If you’ve ever rolled out a mat in a yoga class, you know what a flow is. You stack exercises together that flow into one another, like upward-facing dog into downward-facing dog. You can apply the same logic to kettlebell workouts by combining strength exercises that train the whole body efficiently and quickly.
Eric Leija, creator of the Men’s Health Kettlehell program, suggests hanging on to a kettlebell while you flow from a jump squat to a shoulder halo. “The jump squat builds power and explosiveness in the legs,” says Leija, while the halo increases strength and mobility in the shoulders. Combining the two exercises trains nearly the entire body, burning lots of calories, but takes only a few seconds to perform, and it will tire you out fast.
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Leija also likes it as a means of teaching good squat technique. “Most people tend to bend forward too much when they squat, letting their chests collapse toward the floor,” he says. This increases the risk of injury to the lower back. “Doing a jump squat with a kettlebell in front of your body forces you to keep your torso upright,” and that trains you to squat correctly, safely, and deeply.
Jump Squat to Halo
- Step 1: Place a kettlebell on the floor and stand behind it with feet shoulder-width apart. Twist your feet into the ground so that they’re turned a few degrees outward, and you feel your glutes tighten up. Maintaining a tall, long spine from your head to your pelvis, squat down, driving your knees outward as you descend (they should stay in line with your first two toes) until you can grasp the kettlebell handle.
- Step 2: Holding the kettlebell handle overhand with both hands, draw your shoulders back and downward (think “proud chest”). Now jump up as high as you can. Land with soft knees, and then stand up, cleaning the dumbbell as you rise (flip it over in your hands so that the bottom is up).
- Step 3: Raise the weight over and behind your right shoulder. Keep your elbows as close together as you can—your left forearm should brush over the top of your head as you raise the kettlebell. Continue moving the weight around the back of your head until it’s in front of you again (a halo). Keep your core braced to prevent any bending or twisting while you do the halo. Lower the weight to the floor, and re-set for the next jump squat. After you jump, perform the halo in the opposite direction.
Use the jump squat to halo as a finisher, performing it at the end of your regular workout to burn out your legs and shoulders. Perform reps for 30 seconds and then rest 30 seconds. Repeat for 6 to 8 rounds.