We received a few questions regarding on how to get deeper into the kettlebell squat, over the past couple of months via our newsletter and other social media sites. Since there was so such interest, I decided to write a quick blog post about it.
The main issue seems to be that in order to get deeper into the kettlebell squat, the kettlebell needed to be used as a counter-balance. If a kettlebell was not used in the “deep” squat, the athlete tends to dip forward, onto the toes and would lose balance.
One of the phrases that our kettlebell clients hear me repeat often is:
“if you cannot do the exercise without the kettlebell (using only bodyweight) then you should not perform the exercise with the kettlebell until you “own” the bodyweight version of the exercise.”
This holds especially true with the kettlebell squat. We want to achieve a deeper, more affective kettlebell squat but not at the expense of proper bio-mechanics. The body needs to know and feel the movement that we are asking it to perform. By adding the kettlebell into the squat without first having a good basic bodyweight squat, we tend to confuse our neurological programming and are -in a way telling the body that we need this kettlebell in order to achieve a deeper squat.
My advice is to get a good foundational squat without a kettlebell and then add the kettlebell as you progress.
A great drill that we use with our members is to place a 2×4, stick or weighted plate under the forefoot when they perform their squats. This aides in the restriction that is stopping the member from going deeper into their squat. The elevated fore-foot compensates for the lack of mobility and tightness found in the hips as well as the calves. When performing the bodyweight squat in this manner the body begins to “Get It” and the reprogramming begins to take affect. By going through the repetitions, with the aid of the 2×4 under the fore-foot, the squat begins to become more effective and naturally deeper over time. Once those restrictions are removed and a kettlebell is added to the squat, we are then able to maximize the effectiveness of the kettlebell squat.
In our NTC Basic Training program we specifically focus on bodyweight corrective exercises that aid in increased mobility without adding any resistance to the training; such as a kettlebell. I feel that this type of corrective work has the best results for those wanting to remove the restrictions that may be inhibiting their progression with kettlebell training.
However, we have found that the drill featured in the tutorial below also adds benefit to the specific problem that was contained in the inquiries mentioned above.
Here is the video tutorial on how to use the elevated forefoot drill.
We hope that you found this useful and if you have any specific questions, please comment and we will do our best to assist you with your questions.