The kettlebell split squat is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles in the lower body, most notably, the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. It also strengthens the core muscles. If you are holding onto one or two kettlebells, it also strengthens the upper body.
One or two kettlebells should be used for this exercise. You can hold one kettlebell at your chest in a Goblet style position, you can hold one kettlebell at either side, or you can hold one or two kettlebells in the rack position by your shoulders.
In some instances, the kettlebell split squat might be too advanced for women who are just beginning to strength train. If this is the case, beginners might prefer to perform bodyweight split squats until they develop the technical ability, strength and stability to progress to the kettlebell variation. Beginners might perform 1-3 sets of 6-10 reps per leg.
The kettlebell split squat is a great option for the intermediate lifter. You can perform this exercise on its own, you can pair it with another upper body pushing or pulling exercise as part of a superset, or can you even make it part of a metabolic conditioning circuit. However, if you are planning on using heavy resistance, it should be done towards the beginning of the workout when your body is fresh. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps/leg of the kettlebell split squat.
Women who are comfortable with the kettlebell split squat can choose to perform rear foot elevated or deficit kettlebell split squats. You can also perform barbell split squats, and can add chain or band resistance to the barbell. You can perform negative kettlebell split squats where the lowering phase is increased to 3-5 seconds. This trains the muscles eccentrically. You can increase the weight/resistance for multiple sets (2-4+) of fewer repetitions (3-6).
There are many kettlebell split squat benefits. How a woman chooses to use the kettlebell split squat is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much weight is being used, the set/rep scheme used, where the exercise falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general, the kettlebell split squat can be used to do any or all of the following:
Once you mastered doing the split squat with just your bodyweight it’s time to add some load. A kettlebell is the perfect way of doing that. Now some people like to hold the kettlebell right down by their side and that’s totally fine. Other people find it gets in the way of their leg a little bit and they like to hold it in the rack position up by their shoulder. If you’re not comfortable with a kettlebell clean you can do a cheek clean? where you pick it up and keep the elbow close and roll it around your body. You will notice my wrist is nice and straight, my forearm is nice and straight. I am going to hold it in the same side as my front leg. You are welcome to hold it in the opposite side if you like, this is just what I find more comfortable. Some clients have told me that it’s harder on the same side, some say it’s easier on the same side just do whatever feels more comfortable for you.
I am going to start with my feet in line with my hips bones, I am going to step straight back, square my hips, tuck my pelvis under, and I am going to drop straight down. You are going to control that front knee don’t let it cave in. I am going to show you how it looks from the side. Railroad track steps, step straight back – it’s going to take you a little while to find out how far you step back exactly to make sure your function is vertical and that your back leg is in line with your body just play around with it a little bit. Square those hip bone, tuck that pelvis under, get nice and tall drop straight down. And that’s how you make your split squat more challenging.