Squats work all the leg muscles and can be used in a range of ways in bodyweight workouts. But adding resistance in the form of weights or bands increases their effectiveness in strengthening and toning the leg muscles. It also makes the core muscles work harder, can include arm work and helps to improve coordination. This kettlebell squats workout uses a basic squat plus 4 variations for a whole body workout. For best results, do the workout 3 times a week.
Kettlbells are different from other types of weights in that they have a handle which means the centre of gravity of the weight is further from your hand. This challenges balance, core strength and coordination. It also makes them easier to handle and move around. If you enjoy using kettlebells, you’ll want to have a range of different weights, but for this workout one kettlebell is fine. For (female) beginners a weight of 3-5kg / 6-10lbs is good for this workout. You can see a full guide to choosing kettlebells here.
Beginner squats with kettlebell workout – the exercises
These are the exercises for the workout. You should warm up your joints and muscles before you start. You can see a suitable warm up routine here and read more about warm ups here. Please also read this general exercise safety information.
Swing – 16 reps
- Stand with your feet a bit wider than hip distance.
- Bend your knees and take the kettlebell between your legs. Keep your back straight and your head in line with your spine.
- Engage your core muscles as you straighten your legs, at the same time lifting the kettlebell out in front of your body.
- Stop when your arms are parallel to the floor and reverse the movement, bending your knees as you take the kettlebell back through your legs.
- The movement should be smooth and controlled. There shouldn’t be any jerking or snapping at the joints.
Basic squat – 20 reps
- Have your feet a little more than hip distance apart, parallel or slightly turned out.
- Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of you, with your elbows bent.
- Bend at your knees and hips as you lower into squat position. Aim to get your thighs parallel with the floor.
- Come back up gently, making sure you don’t jerk your knees backwards.
- Avoid arching your back or rounding your shoulders and keep your neck in line with your spine.
Wide squat – 20 reps
- The action for the wide squat is the same as for a basic squat, except that you have your legs wider apart and your feet turned out a bit more if you find it more comfortable.
Side squat with arm raise – 8 each way
- Start in the wide squat position.
- As you come out of the squat, bring your left leg towards your right, so that you finish with your feet close together.
- At the same time, raise your arms above your head.
- Now take a step to the right and go back into the wide squat.
- This time, bring your right leg to your left as you come out of the squat.
- Keep alternating for a total of 8 each way.
Squat pulse 24 reps
- Get into a basic squat and from there make small pulses up and down of 1-2”.
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