14 Kettlebell Squat Variations
This article plus ‘The Goblet Squat or rather Goblet Grip‘ will provide you with tons of information that will add a whole new dimension to your kettlebell squat training or that of your clients.
Cavemantraining has made 14 videos in which you can see 14 different grips on the kettlebell. Different grips on the kettlebell works different goals, believe it or not. Following are just a few details, not nearly enough to make you fully understand all intricacies involved, but enough to get you going.
I’ve listed all of these videos for free below, but some require you to be a free member of the Cavemantraining community, so if you’re not registered yet, do it now, or sign in. If you watch the videos, they’ll not only show you how to achieve the grips, i.e transition into them, but they’ll also show how to safely release the grips.
Without further ado, here is the amazing list of kettlebell squat variations:
Squat dead lift
The first variation demonstrated is the squat dead lift, also called a deadlift (squat style), this is performed with a hook grip. We’re showing this one first as it’s the most common variation. You can do this with one or two kettlebells, you can even do it with a stacked grip if you got big hands and a strong grip. FYI: the other deadlift variation, the conventional one, that is the hip hinge style deadlift.
Squat hang lift
This is performed the same way you do a squat dead lift, except that the weight does not return dead to the ground, thus providing constant resistance. You can do this with one or two kettlebells. Don’t confuse this with Romanian Deadlift —which btw has died ages ago, read here.
You can perform this with one or two kettlebells, with interlocking grip, racking grip or racking safety grip. One kettlebell provides imbalance, which is great to challenge stabilization more. Two kettlebells with interlocking grip is the easiest and takes away complexity, allowing you to focus on squatting heavier. The racking grip requires you to stabilize more with the shoulders and pecs, thus bringing in more complexity, which is great if you want to give the upper-body more of a workout.
Video included in the one above.
The overhead squat is great to work on shoulder stability and strength, thoracic mobility and overall stabilization. You can perform this with one or two kettlebells. If you perform it with two kettlebells, more flexibility is required. Good lat activation required to keep the arm safely tucked in the shoulder socket.
This is what I call the fireman’s squat, because I named the grip ‘fireman’s grip’, but you can also call this a kettlebell back squat. This totally moves the weight from being in the frontal plane to being at the back. Great for people having trouble staying upright in the squat, that’s if they have the flexibility and strength to do so, and have been explained to let the weight pull them slightly back to remain in upright position during the squat. You can chose to have the kettlebells hanging off or resting on the shoulders, hanging position challenges your grip more and also provides a good tricep stretch —I love free bonus stretches during training. It’s super important to get the kettlebells safely on and off your shoulders, you need to know what you’re doing. Use leg drive to get them off your back, don’t press them from that angle.
I’d almost want to call this the holy grail of kettlebell squatting due to it’s popularity, but it’s not, there are much better variations covered below. This is the popular squat grip whose name a lot of people use incorrectly, if you have not read my article on it, do it now, it’s what prompted me to put some of the squat variations together and write about them for you. The bell is resting in the palm of the hand while the handle is pointing downwards. The closer your elbows are together, the easier this grip is. Can provide a good workout for your shoulders through isometric contraction.
Goblet squat (reverse grip)
Same as the normal goblet squat but the handle is pointing up. I can’t really think of any other benefit for having the handle up rather than down, other than added complexity to get it pointing up. It’s easier to clean the kettlebell straight into goblet grip rather than reverse goblet grip.
Video included in the one above.
Crush grip squat