Only got five minutes? This one kettlebell move improves strength, balance and mobility

Grab a heavy kettlebell and get to work

Woman doing a kettlebell squat in a gym
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re short on time but want an exercise that packs a punch, you should try this clever compound move. The squat and rotated press will help you build functional strength and mobility, preparing your body for the rigors of everyday life.

It’s demonstrated here by former American footballer and certified strength and conditioning coach Clay Harbor. The move targets your legs, core, and shoulders while challenging your co-ordination and raising your heart rate.

How to do Clay Harbor’s squat and rotated press exercise

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  • Grab a heavy weight that feels challenging for you. Harbor uses a kettlebell, but a dumbbell would work as well.
  • Begin the move by doing a squat. Hinge at the hips, bend your knees, and lower your body until your hip crease is beneath your knees.
  • Push through your heels and stand up with one explosive movement. As you do this, turn to one side by twisting your torso and push the weight up and overhead.
  • Return to the central squat position then repeat the move on the other side. Remember to go slowly while you master the form.

Benefits of functional training

Strength training exercises often work muscles in isolation (think of the classic biceps curl) but our bodies are designed for far more complex multi-dimensional activities. This squat and rotational press replicates everyday movements, so your strength gains will translate to real life. So the next time you squat down to grab your shopping, then stand up and turn to put it in a high cupboard, it might feel easier.

The move also helps you maintain your mobility, which is your ability to move your joints and muscles through a wide range of motion. This particular move mobilizes your hips, knees and shoulders.

It challenges your core with some rotation work, too. Trunk rotation is one of the important functions of your core, so strengthening the muscles to do this under load could help them perform better in everyday activities.

Maddy Biddulph

Maddy Biddulph is a freelance journalist specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. With 26 years in consumer media, she has worked as a writer and editor for some of the bestselling newspapers, magazines and websites in the US and UK. 

She is also a qualified L3 personal trainer and weight loss advisor, and helps women over 40 navigate menopause by improving their physical and mental strength. At Maddy Biddulph Personal Training, she runs one-to-one and small group training for menopausal women who want to get fit to ease symptoms and feel like themselves again.