The Top 2-3 Kettlebell Exercises for Your LEGS…?

I got an interesting email the other day from a gentleman asking how to build his legs with KBs.

He wanted to know the top 2-3 kettlebell exercises to concentrate on aesthetics.

(Let’s assume “legs” = “thighs,” or “upper legs,” and not calves - “lower legs.”)

Now, he’d bought some of my programs, but admitted that he never follows them as written because he “doesn’t have the time” and has “other interests.”

I’m not sure where to start here, since most kettlebell programs, and certainly almost all of mine “work the legs,” so let’s just… start.

[1]  If you’re not doing direct leg work, practically any kettlebell work will build your legs.

This really doesn’t need further explanation, does it?

So, start here.

Assuming this does NOT apply to you, let’s move on…

[2]  We can break leg training down into 4 categories:

  1. Quad dominant (front of legs)
  2. Hip dominant (back of legs - posterior chain)
  3. Bilateral (two legs at a time)
  4. Unilateral (one leg at a time)

Let’s take a closer look at each.

1- Quad dominant (front of legs)

We have:

[+]  Goblet Squat

[+]  Single Kettlebell Front Squat

[+]  Double Kettlebell Front Squat

[+]  Hack Squat

[+]  Pistol Squat (holding a Kettlebell)

[+]  Push Press

2- Hip dominant (back of legs - posterior chain)

[+]  Swings

[+]  Snatches

[+]  Cleans

[+]  Deadlift

[+]  Stiff Leg Deadlift

[+]  Single Leg Deadlift (and variations)

3- Bilateral (two legs at a time)

[+]  Goblet Squat

[+]  Single Kettlebell Front Squat

[+]  Double Kettlebell Front Squat

[+]  Hack Squat

[+]  Push Press

4- Unilateral (one leg at a time)

[+]  Pistol Squat (holding KB)

[+]  Lunge

[+]  Single Leg Deadlift (and variations)

[3]  Find your weakness, and work them, while maintaining your strengths

This is the lowest hanging fruit.

Examples are not having enough depth on your Squat, or not squatting often enough.

(Modern Kettlebell training is HEAVY on posterior chain work - Swings, etc. Which is a good thing…) 

So, “regress,” train the Goblet Squat, and recapture full range of motion. That extra depth will work your legs harder, providing new stimulation, and therefore muscle mass and strength.

So pick the exercises you “suck at” and do more of those. 

Keep the exercises you’re good at in your program, but use “retaining loads” - just enough work to keep what you have.

[4]  Train CONSISTENTLY

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will.

Consistency is King. 

Not Intensity.

If you want your legs to grow - to get stronger, more muscular, train them routinely.

2-3 times per week is best.

And if you want to see some definition in them, you’re going to have to consistently watch what you eat. 

Use “Supportive Nutrition” protocols instead of “dieting” to peel the fat off and show that muscle definition.

GOALS / BENCHMARKS

Here are some simple goals / benchmarks to use to help you on your quest:

[1]  Goblet Squat, ½ bodyweight x 20 reps 

[2]  Double Kettlebell Front Squat, 2x32kg x 5 sets of 10, or multiple sets of 20 (if you’re a masochist)

[3]  Lunges, ½ bodyweight x 10 each leg

[4]  Single Leg Deadlift, ½ bodyweight x 10 each leg

If you can’t do those yet, working toward them will make your legs stronger and more muscular.

And of course, you can add your own benchmarks, and scale those up or down, as needed for “intermediate” or “advanced.”

Hopefully this gives you some ideas to get you started.

If you need a training plan with a “heavy dose of legs” programmed into it so you can get stronger and more muscular…

Here’s a single kettlebell program.

And here’s a double AND single kettlebell program.

Stay Strong,

Geoff


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