30+ kettlebell squat variations

30+ kettlebell squat variations you should try!

A conventional exercise with unconventional equipment. The kettlebell squat is often seen as just a goblet squat, and that’s it. If you take time to study the subject and spend time discovering all the possibilities that the kettlebell offers, you end up with 30+ weighted squat variations, and each having its own advantages.


1 kettlebell, 2 kettlebells, different grips, different positions, the combination is enormous. You need to think outside the box!


In this article, I’ll illustrate some variations from 3 categories:

  1. 1 kettlebell held with 2 hands
  2. 1 kettlebell held with 1 hand
  3. 2 kettlebells


How to address the variations

All variations have some prerequisites, like technique efficiency, like for example, how to clean the bell properly into the rack position or any other position. You can get access to great information on a lot of clean variations with the Cavemantraining Master The Kettlebell Clean, or the free kettlebell grips course which helps you understand all the grips used below.

All variations also demand a different degree of mobility. An example could be that a front rack kettlebell squat needs less mobility than an overhead kettlebell squat.

In this regard, make sure you have all the abilities required before attempting any of those variations.
Keep in mind also how to use those variations. In terms of progression, you need to choose in between complexity vs load/intensity. You need to know where you’re heading.

For adding diversity and GPP cycle, simple to complex variation progression may be suitable to add challenge and variety to the lift. Also, there is no need to increase the load as the movement get harder to do technically. So a simple pair of bells can be used for a very long time before the need for a heavier set arises.

For strength development, complex to simple variation may be more suitable. Simple means heavier, more intense. So you will progress from variation to variation in a manner that allows you to use heavier bells. The movement gets easier technically, so the weights can go up!


The 3 categories

There it is, my famous list of kettlebell squat variations. Keep in mind to choose the variation needed according to your goal and capacity (mobility/flexibility). Try them, play with them and keep the one that suits you and ditch the rest!


Category 1: 1 kettlebell held with 2 hands

  1. Goblet squat
  2. Reversed goblet squat
  3. Horn grip squat
  4. Horn, upside down, squat
  5. Open hand horn squat
  6. Crush grip squat
  7. Fireman squat
  8. Back squat


Category 2: 1 kettlebell held with 1 hand

  1. Front rack squat
  2. Bottom-up squat
  3. Open palm squat
  4. Waiter squat
  5. Fireman squat
  6. Back squat
  7. Overhead squat
  8. Overhead bottom up squat
  9. Overhead open palm squat
  10. Overhead waiter squat


Category 3: 2 kettlebells

  1. Front rack squat
  2. Front rack, interlocking, squat
  3. Front rack, stacking, squat
  4. Bottom-up squat
  5. Open palm squat
  6. Waiter squat
  7. Fireman squat
  8. Back squat
  9. Overhead squat
  10. Overhead bottom up squat
  11. Overhead open palm squat (not pictured)
  12. Overhead waiter squat (not pictured)

The variations can also go even deeper if we incorporate asymmetric load (not the same weight in each hand). I don’t recommend to go over 8kg asymmetry for safety purpose.

Also, we can even add a 4th category, uneven held squat 2 kettlebells (Left hand/Right hand). Doing this, you add up a lot more variations. Adding a lot of complexity to your lifts.

  1. Front rack/bottom up, squat
  2. Front rack/open palm, squat
  3. Front rack/waiter, squat
  4. Front rack/fireman, squat
  5. Front rack/back squat
  6. Front rack/overhead, squat
  7. Front rack/overhead bottom up, squat
  8. Front rack/overhead open palm, squat
  9. Front rack/overhead waiter, squat
  10. Overhead/bottom up, squat
  11. Overhead/open palm, squat
  12. Overhead/waiter, squat
  13. Overhead/fireman, squat
  14. Overhead/back, squat
  15. Overhead/Overhead bottom up, squat
  16. Overhead/Overhead open palm, squat
  17. Overhead/Overhead waiter, squat
  18. And the list goes on…!

We didn’t even talk about the cossack squat, split squat, staggered squat, pistol squat, … with 1 or 2 kettlebell and all grip variations!

Keep in mind

1- Think outside the box.
2- Know where you’re heading (goals).
3- Know your abilities to choose variations accordingly.

Learn more:


Written by: Jean-Robert Rioux
B.Sc. Kinesiology  CSCS CPPS-L1 CKFT-L3  CKCT-L3.1 CPT TAI
Certified Kettlebell Caveman Trainer

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