All About the Kang Squat!

Named after Shin-Ho Kang, a world-renowned weightlifting coach, the kang squat is an advanced hybrid workout that combines two lower body exercises for max potential. The kang squat is a mixture of the back squat and the good morning. The exercise is extremely popular in crossfit and powerlifting circles yet virtually unheard of elsewhere due to its highly advanced nature. This complex move is used for high strength building and will take time to perfect, but is extremely worth it.

What is a Kang Squat?

To understand what exactly a kang squat is you first have to understand the two workouts that are combined in order to do it. The kang squat is a fusion of two hard hitting workouts, the back squat and the good morning. The traditional back squat is a popular strength training exercise using a barbell where the person exercising places the barbell on their shoulders and squats down. The next part of the fusion is the good morning.

A good morning is where the person exercising places a barbell on the backs of their shoulders and lowers their torso parallel to the floor, then rises up. Now that you understand the two, a kang squat is when one first does a good morning, then transitions into a back squat, and then goes back into a good morning.

How to do a Kang Squat

It’s extremely important when doing a kang squat to keep a mind-body awareness in order to avoid injury, you firstly need to have experience using the barbell. If you haven’t already, focus on practicing the two individual workouts first, the back squat and the good morning. Once you have a good form and understanding of both of these, you can then venture into doing a kang squat. Now that that’s said, let’s learn how to do the kang squat.

Firstly, rack the bar onto your upper back and hold the bar at the sides, standing with your feet at about hip-length apart. Next, ensuring that you’re keeping your back straight, bend your hips to lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor, similar to the motion you’d do when performing a deadlift. Then from this position, squat back by lowering your hips and bending your knees until your thighs are now parallel to the floor. Many people will hold this position for a few seconds, but it’s not necessary.

Now, instead of just straightening your legs out like you would come out of a regular back squat, press through the heels and extend your knees and raise your hips till your back is again parallel to the floor. Finally, get back into a standing position and repeat however many reps necessary for your workout plan.

If you are new to the Kang Squat, it would be smart to get a personal trainer to correct your form.

Kang Squat with Dumbbell

While the kang squat is typically used with a barbell, you can also do a dumbbell variation which is more beginner safe, and still beneficial. First, stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointed outwards. Next, place a dumbbell behind your neck and bend your hips, while ensuring you keep a straight spine, lower until your torso is parallel to the ground. Then, squat back until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Lastly, push through the heels and return to your original standing position and repeat as many reps as your workout plan calls for.

Kang Squat Benefits

The kang squat assists and enhances exercise and athletic performance because of the muscles it’s able to work. The kang squat highly focuses on the muscles in your posterior chain which is extremely important for preventing falling with age. Enhancing the posterior chain has also been shown to help reduce back pain.

Additionally, the kang squat can help significantly improve squat form due to its complexity and the amount of focus you have to have in order to do it safely. It can even help your form with other powerlifting moves such as deadlifts and clean and jerk movements.

Muscles Worked

The kang squat essentially requires constant tension throughout your entire body in order to complete it. The squat variation will help build the muscles of your posterior chain, and more specifically your shoulders, back, hamstrings, quads, and glutes. It also helps build core strength as at every step of the kang squat your core should be engaged.

Kang Squat Alternatives

If you’re not ready to go all out with the kang squat that’s okay, as there are many other squat variations you could do in place of it. The first alternative being the sumo squat. The sumo squat will help work the hips, inner thighs, hamstrings, glutes and calves. One of the benefits of the sumo squat is that you can do one without any added weights. Another alternative you can do in place of a kang squat is a squat jack. Squat jacks are intense and are a great cardio exercise, in addition to working your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Squat jacks are essentially a jumping squat, where you push out of your lowered squat position into a singular jumping jack, then lower back down into a squat and repeat.

Kang Squat Warm Up

In order to warm up for a kang squat so that you can safely do the hybrid variation, simply go through the movements using only your bodyweight. The exercise will get your blood pumping as well as help you perfect your form before adding the heavy weights that could lead to injury with the wrong form. Additionally, the kang squat in itself is a great warmup exercise to do before doing other squat variations because it helps to isolate your interior posterior chain.

Kang Squat vs. Good Morning Squat

A kang squat is a combination of a back squat as well as a good morning squat, so a good morning squat is simply a part of the formula of doing a kang squat. You must do a good morning squat in order to correctly complete a kang squat. A good morning squat can be done on its own, but a kang squat must include a good morning squat.

Final Thoughts

The Kang Squat is the perfect exercise to help you develop strong muscles throughout your body. Make sure you utilize a personal trainer to perfect your form and achieve the best results. Exercising regularly is a smart and healthy thing to do. Do it with others and you will have some of the best times of your life.

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