Squatting Variations and the Benefits to Each

There are so many different types of squat variations and we are going to focus on a few today, TRX and kettlebell variations you will see and do at Studio ME.

First of all, why do you want to be able to squat?

Well, squats will make every part of your life better!!!

Squating utilizes large muscles in the body and are multi joint exercise (think knee and hip). This movement pattern is used in getting up and down off a chair, the toilet, possibly picking something up off the floor, get the picture?

Why do we teach different variations in classes at Studio ME and what are they?

Each type of squat has a different purpose. You may find that you do more of one type in class than other so let’s cover the different types of two legged squats that we teach.

Note: Be sure to start with basic squats and perfecting the movement before loading up with kettlebells. Not sure if your squat is right? Ask one of our coaches for help and attend our squat workshop. Small things that could be getting in the way of your perfect squat could be as simple as stance, or tight or weak muscles, mobility in the joint itself or flexibility of the muscle. All things which we can help you fix so you can squat properly, reap the benefits and improve your daily movements.

Here we go…

TRX Squats

I love TRX squats for many reasons.

1- Anyone can do it.

2- Unloads the knees and take some pressure off so you can still work on strengthening your quads even if you have knee injuries/pain.

3- You can get much deeper in your squat without extra load.

4- Helps you learn how to squat.

5- Improved flexibility in the ankles and hips.

TRX squats are great for beginners and those more advanced to build into your routine.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

With the Goblet Squat, a kettlebell is held against the chest with the handle just under your chin or flipped so bottom is up.   Goblet squats should be included in all programs. Here’s why:

1- They help take some of the load off the shoulders and spine (as compared to a barbell back squat)

2- With the weight distribution in front of us we can squat more naturally and get deeper.

3- We need to resist the weight pulling us forward so we sit up taller when squatting engaging more of the upper back and core muscles and is much more quad dominate.

4- Improved flexibility in the ankles and hips.

Single or Double Kettlebell Front Squat

With the Kettlebell front squat, the weight will be in a racked position and you can use a single bell or a double kettlebell to perform this exercise. Both of these have all the same benefits of the goblet squat plus more!

Single kettlebell racked front squat (in addition to the goblet squat benefits):

When you hold a kettlebell in a rack position to one side, there is a feeling of being lopsided with your balance.  This type of unilateral training forces you to engage your core, centre your body and squat with proper technique.

Allows you to identify which side is weak, then apply corrections to those weaknesses.

The double kettlebell front squat:

In addition to all the amazing benefits of the goblet squat and single arm racked squat, this is a great progression when you find that your upper body can no longer hold the weight that your lower body can handle. It’s significantly easier to hold two moderately size kettlebells than it is to hold one kettlebell. Which means you can go heavier once you’ve mastered the above.

Basic Squat using a Kettlebell

The last type of squat variation that you may do in class targets the lower body only and does not reap the benefits of the goblet squat or front squats.

With this type of squat it allows you to lift heavier since you do not need to worry about holding a weight at chest height. You will get into your squat position and keep the bell down between your legs.

If your goal is to target the lower body only or you cannot get the bells up to a racked position to safely squat, this method will be best for you. It is also a great option if you are fatigued coming off the rowing machine and feeling winded. This will be a much safer option.

A few things to consider with this type of squat, you cannot squat as deep since the kettlebell will hit the floor much quicker so you may need to stand up on boxes to obtain proper depth. Make sure there is room for the bell to go between your feet and boxes as you decend towards the ground. You want to get quads parallel to the floor to ensure you are hitting the glutes and not just the quads.

Which version is your favorite? Mine? The double kettlebell front squat. It challenges me in a whole new way and forces me to be aware of my body and movement pattern. Let me know if you want to see pics or videos of these movements.