Module One:
The Kettlebell Squat & DEADLIFT CLINIC
Before we get to the nitty gritty of kettlebell training, you must first be able to squat & deadlift with good form & technique
But first you need to be able to Hip Hinge....
No one should progress to exercises like the deadlift, bent-over row or the kettlebell swing without fully understanding the hip hinge movement.
Learning how to perform hip hinge exercises correctly will radically improve your strength, performance and reduce your potential for exercise injuries.

The hip hinge is a fundamental movement pattern that is used for all deadlift based exercises.

Whenever you pick up a heavy object off of the floor you should be using the deadlift movement pattern.

The deadlift (hip hinge) movement is often mistaken for the squat movement but they are very different. The deadlift is hip dominant and the squat is more knee dominant.

Basically, the deadlift involves the hips going backwards and forwards whereas the squat sits the hips back and down. As you can see from the images below.

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How to Perform the Hip Hinge

Essentially the hip hinge involves pushing the hips backwards while keeping the back flat. The weight of the hips going backwards is counterbalanced with the upper body leaning forwards.

With the hands hanging down towards the floor, the lower you wish the hands to go the more you will have to push the hips backwards.

 

As the hips are pushed backwards the hamstrings, which are attached to the bottom of the pelvis, will be put on stretch so those with tight hamstrings may find reaching the floor with the hands challenging.

I liken this tightening of the hamstrings to pulling back an elastic band, the more you draw it back the more power its going to generate when you let it go. 

However it is important that if you feel your hamstrings at full stretch that you stop because otherwise your lower back will round and threaten the integrity of your lumbar spine.

Watch The Hip Hinge Tutorial (then practice)

Bottom line: Mastering the hip hinge will produce strong and powerful hips that are not only functional in daily life but also very important for sports.
What to do next: Practice the hip hinge, get feedback on your form & technique, record yourself on video performing a hip hinge and send it to the coach for analysis to thecoach@kebofit.com
If the coach gives the green light, continue on to deadlift & squat clinic.
The kettlebell deadlift

The Kettlebell Deadlift offers the perfect introduction into Kettlebell lifting and is the foundational movement that many of the more famous moves like the Swing and the Clean are built upon.

The Kettlebell Deadlift activates most muscles in the body and relies on the posterior chain (entire back) consisting of the Glutes, Hamstrings and Back Extensors.

The main reason for practicing this exercise before exercises like the Kettlebell Swing is because motor control, mobility and correct muscle activation must all work together in order to maximize effective movement and minimalize the risk of injury.

THE BASIC CUES OF THE DEADLIFT
  • Neutral spine (straight back) and eyes on the horizon

  • Hips should hinge vs squat

  • Lats (back) should be engaged

Reminder: the movement on the left is a squat, and the movement on the right is a hip hinge.

HOW TO PERFORM THE kettlebell deadlift
  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart

  • Toes slightly turned out

  • Bell placed between your feet or slightly behind ankles

  • Inhale through your nose

  • Hinge at the hips

  • Reach for the bell

  • Load your lats

  • Keep a neutral spine (straight back) with eyes on the horizon

  • Press through floor and stand up

  • Lower back down to ground and repeat for recommended reps

Practice Session
3 x 10-12 deadlifts
SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT

The Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift which is a highly underused but extremely important kettlebell exercise.

Very similar to the kettlebell single handed deadlift the single leg deadlift requires you to keep a very flat lower back while bending forwards from the hips.

The chest should be kept up and focus placed down at about 3 feet in front of you.

Try to avoid opening up the hips too much by keeping the rear toes pointing downwards as opposed to outwards. A good cue is to corkscrew the rear foot inwards.

The standing leg should have a slightly soft knee and not be fully locked out.

As you bend forwards only go down as far as your hamstrings will allow and don’t reach or drop your shoulder.

When your lower back starts to bend then you have reached your maximum ability.

HOW TO PERFORM THE SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT
  • Plant one foot on the ground

  • Extend one foot behind you with a straight leg (pushing through the heel)

  • Bell placement (refer to the video for the different places to place the bell)

  • Inhale through your nose

  • Hinge at the hips

  • Reach for the bell

  • Load the lats

  • Keep a neutral spine with eyes on the horizon

  • Tense the glute (bum) on the working side, press through the floor and stand back up

Coaches Note: If you are a beginner or new to the exercise, i'd recommend starting with the normal deadlift and then when you are ready to start with the single leg deadlift use your bodyweight first to learn proper alignment and balance. This is a great progression for gaining balance and strength for squats, and to improve the lunge portion of your Turkish Getup.

MUSCLES WORKED DURING DEADLIFT

Though the name may sound intimidating, the Kettlebell Deadlift focuses on the leg prime movers or larger muscles including the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves. Additionally the exercise works the lower back and also tones core and upper back.

Primary Muscles Worked:

  • Lower Back 

  • Hamstrings (back of legs)

  • Glutes (bum)

  • Quadriceps (front of leg)

Secondary Muscles Worked:

  • Calves

  • Upper back

  • Abdominals

Along with the kettlebell swing, the kettlebell squat is a huge exercise for hitting all those large muscle groups.
The squat places different demands on the body compared to the classic barbell back squat and as shown by the images the torso remains relatively upright – similar to a front squat.
Hitting these large muscle groups means a greater hormonal response along with metabolic effect.
Basically the squat is great for fat loss and strength building.
The weight can be held close to the chest in the racked, or clean position and the movement is performed by sitting back as if into a chair.
The kettlebell Squat
 
Squatting is one of our fundamental movement patterns.
Whenever you sit down or stand up you use the squatting exercise.
If you drive a car then you need to squat and twist in order to get into the car.
Think about a baby for as sec. The squat is one of the main developmental movement patterns and watching youngsters move demonstrates how beautifully we all squat at a young age.
Squatting opens and closes the joints of the ankles, knees, hips, and lower back, pumping and flushing valuable nutrients into the joints.
Regular squatting keeps the joints fresh and mobile reducing the potential for back and knee pain
Finally, you use up to 600 muscles with every squat movement you perform, that makes it perfect for fat loss and overall strength building.
how to perform a kettlebell squat

Equipment Required

 

  • Kettlebell (weight should be appropriate to ability and experience)

 

Before You Start

 

  • Ensure your training area is ‘safe’

  • Perform dynamic warm up

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Start Position/Set Up

 

  • Feet shoulder width apart

  • Hold the kettlebell by the horns at chest height

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How to Execute the Exercise

 

  • Start the movement by pushing the hips backwards

  • Create tension and pressurisation throughout the body and inhale

  • Keep the weight on your heels and the outside of the feet (imagine wearing ski boots)

  • Widen the feet if you have mobility issues - turn the feet out to approx 10 degrees

  • Open hips up and drop into a deep squat using the hip flexors to ‘pull’ you into position

  • From deep squat position drive open hips forward and push the floor away from you on the way out of position

  • Keep the back flat, chest up and look ahead of you

  • Ensure intense pressurisation is produced at the bottom of the movement (inhale) to protect the back and power out of the squat exhaling explosively

Key Coaching Points

  • It is important to note that if you do not squat deep enough (thighs at least to parallel with the floor) then you are not engaging your backside correctly.

  • Shallow squatting will only work your quads (thighs muscles) and not the largest muscles in the body your Glutes (backside)

  • If you do not want big thighs and a flat backside than squat deep!

PRACTICE SESSION
3 X 8 Kettlebell Squats
ALTERNATE SQUAT POSITIONS
KETTLEBELL THRUSTERS
AKA SQUAT & PRESS

Hold the kettlebell in both hands with the handle pointing upwards. 

As you get stronger and more comfortable with the squat movement you can add a press into the top of the exercise (see video) to increase even more muscle activation.

WATCH KETTLEBELL THRUSTER TUTORIAL
KETTLEBELL SQUAT
RACKED POSITION

Now we move on to the single handed variation of the kettlebell squat. 

I would recommend using the racked position once you have learn't how to perform the kettlebell clean.

This will create an imbalance and rotation through the body by holding the kettlebell one handed and against the chest.

The racked kettlebell squat allows great transitions from one position to the next but does mean that you will need to squat equally on both sides.

KETTLEBELL SINGLE ARM THRUSTER

Once you have mastered the racked kettlebell squat above you can add even more muscle activation and cardiovascular demands to the movement.

As you drive up from the bottom of the squat continue the momentum upwards and press the kettlebell overhead.

The thruster is a very demanding exercise so don’t progress onto this exercise until you have mastered all 3 of the squat variations above.

WHAT MUSCLES ARE WORKED DURING A SQUAT

The Kettlebell Squat focuses on the largest muscles in your body. The Quadriceps and the hamstrings. Additionally, it also works the core, glutes, and calves. It also works a ton of different stabilizer muscles that help keep the body stable throughout the movement.

PRIMARY

  • Quadriceps

  • Hamstrings

  • Glutes

  • Calves

  • Tibealis Anterior

SECONDARY

  • Abdominals

  • Forearms

  • Upper Back

  • Lower Back

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WHAT TO DO NEXT

After watching the videos and reading the technical breakdown it's all about you practice.....

 

Kettlebell training is all about practice, practice, practice. I cannot emphasise this enough.

Please note: I recommend that you spend some time practising with just bodyweight to make sure you are happy with the movement

before adding the kettlebell. Then complete the practice sessions found under each section.

The squat is quite possibility the most important exercise you will ever perform.

Complete 7 Day Practice Workouts

OK so this is important: If you have questions about anything to do with this exercise then you must ask. Fill out the contact box below and I will get back to you. 

 

Once you have practiced submit a video of you performing the squat & deadlift (from the side, as per the video below) to thecoach@kebofit.com and I will analyse it and give you feedback. Having the right technique ensures that you can perform the exercise safely and effectively. As a coach I can also pass you so that you show competency with the exercise and can feel confident that you can move onto the next exercise in the sequence.

Thanks! Message sent.

Disclaimer

No responsibility is accepted for any injury, loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of this information or reliance upon it. it is the responsibility of users to satisfy themselves as to their medical and physical condition, in respect to undertaking the exercises, information and recommendations made. Irrespective of a user's medical or physical condition, no responsibility or liability is accepted for any injury, loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of undertaking these exercises or adopting the information and recommendations.