The Best Crash-Proof Exercises: Double Kettlebell Front Squat
We’ve been on a roll lately talking about the development of “Crash-Proof” Strength, something unique to our systems here at Empowered Strength. If you don’t have a clue as to what we’re talking about, START HERE.
We want you to spend more days on the slopes enjoying yourself and breaking past barriers, without the worry of whether or not your body can handle it. Plus, we’re going to give you quite a few ideas on how to improve your performance once you get off the lift and attack the next run
When it comes to improving sports performance, we like to recreate the positions and forces we would experience and use during that sport. So, for snowboarders, the Double Kettlebell Front Squat is going to be your best friend.
Here’s how to do it:
Now that you can see how it’s done, it’s time to learn why it’s perfect for snowboarders:
1) Bilateral Beast
You spend the vast majority of the time with both feet strapped to your board. In exercise-speak, this is called a bilateral position and it’s the same stance you take in the Double Kettlebell Front Squat.
The stronger you are in this position, the better you will be on your board.
2) Extreme Core Strength
There’s something about having a pair of kettlebells in the rack position that is so, so much different than using a barbell. Try it! With a barbell, even in the front squat position, you can easily (or at least “easier”) place the load more or less over your center of gravity, making the movement much easier on your midsection.
However, with two kettlebells up top, especially the bigger the bells, the more the weight is displaced from your center of gravity, the more your core needs to work to maintain spinal integrity. Which makes it a huge limiting factor for increasing weight, but it makes it super freakin’ awesome for making your core unbelievably strong.
If you’re decently strong already, try this movement and see how much “heavier” it feels compared to your typical barbell movements.
3) Killer Quads
Do your quads feel like they’re melting before you get to the bottom of the slope?
That’s because your quads know they need to get stronger and they know they need to do more Double Kettlebell Front Squats. With the way the kettlebells force you to maintain a super tall stance, much of the tension is shifted away from the posterior chain (butt & hamstrings) like in a back squat, to the quadriceps muscles on the front of your body. After a few reps of this movement, you’ll feel just like you’ve been shredding non-stop for 15 plus minutes.
Which is good! Do enough of these and you’re guaranteed to add a few more quality runs to your next trip.
4) Baby got Back
Ok, ok. That was lame.
But seriously, not only will this movement give you a booty that will turn heads (whether you’re a dude or lady-dude), it’s going to make your back unstoppable. Not only is holding both of those kettlebells exceptionally challenging on your midsection, it’s just as demanding on your back muscles.
Probably the most difficult part of the movement is the “coming back up,” because there’s a natural tendency to want to pitch forward as a compensation. However, with how the bells are already positioned in front of your center of gravity, this compensation will lead to you dropping the bells from your shoulders. Preventing this requires you to squeeze, and squeeze, and squeeze with your back.
Which is also good! Because then your back will build the muscle necessary to handle a crash or two.
5) Mindset of a Monk
When you’re in the middle of a tough run down a double black diamond grade (or a blue run if you’re not the good yet), you’re going to appreciate the time you spent with Double Kettlebell Front Squats.
That’s because you learn to focus. Hard. Especially when the weights get “heavy.”
You learn to be one with the moment and to make minute corrections on the fly when they become necessary. Just like how a tiny mistake can send you careening off a random snow mound, little insufficiencies make this movement nigh-impossible.
Additionally, once you have done more than 5 repetitions, you’ll know what we mean. You gotta figure out quickly how to go Zen, find your happy place, and push forward in order to accomplish what you want.
How to Program It
The Double Kettlebell Front Squat is a very challenging movement, but surprisingly easy to program.
Perform 4-6 sets to 80% effort. That means make sure to leave a rep or two “in the tank” and not to go to failure. So, if you can only do 6 reps at a certain weight for a max attempt, only do sets of 4 reps.
Men, start with two 16kg bells. Women, start with two 8kg bells.
Once you can comfortably do sets of 6-8 reps at a certain weight, try the next size up and see how you fare. DO NOT sacrifice form for progress.
Men should strive for double 32kg. Women should strive for double 24kg.
Are you looking for a little extra help in redesigning your lifestyle? Want to get stronger safely, so that you can truly become “Crash-Proof?”
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