Squats with Kettlebell
I’ve always been slightly intimidated by kettlebells. I only usually use really light hand-weights (only up to 3kg!), but I’ve always wanted to try as Mr R uses a kettlebell as part of his routines.
So I asked Mr R to show me how to do the most simple exercise he could think of with the kettlebell. He picked squats.
How to do body weight squats
- Stand with feet hip distance apart
- Push body weight backwards whilst bending knees
- Raise hands out in front for balance, parallel to the ground with palms downwards
- Don’t let knees go over toes
- When the bottom starts to stick out, keep spine neutral – don’t let it curve.
- Aim to get legs parallel (at 90 degrees) to the floor.
Actually when I was researching technique for squats (to be sure I’ve been doing them properly!) I have found debate on-line about the benefits of full squats versus the version above which are half squats. I’ve always done half squats and from what I understand there is debatable risks to the knees by doing the full version. However I did find this very interesting site advocating doing the full squat over the half squat.
Why to do squats
- Bottom toning
- Non- impact so gentle on the back, knees and ankles
- Improved balance
- Tones muscles in the leg
- Burns calories
- Improves core stability
Why to do kettlebell squats?
A bodyweight squat strengths primarily the lower body, back and core. By adding in a kettlebell the arms and shoulders also get a workout.
How to do kettlebell squats
- Hold kettlebell in front of, and close to, chest with two hands.
- Lower into squat position as detailed above whilst holding kettlebell close to the chest
- Keep elbows tucked in.
- Rise up again and repeat motion
How I coped with doing kettlebell squats
Actually as you can see by my posture in this picture I found it surprisingly MUCH harder than a weight free squat. I couldn’t squat with my legs quite parallel to the floor and certainly couldn’t maintain it long enough to take a picture!
I also struggled to keep my back in a neutral position.
Overall I’m glad to have discovered the benefits of squats with added weights. I’m going to try adding a hand weight first and might work up to using a kettlebell regularly. I’m also hoping Mr R will show me a few other kettlebell exercise now that I’m no longer intimidated by them.
30 Second Summary: Squats are a great exercise for the lower body and core, adding in a kettlebell also works out the arms and shoulders. However, its important to only use weights if you can continue to squat with the proper technique.
Have any of you had any experiences of using a kettlebell? Or like me have you been a bit intimidated of trying out new bits of equipment? I’d love to hear any comments.