Kettlebell exercises – Legs

As I already mentioned, kettlebells are a great training tool. If you want to build muscle and/or lose weight some of this exercises should be included in your workout routine.

Your leg training always needs to:

  • Include unilateral exercise (performing with one leg at the time). They will point to your weak spots and help you to build symmetry.
  • Include bilateral exercises (performing with both legs at the same time). With them, you can use more weights and produce bigger stress on your body. That will lead to better adaptation.
  • Maintain a balance between all leg muscles. Don’t favor one over another. Some of the main antagonists are hamstrings – quadriceps, adductors – abductors, quadriceps – glutes, calves – tibialis.
  • Include haviers weights with fewer repetitions, and lighter weights with more repetitions.

In this article, I will show you four bilateral exercises:

  • Two knee dominant – Goblet squat and Rack squat
  • Two hip dominant – Deadlift and Good morning

 

GOBLET SQUAT

The most basic squat variation using a kettlebell. It is great for building middle back strength because it makes you stay upright by engaging your back and pushing your chest forward, otherwise, kettlebell would pull you forward.

Also, it is a great variation for increasing hip mobility by “sitting” in bottom position while holding heavier kettlebell. Of course, this should be done progressively.

Since you hold only one kettlebell with two hands in front of your chest, pressure on your shoulders and arms is not as big as in rack position.

Most used muscles – Quadriceps, glutes, hamstring, middle back, core, and forearms

 

  1. Top position – Hold your forearms close to kettlebell, elbows point straight down
  2. Top position – Head in neutral position to your body, glutes and quads locked and engaged
  3. Top position – Inhale in your lungs and belly, activate your core (imagine like you will get punched in abs and squeeze them)
  4. Movement – First break at your hips (push your hips back) than at your knees
  5. Movement – Push your knees out and screw your feet into the ground and out
  6. Bottom position – Push your chest forward and straighten your back
  7. “Sit” back and put weight on the back of your feet (you should feel tension in your glutes and hamstrings)
  8. Exhale on your way back to top position (still, hold your core activated)

 

RACK SQUAT – DOUBLE KETTLEBELL

In this variation, more pressure is applied to your shoulders and arms, so if that is your goal, using rack squat is a good idea.

Rack squats are a great exercise for getting used to pressure on your shoulders which will help you with a transition to front squats with the bar.

Also, since you are holding two kettlebells, you can use more weight than in goblet squat. Unlike in goblet squats, hand grip won’t be a limiting factor at heavier weights.

Most used muscles – Quadriceps, glutes, hamstring, middle back, core, and shoulders.

 

  1. Top position – Distribute kettlebell weight evenly across your forearm, upper arm, and shoulder.
  2. Top position – Head in neutral position to your body, glutes and quads locked and engaged
  3. Top position – Inhale in your lungs and belly, activate your core (imagine like you will get punched in abs and squeeze them)
  4. Movement – First break at your hips (push your hips back) than at your knees
  5. Movement – Push your knees out and screw your feet into the ground and out
  6. Bottom position – Push your chest forward and straighten your back
  7. “Sit” back and put weight on the back of your feet (you should feel tension in your glutes and hamstrings)
  8. Exhale on your way back to top position (still, hold your core activated)

 

KETTLEBELL DEADLIFT

Basic hip dominant exercise with a kettlebell. Great for learning hip hinge.

Deadlift with kettlebell allows you to place your center of mass over the kettlebell’s center of mass which is the safest way to learn this pattern.

This is the best basic exercise that will activate and strengthen all your posterior chain.

Most used muscles – Glutes, hamstrings, back, core, and forearms

 

  1. Bottom position – Push your chest forward and straighten your back
  2. Push your knees out during movement
  3. Head in neutral position to your body
  4. Top position –  lock your hips and squeeze your glutes.
  5. Top position – breath in,  breath out when ascending.

 

KETTLEBELL GOOD MORNING

Another basic exercise for learning hinge movement and posterior chain activation.

In this variation, a kettlebell is on your upper back which puts more pressure on your back muscles.

If you notice that your back muscles are a weak link in your deadlift or squat, this exercise is great for developing strong back.

Since the weight is at your upper back, far away from your center of mass, it is important to start with lighter weights. Slowly progress up to heavier kettlebells.

 

  1. Top position – Place Kettlebell on your upper back, not your neck.
  2. Top position –  Lock your hips and squeeze your glutes.
  3. Top position – Breath in and activate your core muscles,  breath out while ascending
  4. Push your knees out during movement
  5. Head in neutral position to your body
  6. Place your weight on the back of your feet, feel the stretch in hamstrings
  7. Bottom position – Push your chest forward and straighten your back

 

Next article: Unilateral leg exercise with kettlebells

Peace,

Your S4H