Kettlebell Squat Jerks

Timesaving Exercise for Upper and Lower Body

Kettlebell Squat Jerks - Timesaving Exercise for Upper and Lower BodyBy Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM

Kettlebell Squat Jerks - Timesaving Exercise for Upper and Lower BodyThe kettlebell squat jerk is great component to add to a circuit-training program, or a timesaving exercise that can be done on its own! It’s an excellent muscle activator and metabolic stimulator for both your upper and lower body, so it maximizes muscle activation in a short time.

Why Kettlebells?

Kettlebell Squat Jerks - Timesaving Exercise for Upper and Lower BodyThis one-armed movement strongly activates your lower body, shoulders and arms (especially the triceps). It also works the back and core muscles, including the abdomen, to stabilize your body during the lifts.

Kettlebell Squat Jerks - Timesaving Exercise for Upper and Lower BodyIn addition, kettlebells will challenge your muscles while also developing balance and coordination, making them a great addition to your workout program!

Exercise: Kettlebell Squat Jerk

1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, with a kettlebell on the floor in front of you. Lift the kettlebell to the shoulder and stand in an upright position. The arm and elbow holding the kettlebell will be close to the side of the ribs in the starting position.

2. Squat down (flex your knee) until the top of the thighs are parallel to the floor. Extend the non-working arm out to the side of the body or place it on your hip to keep your balance as you squat. Keep your head up and back flat as you descend into the squat.

3. Explosively stand back up from the squat position. Keep your head forward and your eyes looking slightly upward to make sure that you do not lose your balance.

4. Instead of locking out your knees and hips when you get to the standing position, you will immediately squat down slightly, then drive with your thighs and hips upward to help push up the kettlebell to an overhead position. As the kettlebell is moving overhead, you will extend (straighten) the elbow. Try to get under the kettlebell, rather than just pressing it upwards.

5. Bring the kettlebell back to the shoulder, and then drop into the squat to start the next repetition.

6. After 12 repetitions, place the kettlebell on the floor, take it in your other hand and begin the next set with that arm.

Notes and Tips:

• 3 sets or circuits containing this exercise a should be enough.

• When performing the kettlebell squat jerk you will activate your thigh and hip muscles twice in each repetition. The first activation series will be to drive the kettlebell up from the squat. The second activation of these muscles occurs during the knee flexion and jerk to push the kettlebell overhead to finish the lift.

• The jerk part of this exercise will allow you to use more weight than if you were to simply press a weight over your head. The extra weight challenges your thighs and hips and this will accelerate the effects on your lower and upper body.

• Taking a short rest (or no rest at all) between working the left and right arms becomes brutally hard, but it will build more endurance and stamina and utilize calories more quickly than if you take a longer rest between working one side and the other.