Kang Squats

By now you know that a strong runner regularly strengthens their posterior chain muscles – calf muscles, hamstrings, gluteus maximus and medius, latissimus dorsi and the erector spinae muscles – essentially all the backside muscles from your head to your heels.

A Kang Squat is a combination movement – a good morning and a squat. 

Before attempting the Kang Squat, master these exercises separately to diminish the risk of injury.  When you are ready to attempt your first Kang Squat you should try using your bodyweight or PVC pipe on your back before adding kettlebells or barbells.  When you start getting more comfortable, slowly add weight. 

Remember, mastering the movement drives the progression.

How to Perform the Kang Squat:

  1. Make sure you are standing with your feet about hip-distance apart. Since the weight is light  – bodyweight, PVC, kettlebell, or barbell – you can make small corrections with your form in the starting position. 
  2. Keep your weight in the middle of your feet to the back of your feet.
  3. With a slight bend in your knees slightly push your hips back with a flat back, and allow your torso to come forward over the course of two slow counts.  If you have the flexibility and strength, aim to get your torso parallel to the floor. If you don’t have the flexibility, stop just before the point where your back feels like it wants to round forward.
  4. From this good morning position, start to bend your knees and transition to a squat position.
  5. Keep your core engaged the entire time as you move slowly to the squat position.
  6. Keep hamstrings engaged the entire time. This could mean your squat might not be as deep.  Use a medicine ball or box for consistent squat depth.
  7. To come out of the exercise, do everything in reverse order. Press through your heels and reverse the movement – return to the good morning position with your torso nearly parallel to the floor.
  8. From here, straighten your legs to that slightly bent position in the knees and stand back up.

Try 4 to 6 reps in a very slow, controlled manner to get comfortable before considering an increase in weight.

Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.

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