Big compound movements like squats and bench press are a fantastic way to start your training session! The big compound movements demand the most from your body because they’re multi-joint movements that are taxing on your body. Doing these at the beginning of your workout, when you are the freshest, will allow you to be most successful.
With that said, not everyone is ready to pick up a barbell but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use compound movements in your workout routine. One of my favorite exercises for people when they are starting out is the single arm kettlebell front squat because not only is it a great exercise, but it is also an ideal teaching tool.
Mike Robertson introduced me to this exercise and I frequently use it when training my clients.
It is a progression to the goblet squat. Instead of holding the KB in the center your body with both hands, you will be holding it to one side with one hand. This targets all the same muscles as the goblet squat with the added challenge to your core because not only are you trying to squat, but your core is working to fight from lateral flexion. Since the weight is in one arm and not equally distributed, your body wants to follow the weight, meaning you have to fire your obliques to remain stable.
I will explain in detail how to do a single arm kettlebell front squat, but here are tips to remember:
- Screw your feet into the floor as if you are setting up for a normal squat
- Keep the KB up through out the whole movement
- Maintain a proper brace so that you don’t get thrown forward
- Resist lateral flexion
- Keep a neutral alignment through out
The single arm kettlebell front squat is not just for beginners, if you or your clients are doing traditional front squats at the beginning of your workout you can do these at the end of your workout to complement your main work.
I usually will pair this movement with a core exercise and I will do 3 sets of 6-10 reps per side.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!