Everything You Need To Know About Kettlebell Squats - Boxlife (2023)

Alongside the kettlebell swing, the kettle squat is a highly known exercise known for hiring all those major muscle groups, meaning a greater hormonal response and metabolic effect. Though if you’re new to the kettlebell world and even to squats, this article is a must-read! We’re going over how to perform a perfect squat, different squat variations to try, and so much more.


  • 1 Kettlebell Squats vs. Barbell Squats: What’s The Difference?
  • 2 How To Do Squats With Perfect Form
    • 2.1 Starting Position
    • 2.2 The Downward Movement
    • 2.3 Staying Level
    • 2.4 The Upward Movement
    • 2.5 Adding the Kettlebell
  • 3 Watch Out For These Kettlebell Squat Mistakes:
    • 3.1 Knees Passing The Toe Line
    • 3.2 Forward Chest
    • 3.3 Wonky Elbows
    • 3.4 Your Breathing
  • 4 What Are The Benefits Of Kettlebell Workouts Though?
  • 5 Are 20 Minutes Of Kettlebells Enough?
  • 6 6 Squat Exercises To Try With Kettlebells:
    • 6.1 Kettlebell Goblet Squats
    • 6.2 Kettlebell Rack Squats
    • 6.3 Kettlebell Sumo Squat
    • 6.4 Double Front-Racked Kettlebell Squat
    • 6.5 Kettlebell Overhead Squat
    • 6.6 Kettlebell Pistol Squat or Kettlebell Single Leg Squat

Kettlebell Squats vs. Barbell Squats: What’s The Difference?

Though both are weightlifting exercises there are a few differences here, the first being equipment:

One uses a dumbbell for the free weight and the other uses a kettlebell.

Next is the muscles worked:

Front squats with a barbell engage your core muscles and upper back muscles, while similar kettlebell squats focus on your core and really emphasize the hips and buttocks.

(Video) Kettlebell Swing Squat

Lastly, the difficulty level:

Kettlebells are viewed to be easier since the kettlebell counterbalances your weight during the front squat movement unlike the barbell, though once you get a hang of each, both aren’t really that difficult at all.

How To Do Squats With Perfect Form

The kettlebell squat is a regular squat, but with added weight. This means that before you load up your squats with weight, you have to master the bodyweight squat, and here’s how you do them:

Starting Position

For your starting position, stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forward. You should be looking ahead with your hands at your side.

The Downward Movement

While keeping your back flat and your core braced, push your hips back as you bend your knees. Lower your body until your hips are parallel to the floor. Here is where you should “sit” into the exercise, pushing with your butt back as if you were sitting in an invisible chair.

Staying Level

Do not bend forward with your waist as it will increase the stress on your spine and throw you off balance. Instead, keep your chest high and back as straight as possible. At this point in the exercise, it’s recommended to pause, verifying that your squat is level and you don’t dip too far down or lean too far forward.

The Upward Movement

After the two-second pause, push yourself back up to the starting position, repeating the squat movement over and over until your set is finished.

(Video) Kettlebell Lunges + Squat

Adding the Kettlebell

Now if you’re adding the weight keep it centered at your chest, not pressing against you, and not all the way out with extended arms. It should hover right in front of you at chest level, being held up with both hands gripping the body of the bell or the sides of the handles.

Everything You Need To Know About Kettlebell Squats - Boxlife (1)

Watch Out For These Kettlebell Squat Mistakes:

Knees Passing The Toe Line

When you add a weight it changes your weight distribution so be very careful about not letting your knees pass your toes. Your knees should stay behind the toes throughout the entire movement.

Forward Chest

When you’re in the squat position, many people like to lean forward, which can cause you to fall forward and even cause back and spine problems. Always stay upright with good posture to avoid hurting yourself.

Wonky Elbows

If you notice your elbows are starting to spread out too far, think about going to a lighter weight or keep an eye on it and remind yourself over and over to keep your elbows tucked in.

Your Breathing

Make sure to breathe once per squat, inhaling on the way down and exhaling on the way up. Doing too many breaths or too little can make you dizzy and cause you to injure yourself.

What Are The Benefits Of Kettlebell Workouts Though?

Kettlebell movements are often very low impact and are very good at building core strength, muscle mass, and muscular endurance. On top of making you stronger, it can also assist in your range of motion including hip mobility. Many of the kettlebell workouts are great for smaller spaces as well. If you have an at-home gym with limited space, using a single kettlebell can be not only a space saver but a fun way to spice up your workout routine.

Are 20 Minutes Of Kettlebells Enough?

One of the other benefits of using kettlebells is that they’re also a time saver. All you really need is ten minutes of kettlebell squats in intervals of thirty-five to twenty-five seconds with a 20-pound or heavier kettlebell to improve cardiovascular health and muscular endurance.

(Video) Kettlebell Good Morning

6 Squat Exercises To Try With Kettlebells:

If you’re already bored of the regular kettlebell squats and things like the kettlebell swings, then we have the best squat variations on the internet right here starting from the most beginner friendly to advanced.

Kettlebell Goblet Squats

One of the simplest kettlebell squats is the goblet squat. Everything is the same squat-wise except while you hold the kettlebell upside down or the regular way with both hands in front of your chest your elbows should move past your inner thighs bringing you into a deeper squat. You’ll want to pause at the bottom of this squat as well before returning back to the starting position.

Everything You Need To Know About Kettlebell Squats - Boxlife (2)

Kettlebell Rack Squats

This variation is basically a single-handed version of the kettlebell squat except you’re going to use one hand. With a firm grip and tucked elbow, hold the single kettlebell at chest height, feet about shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly.

Keeping the weight on your heels, lower until your thighs are parallel with the ground while not allowing your chest to fall forward. If you find yourself leaning, try switching to a lighter weight.

After your pause, bring yourself back to the starting position while having an engaged core the entire time. Do these squats on one side for a set and then switch to the other side for the same quantity.

Kettlebell Sumo Squat

Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes turned out about 45 degrees. With your arms holding the kettlebell weight in front of you in a deadlift-type hang, keep your arm extended. Keep your back flat and your entire core tight while you push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat down with the kettlebell as it hangs between your legs. Pause and push yourself back up just to do it over and over again until your set is finished.

(Video) Kettlebell Complex: 3 KB Hang Cleans + 3 Front Rack Squats + 3 Push Jerks

Double Front-Racked Kettlebell Squat

Stand with your feet flat and shoulder width apart with your toes pointed forward. With each hand hold a kettlebell of the same weight by the handle so the bell is resting on the outside of your forearm and your elbow is tucked in towards your torso in a racked position (this means your palms should be facing towards your body). Of course, you can swap the two kettlebells for a single kettlebell, but for this one, we’ll talk about the double. Now keep your back flat and core tight as you bend your knees and squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Pause and then push yourself back up to the starting position.

Everything You Need To Know About Kettlebell Squats - Boxlife (3)

Kettlebell Overhead Squat

If you want to include a good upper body workout to your squat, the kettlebell overhead squat is perfect. For this one, you’ll stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward as both hands hold a kettlebell in the front-racked position like you would for the double front-racked squat.

With your standard squat movement keep your back straight and lower your body until it’s parallel with the floor. After your pause, push your way back up as you push both kettlebells straight over your head in one fluid motion, locking your elbows and bringing your biceps close to your ears. And as you move into the next squat, bring the kettlebells slowly back to that original rack position.

Kettlebell Pistol Squat or Kettlebell Single Leg Squat

This exercise is certainly one of the hardest as it requires much more than strength, but also balance. To start, hold the kettlebell with both hands at chest height with your elbows tucked in. Keep your head and eyes straight ahead, brace your abdominal muscles, and squat slowly with your weight on your heels.

Except, instead of a regular squat, one leg will be held out in front of you while you use the kettlebell for a counterbalance as you lower until you can’t go any further and then push yourself back up engaging your glutes at the top of the movement.

(Video) 1-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Squat

If you’re struggling with the descent, allow the knee to collapse inward, keeping it in line with the straightened leg. For some people it’s easy without the weight so if you’re still struggling here, try it with just your body weight or with a resistance band.

Everything You Need To Know About Kettlebell Squats - Boxlife (4)


Are squats with kettlebell effective? ›

The kettlebell is excellent for squats due to its unique holding positions. Squatting with a kettlebell helps to improve your joint health, uses 100's of muscles in one movement, is very cardiovascular and is a great fat burning movement.

What are the benefits of kettlebell squats? ›

Benefits of Kettlebell Squats

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.

Will kettlebell squats build muscle? ›

The squat is one of the best muscle building exercises you can do, and this is no different using kettlebells. With kettlebell squats, you are going to be hitting more than just your lower body, your core and upper body will be built up as well because you need to hold the kettlebells in a front rack position.

How many sets of kettlebell squats should I do? ›

8 – 12 reps = Muscle Development (Hypertrophy)

For many popular kettlebell workouts you will be working within this rep range. A classic lifting format is 10 reps x 3 – 5 sets. Rest between sets will be around 60 – 90 seconds each.

How heavy should a kettlebell squat be? ›

What Size Kettlebell For Squats and Goblet Squats?
  • For average active men doing Basic Goblet Squats, the best kettlebell size is 40LBS.
  • For average active women doing Basic Squats, the best kettlebell squats size is 25LBS.

Why are kettlebell squats so hard? ›

The Toughest Squat You've Never Done

The reason the double-kettlebell front squat is so much more challenging than its barbell cousin is due to leverage. Consider the rack position: With a barbell, the load rests near the top of the spine, across the collarbone and the front of the deltoids, just below the head.

How long does it take to see results from kettlebell? ›

How quickly do you see results from kettlebells? With a good diet and a sensible kettlebell training program you will start to see cardio, strength, muscle and fat loss improvements within 30 days.

Is it OK to do kettlebells everyday? ›

It is possible to use kettlebells everyday but it will depend on the intensity of the workouts, your current experience and how quickly you recover from the workout. The kettlebell swing is one exercise that you may be able to perform daily.

What kind of physique will kettlebells give you? ›

Short Answer: Kettlebell use will cause your forearms to be visibly stronger, upper arms and shoulders toned and more defined as fat is lost, legs and rear tighter and more shapely, posture will improve. You will appear (and be) balanced, stronger and more graceful with a general air of healthy athleticism.

How many kettlebell squats a day? ›

When it comes to how many squats you should do in a day, there's no magic number — it really depends on your individual goals. If you're new to doing squats, aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps of at least one type of squat. Practicing a few days a week is a great place to start.

Can you get jacked from kettlebells? ›

If you want to build more muscle and get a muscular physique faster, start using kettlebells. You'll not only generate more power, build lean muscle, and boost your metabolism, but you'll also improve your balance and stability.

Is a 30 minute kettlebell workout enough? ›

The kettlebell minimum effective dose is designed for busy people like you. The objectives are simple. 20-30 minutes twice a week is all you'll need. And if you own a kettlebell, you don't even need to leave the house.

What happens if you do 100 kettlebell swings a day? ›

100 kettlebell swings a day improves your posture, reduces back pain, promotes health testosterone and growth hormone levels, and builds a habit of movement and fitness into your daily lives.

Do kettlebell squats build glutes? ›

According to Hardstyle Kettlebell-certified trainer Lisa Reed, MS, CSCS, the kettlebell Bulgarian split squat is great for your glutes and hamstrings alike. You should feel the most work in your front glute with just a slight stretch in your back hip flexor.

Can you do kettlebell squats everyday? ›

If you want to be able to move well when you become older, you need to squat everyday! You should definitely maintain and practice it on a regular basis. It will keep you young, mobile and strong! It will enable you to maintain full range of motion in your hips, knees, and ankles, and may even stave off arthritis.

Do kettlebells tone your stomach? ›

Kettlebell exercises are excellent for intense full-body workouts, to build strength and muscle tone, burn calories and help you get rid of your belly fat.

Do kettlebells make you stronger than weights? ›

You'll see more gains when you use kettlebells for exercise than when you use dumbbells. Building power and strength is the main advantage of using kettlebells. Your back, shoulders, and lower body are the most worked muscle groups when you exercise with kettlebells.

Is 35 lb kettlebell too heavy? ›

For a man, a 35 lb kettlebell is usually a good weight for many types of exercises like the kettlebell snatch, the clean and jerk, and also swings and turkish get-ups. For a woman, the 35 lb kettlebell is a "heavy" kettlebell and is great for swings, deadlifts, suitcase carries, and farmer's walks.

Why do boxers use kettlebells? ›

Kettlebell Boxing Workout

The foundation of kettlebell training, the kettlebell swing is a dynamic hip-hinge movement. This movement is excellent for developing posterior chain power and endurance which is crucial for fighters in later rounds of a fight.

What are some disadvantages to using kettlebells? ›

Along with benefits, kettlebells have some risks. One is obvious: dropping the weight on your foot (nothing a goddess would do, but I might by accident). Other pitfalls: lifting too much too soon or lifting a kettlebell the wrong way can lead to muscle strains, rotator cuff tears, and falls.

Do kettlebell workouts increase testosterone? ›

And the kettlebell swing promotes a positive hormonal response that takes fat-burning even further. Increasing testosterone and growth hormone levels has been shown to help with fat loss. It also increases muscle mass and energy.

Should I squat with dumbbells or kettlebells? ›

Leija insists that kettlebells are the best way to light up your quads in front squats, thanks to how natural it is to hold them in a front rack. Simply standing with dumbbells or kettlebells at your chest turns on your lats and abs, but the position is easier to hold with kettlebells.

Can you build leg muscle with kettlebells? ›

You can definitely build your legs and glutes (both in terms of muscle and strength) with kettlebells. However, not in the same way that you can with barbells. This is simply because you can use much heavier loads with barbells than you can with kettlebells.

Is it better to squat deeper or heavier? ›

Given the demand on your muscles to work through a full range of motion during the deep squat, research suggests that you'll see greater increases in muscle strength and size than you would by performing shallow squats with heavier weight ( 7 ).

Do and don'ts of squats? ›

Common mistakes to avoid while doing squats
  • Never skip the warm up.
  • Initiate the movement from the hip, not the knee.
  • Knees should not cross the toe.
  • Always do a complete squat, never a partial one.
  • Avoid butt wink.
  • Don't obsess over your toes.
  • The 'always exhale on exertion' rule doesn't apply here.
Sep 15, 2020

Is it better to squat heavy or for reps? ›

One is not always better than the other; instead, it depends on what we're trying to accomplish with our squats. If we're looking for muscle growth or hypertrophy then we're better off with higher repetitions; but if we're looking for strength gain, then lower repetitions are our best bet.

How quickly do you see results from kettlebells? ›

How quickly do you see results from kettlebells? With a good diet and a sensible kettlebell training program you will start to see cardio, strength, muscle and fat loss improvements within 30 days.

How many squats should you do a day to grow glutes? ›

Here's what you need to know about your glutes and what can do to improve your squat so you can get the best booty boost from your workouts. If you're wondering how many reps of squats you should aim for in a workout, 10 to 15 reps for three to four rounds is ideal.

Will 100 squats a day do anything? ›

Doing 100 squats a day is a great way to build your leg and core strength, improve muscular endurance in your lower body, and establish a routine. It's also a good way to add movement to your day other than just walking and getting in more steps.

What will happen if I do 100 squats a day for 30 days? ›

Doing 100 squats a day for 30 days will effectively help you build your lower body and leg muscles. It is essential to do the exercise correctly. When done incorrectly, they can lead to injury and strain.

Do squats make your butt bigger? ›

Squats work all of the glute muscles in one movement. When you strategically recruit and tax these muscles, you can trigger hypertrophy (or muscle size growth). So, yes, squats can help you build bigger glutes.


1. Tempo Goblet Squats
(BoxLife Magazine)
2. Kettlebell Figure 8s
(BoxLife Magazine)
3. Kettlebell Man-Makers
(BoxLife Magazine)
4. Kettlebell Overhead Standing to Kneeling
(BoxLife Magazine)
5. Kettlebell Complex: 1-arm Kettlebell Swings + 1 Snatch + 10 Second Overhead Hold
(BoxLife Magazine)
6. Kettlebell Hang Snatch Lunge
(BoxLife Magazine)
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