I got some really good feedback from the Front Squat blog and here’s an email that I wanted to share (dont’ worry – I got permission to share it).
But the gist of it is this, how does the Kettlebell Front Squat compare to Godzilla – which is of course the monster known as the “Barbell Back Squat.”
In it, the author, CK, had some great questions on Kettlebell Front Squats. Here they are and my answers are underneath…
“Dear Geoff: Sorry, but I guess I’m a bear of very little brain, re: this.
First, 2-handed d-bell weight never equalled b-bell weight for me. So why use k-bells to increase gross leg strength? Use a b-bell!
Me neither, but the loading is different on the body with KBs than barbell. Not only that, the way we perform the KB FSQ is all the way down, or as close as possible. Most trainees only perform half squats. So, with increased range of motion comes increased “gross leg strength.”
Second, racked k-bell squats are roughly equivalent to b-bell squats with the weight in front of the shoulders, and that *never* permitted as much weight use as did a squat with the bar across the shoulders, behind the head. Or is it different for you?
It’s different for me. If we use a KB rack, the elbows are tucked in and down close to the sides, unlike a bodybuilding type crossed-arm BB FSQ or a clean grip BB FSQ. If anything, a KB FSQ is very similar to a BB Zercher Squat. But yes, in terms of absolute load via weight on the bar on the body, back squat rules. But, as I mentioned earlier, there are many variations of the back squat, and in terms of work, it can be argued that larger ranges of motion produce more work…
For me, kbells are about repeated ballistic movement with an offset mass, as in swings and snatches. Rowing with a kbell ain’t materially different from a dbell, when I do rows. Also, I’m not sure of the benefits of windmills vs. sidebends. Sidebends place no risky stress on shoulder joints.
Yup, they are for me too – I love KB ballistics – especially the doubles. Windmills, when performed correctly are EXCELLENT shoulder exercises. They work the living daylights out of the lats, pecs, and triceps, not to mention the delts and bi’s, all of which act on the shoulder joint. Not to mention the traps – all 3 portions – upper, middle, and lower… But, they have to be performed correctly. They’re also great for strengthening the hips and hamstrings.
But as I said, I’m a bear of very little brain, and am a decrepit 67 years, to boot. Best, “CK”, Somerset, NJ
CK has been in the Iron Game a long, long time and is obviously a thinking man. He brings up excellent points that have a ton of merit.
So play around with the Kettlebell Front Squat and compare it to your barbell squats both front and back and even Zercher and compare and contrast them. See if one can benefit the other. Like I mentioned in my last post, I’m working with some – uh-oh – almost gave the exercises away – but let’s just say, I am able to compare it to my barbell FSQ and by using it, have improved my mobility – instantly…
Feel free to drop me a line and let me know about your experiences with the Kettlebell Front Squat. I can guarantee you this though, the more comfortable you are with this exercise, the better the rest of your double kettlebell work will be.