Combining exercises allows you to get a lot of work done in a short period of time. It’s actually my favorite type of kettlebell workouts. Kettlebell exercises, in general, work many muscles all at the same time. When you combine two exercises using kettlebells, it makes it even more intense.
This is a combination exercise that my clients have a love/hate relationship with, lunge squat, lunge squat. I tried to come up with some cool name for this combo but I couldn’t think of anything “clean". I’ve been called some really bad names from the ladies in my kettlebell class for this one. Now that I think about it, it’s not just the combination exercise with which they have a love/hate relationship. It’s also me and the kettlebells. They hate that I push them so hard with the combination exercises, and that the kettlebells work them more intensely. But they absolutely love the incredible results they get from both, especially this combo exercise. They are seeing long, lean muscle tone in their legs, their hips are sliming down and their glutes are getting hard. They love it.
If you couldn’t tell from the title, the exercise goes like this. Start with a shoulder width stance and lunge forward with your right foot. Then return the right foot back to the shoulder width stance where you started. After the lunge, do a front squat. Then do another forward lunge this time with the left foot, and then squat again. That is one rep. You can blast your lower body in a hurry with this exercise. Hold the kettlebell by the horns or in the racked position. Your quads, hamstrings, hips, glutes and even your abs get worked.
To make it even better (that’s a relative term) here are two variations:
Instead of a static lunge (returning your forward foot back to the original position), you can do a walking lunge, with a squat in between each step. So, you lunge forward with the right foot and then take the left foot up to meet the right foot, and do a front squat. Repeat the sequence on the left side lunging with the left foot forward, etc. Just think of it as a walking lunge exercise with a squat between each step.
Making this a walking exercise really kicks up the cardio a notch. Like it needed that, right?
Add a BOSU ball to the mix. Performing squats on a BOSU will really wake your central nervous system up. It also works your core and stabilizer muscles a little harder. Stand with a BOSU in front of you and lunge with your right foot on top of the BOSU. Get ready because it is a very unstable surface and you will need to really keep your abs tight, so you don’t lose your balance and fall over. After the lunge, with your right foot still on top of the BOSU, take your left foot up and stand with both feet on top of the BOSU. Now do a squat. Step off of the BOSU and do the same thing on the left side. If you aren’t comfortable squatting on the BOSU, then you can just do the lunges on the BOSU and perform the front squats on the ground.
One last tip, don’t rush through this combo exercise. These are not ballistic exercises, so take your time and concentrate on proper form for each and every rep. Make sure you keep your knees over your toes on both the squat and the lunge, and lock your hips out at the end of the squat before you start the lunge. If you don’t complete the squat with your hips locking out before you lunge, you will get a scooping motion that could injure your back.
Since you are combining the lunge with the squat, you are getting in twice the work with each rep, so start slowly. Do 2-3 sets of 5 reps on each side and work your way up from there. Have fun!
Lisa Shaffer is a Certified Kettlebell Instructor based in Dallas, TX, and the author of the best selling kettlebell manual “Get in the Best Shape of Your Life". She holds kettlebell classes, workshops, and is available for one on one sessions. She specializes in kettlebell training and programs and has trained hundreds of clients throughout the US.
To learn more about No Fear Fitness and kettlebells, please visit her site: http://www.nofearfitness.com