Kettlebells have what some in the kettlebell community call a What The Hell Effect. As in you train only with kettlebells for a certain amount of time then you find increases in strength in other movements. I’m going to compare similar movements, but sometimes this happens with movements that seem unrelated to what you’re doing (like a KB Swing making your squats stronger).
The kettlebell front squat can have that affect on your barbell squats. And while you won’t be able to squat as much as you can with a barbell, you’ll find the kettlebell front squat more challenging at a lower weight. But, why is that?
The instability and placement of the weight will set your core on fire and make it work…hard. By loading the weight in the front, it works core strength and stability. I also think it’s great for helping you groove the right squat pattern. Moving straight down, and coming straight back up (that means hips and head coming straight up at the same time).
If you aren’t familiar with kettlebells the downside to this movement is that you need to know how to properly clean a pair of heavy bells (if you have plans to go heavy). But I’ve got you covered there with our upcoming 6-Week Kettlebell Challenge. (We also have spots open in our Kettlebell Fundamentals Workshop on June 8! We’ll cover swings, which is a pre-requisite for cleans.)
I do kettlebell front squats far more than any other type of squat because I find them so challenging and I also like the cleaning practice. And I also just like kettlebells! 😉 I highly recommend adding in the kettlebell front squat for 4 – 6 weeks so you can test out the WTH Effect!