet squats (52/35 lbs)
  • 400 meter run
  • 23 push-ups
  • 53 kettlebell swings (52/35 lbs)
  • 400 meter run

Score is the time on clock after completion of the last 400-meter run.

Irvine is a Brew City CrossFit Hero WOD dedicated to police officer Charles Irvine Jr, who died in the line of duty on June 7, 2018.

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