How to Get in Position for the Heavy Kettlebell Cup Squat

When you first start doing squats, goblet squats are easy—just grab a small kettlebell (or dumbbell). At this stage, it is light enough that you can simply bend your arms to bring the kettlebell up to chest level. But as you get stronger, it won’t work anymore. What then?

I’ll give you four different methods for setting up a heavy kettlebell in the goblet squat position, starting with the simplest.

Set it on the bench

There is no technique in this. You take a kettlebell and place it on a bench or box in front of you. The end of a bench or the corner of a drawer is ideal. (By the way, this works with dumbbells too.)

Now, with empty hands, squat down so that the kettlebell is about chest level. You can take it from here, taking your time to position your hands however you like. If you want to try holding the kettlebell upside down, gently tilt it to its side and then lift it up with your hands, grasping the round part of the kettlebell.

Pick it up and grab the handles

This method is probably the most common one you’ll see online and works great for both light and heavy bells.

After lowering the kettlebell to the ground, you will grasp the top of the handle, as if to swing. From there, you can either swing it back between your legs and then forward, or just pick it up straight off the floor – whichever way you prefer. In any case, once it has gained some momentum, it will be weightless for a fraction of a second. At this point, you simply slide your hands along the sides of the handle (the “horns” of the kettlebell, as they say).

Practice doing this with a light bell before trying it with a heavy bell, but it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Here is an example:

Heavy squats with kettlebell in the cup – 60 kg

Turn it upside down

If you change your grip on a kettlebell while it’s weightless, why limit yourself to holding it by the handles? Some people prefer to goblet squat with the kettlebell upside down, and you can do it here as well once you get the hang of it.

To do this, start with the bell handle aligned so that you can hold it with both hands facing each other. Rotate the kettlebell back, and then, while you rock it forward, release the handle and let the round part of the kettlebell drop into your cupped hands. Here is the slow-mo :

Yes. This is hard. But try with a lighter weight and you’ll find it’s not as hard as it sounds. Make sure you’re confident with your technique before trying to throw heavy enough weight to hurt you.

Clean it up and do a front squat

While the kettlebell squat is the typical introduction to the kettlebell squat for beginners, there are other ways to hold the kettlebell. One of them is the front squat, which requires you to hold the kettlebell so that it rests on your hand, forearm, and shoulder.

To achieve this, you need to learn how to take the kettlebell clean. Like the previous exercise we discussed, this one takes advantage of the weightlessness you get at the top of the swing or kettlebell row. You can either swing the kettlebell between your legs first or lift it off the floor. Either way, you bring your elbow back so you can get your hand (still holding the handle) under it. This video from Kettlebell Kings shows the clean with one arm and one arm with one kettlebell.

Once you get comfortable with this , consider cleaning two kettlebells at once and doing front squats with both, like this .


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