Kettlebell Jump Squats

Kettlebell Jump Squat
KB Jump Squat. Steve Cotter/IKFF

As the name of this exercise implies, this is a kettlebell squat that involves jumping via a powerful ankle, knee, and hip extension. The jump squat is one of the most challenging anaerobic exercises you can do and is used by athletes in many sports to develop explosive, fast-twitch leg power and by kettlebell athletes to develop strength-power-endurance

The leg action in Jump Squat mimics the same leg action used in Jerk, so it is paired with Jerk training as an assistant exercise to condition and reinforce the same mechanics and build the power endurance of the lower body.


A common phrase stated about athletes across all kinds of sports is that the legs are the first things to go in an aging athlete. After many games, innings, rounds, meets or matches, the legs start to feel heavy and tired, don't snap quite as fast as before, and take longer to recover between events and plays. The same is true with Kettlebell athletes. An athlete can go only as far as his legs take him. Of all the various kettlebell exercises, there is perhaps no truer test of leg power than the Double Jerk. 

You will commonly find the kettlebell Jump Squat added to the end of a tough workout as a “finisher”. After a hard class or solo workout, a few sets of Jump Squats will squeeze out that last bit of life that may have been remaining in your legs, not to mention provide a deep burn in the lungs that leaves the fittest athletes gasping for air. 

How to Perform the Kettlebell Jump Squat

Grab a single Kettlebell by the side handles (horns) and place it behind your head with the handles behind the neck and the bell hanging down between the shoulder blades.

Elbows stay close to the sides of the head and pointing forward. Retract the shoulder blades back to form a muscular shelf-padding for the kettlebell to rest upon. You do not want to have the steel kettlebell pressing directly against the spinal vertebrae. 

From this start position, squat all the way down into  a maximal depth squat then rapidly jump us as high as you can with your feet leaving the ground.


Absorb the landing softly through the balls of the feet and immediately descend down into the low squat again. Perform each rep to maximal range up and down and with speed and control. 

Aim for 1 set of 10 the first time you try it. A more serious lifter may do 4-5 sets of 15-20 reps with a 1 minute rest between each set.

The intense anaerobic conditioning will provide a similar feeling to the wind sprints done at the end of football or basketball practice. 

Suggested breathing pattern is 2 breaths for every rep. Breath out as you squat down and breath out again at the top of the jump. 

Jump Squats are dynamic and explosive, so keep a good upright alignment of the body, landing softly with the ball of the foot in order to absorb the force of the landing smoothly. 

If you are new to Jump Squats, first try with body weight only to learn how to control the movement and land softly. Jump progressively higher as you gain confidence in controlling the landing. Then add a light Kettlebell behind your head and increase the load gradually, such as adding 2-4 kg (5-10 lbs), whenever you can get 4-5 sets of 10-15 reps completed.

A few weeks of Jump Squat training will leave your legs feeling strong, springy and powerful.

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