Being a dad is more active than you can imagine. Fortunately, kettlebell exercises exist that can help you be the most active dad possible. Of the hundreds of kettlebell exercises available, I’ve found that THIS exercise is the most functional.
As the father of two and three year old boys (they’re only 10 months apart), I have some experience juggling tasks while having your hands full. It’s what I imagine herding cats would be like, if those cats were impatient monkeys bent on harming themselves in a million different ways.
After the few years I’ve been a dad, I couldn’t imagine not having some minimum level of fitness just to keep up. I’m not just talking about strength and endurance either; I’m talking about mobility, flexibility, reflexes, hand-eye coordination, situational awareness, and more.
Why Kettlebells Are Perfect for Dads
Being “Dad Fit” requires a lot of different attributes that kettlebell training addresses nicely. Here are 3 reasons why kettlebell training is a perfect fit for the physical requirements of being a dad. The offset weight of the kettlebell requires you to stabilize your core while balancing the weight in your grip or the palm of your hand. Babies are unwieldy little creatures that throw themselves about quite a bit. I’ve found that the Kettlebell Rack Position is a good simulation for a baby. If you want to take the balancing act to the next level, try the Palm Grip or Pistol Grip (also known as the Bottoms-Up Position) for an even greater challenge.
1) Babies Aren’t Balanced & Neither Are Kettlebells.
2) Kettlebells Require Core Stabilization & Holding a Baby for Hours Does Too.
3) Kettlebells Can Be Used for Rotational Drills & Saving Babies Requires Quick Reaching Movements.
The #1 Kettlebell Exercise for Dads: The Kettlebell Front Squat
One situation that happens over and over again as a dad (really as any parent), is holding a baby in one hand and trying to do something else with the other one. This sound simple, but there are dozens of situations every day that will require a dad to balance a baby on one side while squatting to the ground to pick something up, twisting and reaching to grab something from a shelf, or wedging your body into unorthodox positions to ensure that the baby goes to sleep or stays asleep.
I’ve found that the Kettlebell Front Squat prepares you for this situation better than anything else. This exercise involves racking a kettlebell weight on one side (your offset load similar to holding a baby on one side), stabilizing your core to compensate for the load, and squatting below parallel (similar to what you’ll be doing over and over again to pick up stuff that your baby throws on the ground).
How to Do the Kettlebell Front Squat
Step 1: Rack the kettlebell on one side. Stand with your feet slightly greater than shoulder width apart with your toes pointed slightly out. Keep your core tight, shoulders back and tucked, and spine in a neutral position.
Step 2: Push your hips behind you (imagine there is a wall about 6 inches directly behind you that you’re trying to touch with your butt). Keep your chest proud and begin descending. Imagine you’re trying to draw a line between your tail bone and your heels, then follow the line.
Step 3: Only descend as far as you can while maintaining a neutral spine and proud chest. The instant you start feeling your lumbar spine (lower back) rounding, stop. Try to get below parallel, meaning that your thighs should be below your knees at the bottom of the rep. Also, as you descend, kick out the kettlebell from the rack position by extending your upper arm away from your body. This will keep the kettlebell in the cradle of your arm.
Step 4: Ascend from the bottom of the Kettlebell Squat by reversing the motion. Again, keep your chest proud and spine neutral. Lock your knees out at the top of the rep, reset your position, and repeat.