How to Do a Kettlebell Squat

While kettlebells are mostly used for swinging since they have that built-in trusty metal handle, you can also use one as you would a dumbbell. This exercise is similar to a dumbbell goblet squat, but you hold a kettlebell instead. It's a great squat variation that targets the quads, hamstrings, and glutes and also the upper body and core, since it takes effort to hold the kettlebell steady.

Why do kettlebell squats instead of dumbbell squats? Jade Jenny, head CrossFit coach and owner of Champlain Valley CrossFit, tends to program kettlebell squats for workouts where you're doing kettlebell swings or single-arm overhead squats — why get out more equipment than you need? Kettlebells also tend to be heavier in weight, which is what you want to get the most out of this exercise.

Kettlebell Squat

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, with your toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Hold a heavy kettlebell in front of you with palms facing each other (20 to 40 pounds). Either hold it upside down at the base (as pictured) or right side up by the lower portion of the handle (aka the horns). Pull your elbows in toward your sides.
  • Keep your chest lifted, and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. The kettlebell and your arms should stay inside of your legs and close to your body at all times.
  • Pause, then slowly stand back up.
  • This counts as one rep.

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