Home / 7 Kettlebell Squats You Need to Know with 3 Workouts

7 Kettlebell Squats You Need to Know with 3 Workouts

By Greg Brookes
Racked Kettlebell Squat

Along with the kettlebell swing, the kettlebell squat is a huge exercise for hitting all those large muscle groups.

Hitting these large muscle groups means a greater hormonal response along with metabolic effect.

In other words, great for fat loss and strength building.

The Squat can be categorized as a pushing exercise, and so can be paired with the kettlebell swing for a dramatic effect.

Most people do not Squat well.

The ability to squat well requires adequate stability, mobility, strength and movement patterning.

Taking the time to work on these important squatting aspects will pay huge dividends for your squatting and ultimately your results.

Why you Need to 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.

As a baby 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.

muscles used during the squat
Muscles worked by the Squat

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

How to Squat with Kettlebells

In simple terms the kettlebell squat takes the bodyweight squat and loads it with a kettlebell.

It is very important to realise that squatting with a kettlebell is no better for you than squatting without a kettlebell if you cannot squat properly in the first place.

Watch this tutorial on the kettlebell squat:

Here are a few teaching points for the basic kettlebell squat movement:

  1. Start the movement by pushing the hips backwards
  2. Keep the weight on your heels and the outside of the feet
  3. Imagine you are wearing ski boots
  4. Widen the feet if you have hip mobility issues
  5. Turn the feet out to approx 10 degrees
  6. Thighs must get to at least parallel with the floor
  7. Push the floor away from you on your way up
  8. Keep the back flat, chest up and look up
  9. Breathe in, hold and descend, breathe out on the way up

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 then squat deep!

If you find that squatting nice and deep causes you problems then you can program and strengthen the movement pattern by using a resistance band.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to use a resistance band to improve your squats:

I usually recommend that you are able to perform 20 non-stop bodyweight squats before moving on to the squats with kettlebells listed below.

7 Squat Exercises with Kettlebells

Below are a selection of kettlebell squat exercises that you can practice beginning with the best squat exercises for beginners.

1. Goblet Kettlebell Squats

Kettlebell Goblet Squat Exercise
Goblet Squats with Kettlebell

The kettlebell goblet squat is the best starting point for adding load to the squat.

Hold the kettlebell upside down and by the handles.

Allow the kettlebell to rest against the chest if needed and keep the arms tucked in.

Watch a video of the kettlebell goblet squat below:

Practice: work up to 20 perfect repetitions moving smooth and steady.

2. Two Handed Kettlebell Squats

Kettlebell Two Handed Squat and Press Exercise
Two Handed Squat and Press with Kettlebell

Next a similar squat variation to the goblet squat.

Hold the kettlebell in both hands with the handle pointing upwards. You will find it easier holding the kettlebell by the body rather than by the handle in this position.

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

Watch a video of the two handed kettlebell squat below:

Practice: work up to 20 perfect repetitions before adding the press.

3. Kettlebell Rack Squats

Kettlebell Racked Squat Exercise
Kettlebell Racked Squat Exercise

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

You 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.

10 best kettlebell workouts

As the arm starts to fatigue you can always use the other arm just to steady the kettlebell and help out a little.

Watch a video of the racked kettlebell squat below:

Practice: progress to 10 repetitions on each side and 3 total sets.

4. Kettlebell Thruster or Kettlebell Squat and Press

Kettlebell Thruster Exercise
Thruster Squats with Kettlebell

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.

Watch a video of the kettlebell thruster squat and press below:

Practice: work up to 60 seconds non-stop on each side. Tough on the cardio!

Learn more: Master the kettlebell thruster exercise

5. Kettlebell Overhead Squat

Kettlebell Overhead Squat Exercise
Overhead Squat with kettlebell

Now the kettlebell squatting exercises are getting a lot more advanced.

Holding the kettlebell permanently overhead while you squat requires excellent mobility through the upper back and shoulders.

Keeping the arm over the head makes the heart work harder too as it pushes the blood uphill.

Watch a video of the overhead kettlebell squat below:

Practice: 12 well performed repetitions on each side is a great achievement.

Discover more: 7 overhead static kettlebell exercises for injury-free shoulders

6. Kettlebell Pistol Squat or Kettlebell Single Leg Squat

Kettlebell Pistol Squat Exercise
Pistol Squat with kettlebell

The most difficult of the kettlebell squat variations.

The kettlebell is held with both hands but the squat is performed on just one leg.

The kettlebell will act as a nice counterbalance during the movement but does add additional resistance to the movement.

You should practice the movement first without using a kettlebell. Using a resistance band or TRX as demonstrated earlier is a great way to build up strength and mobility in the movement.

Watch a video of the kettlebell pistol squat below:

Practice: try a strength ladder, 1 on each side, then 2 on each, then 3, 4 and 5.

Learn more: Master the kettlebell pistol squat with 5 progressions for beginners

7. Kettlebell Deck Squats

Kettlebell Deck Squat Exercise
Kettlebell Deck Squat Exercise

An advanced kettlebell squat variation that requires very good hip mobility.

The exercise is made easier with the addition of a kettlebell because it creates momentum on the way back up as the weight pulls you back onto your feet.

Take it nice and steady at first as the kettlebell can throw your weight quickly backwards.

Watch a video of the kettlebell deck squat below:

Practice: work up to 10 total repetitions.

Discover more: 7 floor based kettlebell core exercises

What about Double Kettlebell Squat Options?

Once you really start to get the hang of loading your kettlebell squats you can add in a second kettlebell.

The easiest starting point is by holding a kettlebell in each hand in the racked position against the chest.

You can even link fingers if you wish but try to keep the elbows in and upper body nice and compact.

As with all kettlebell exercises, do not overload the movement until you can perform it perfectly.

Double Kettlebell Squat for Strength
Double Kettlebell Rack Squat for Strength

3 Kettlebell Workouts using the Kettlebell Squat

Just to show you how you can incorporate the kettlebell squat into your kettlebell workouts I’ve included a few 4 minute workouts below.

The workouts last a total of 4 minutes and can be completed a total of 3 times with a 30 – 60 second rest in between.

Kettlebell Workout No. 1

  • Slingshot – clockwise x 20 reps
  • Goblet Squat – 10 reps
  • Slingshot – anti-clockwise x 20 reps
  • Goblet Squat – 10 reps
  • Halo – clockwise x 10 reps
  • Single Arm Deadlift – left x 15 reps
  • Halo – anti-clockwise x 10 reps
  • Single Arm Deadlift – right x 15 reps

Watch this 4 minute kettlebell workout no. 1 below:


Kettlebell Workout No. 2

  • Two Handed Swing  x 15 reps
  • Goblet Squat  x 10 reps
  • Slingshot – changing every 5 x 20 reps
  • Two Handed Swing  x 15 reps
  • Goblet Squat  x 10 reps
  • Halo – alternating x 10 reps
  • Two Handed Swing  x 15 reps
  • Goblet Squat x 10 reps

Watch this 4 minute kettlebell workout no 2. below:


Kettlebell Workout No. 3

  • Single Handed Swing – left  x 15 reps
  • Single Handed Swing – right  x 15 reps
  • Reverse Lunge – left x 10 reps
  • Reverse Lunge – right x 10 reps
  • Racked Squat – left x 10 reps
  • Racked Squat – right x 10 reps
  • Sit and Press  x 10 reps

Watch this 4 minute kettlebell workout no. 3 below:



The kettlebell squat is one of the most important kettlebell exercises that you need to use.

Squatting with a kettlebell helps to improve your joint health, uses 100’s of muscles in one movement, is very cardiovascular and is a great fat burning movement.

Ensure that you are great at squatting without a kettlebell before loading the movement pattern. You can use a resistance band to help improve your squatting skills and strength.

Once you can squat well you can use one or two kettlebells and also nicely transition from one exercise to the next without putting the kettlebell down. Great for keeping your heart rate elevated.

Take your time, progress carefully and logically and the rewards will be well worth the effort.

You can use my follow along workouts above to help understand how the kettlebell squat fits beautifully into your workouts.

To see more posts about knee bend workouts, go here.

10 best kettlebell workouts


Are kettlebells good for squats?

The kettlebell is excellent for squats due to its unique holding positions. Squatting with a kettlebell helps to improve your joint health, uses 100’s of muscles in one movement, is very cardiovascular and is a great fat burning movement.

What weight kettlebell should I use for squats?

Everyone is different, begin with only your bodyweight to master the technique first then start to add weight using the goblet squat.

What do kettlebell squats do?

The kettlebell squat is a huge exercise for hitting all those large muscle groups. Squatting is one of the most fundamental movement patterns that you shoulder master. It improves your muscle mass, mobility and strength.

Let's Get Started

Join over 65,000 subscribers and get the best kettlebell workouts developed after teaching over 1000 classes!
    Related Posts
    View More


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    1. Jo Horton Avatar
      Jo Horton

      Love these 4 min sets!

    2. Debbie Avatar

      I am quite new to this and just started your 4min workouts. How long do i need to each one before i move on to your next 4min video many thanks debbie

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Hello Debbie, when you can perform 3 x 4 min circuits with a 60 second rest in between you can progress to the next workout the following day.

    3. Neil Avatar

      Regardless of the type of squat I do, whether loaded or bodyweight, if I go lower than knees I get really bad hamstring or glute pain the following days. Any ideas why? I ‘m tall with long legs.

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Hi Neil, when you say hamstring and glute pain do you mean muscle soreness? Deep squats will activate the Glutes and Hamstrings heavily and that’s why you’ll get the soreness. If the pain is only soreness then I would practice without a kettlebell for a while to develop some condition first. Tall people have longer limbs and therefore are at a disadvantage for squatting and deadlifting so you’ll never become a world champ but for lighter loads you should be OK.

    4. Ayub Avatar

      Just started the routine. What a great workout thanks to your video to get the technique right

    5. Nic Avatar

      Thank you! I’ve been trying for years to squat and never quite got it….but just by loading the heels I am now able to fully squat to the floor! Yay

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Brilliant…well done Nic