How to Do a Kang Squat for Optimal Leg Development

The Kang squat combines the good morning with the squat. 

Weightlifters consistently rely on squats to fortify their lower bodies. Research supports that squats enhance lower body stability and spur muscle growth (1). The Kang squat, an advanced iteration of the traditional squat, ingeniously merges the mechanics of a good morning with a back squat, offering the benefits of two exercises in one movement. This makes the Kang squat a favored exercise among lifters aiming to boost their performance across various weightlifting routines.

This article comprehensively examines the Kang squat, delving into the specific techniques and muscles this exercise targets. Additionally, it highlights the numerous advantages of incorporating the Kang squat into your regimen and suggests alternative exercises for lower body conditioning, ensuring you maximize the effectiveness of your workouts.

How to Do the Kang Squat

The Kang squat is a strength training compound exercise that works on lower body muscles, like the glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, adductors, and abductors. During this exercise, you use the core muscles, such as the abs and obliques, for stabilization.

Athletes today have been increasingly adopting this exercise, named after Shin-ho Kang, a world-class weightlifting coach. The Kang squat can be done with free weights like dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells.

Here Are the Steps 

We’ll use just a barbell for this guide. Pick a weight light enough to perform at least three sets of 10 reps each.

  1. Place the barbell with the appropriate weight on your shoulders and stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slightly bend your knees, keep your back straight, head forward, and chest out.
  3. To help with your balance, pull your shoulders back, brace your core, and squeeze your glutes. This is your starting position.
  4. Keep your back straight, hinge your hips, and slowly lean forward until your upper body is parallel to the floor.
  5. Pause for about 1-2 seconds in this position, then slowly lower yourself into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold that squat position for about 3-5 seconds.
  6. From this position, begin an upward movement by pushing your feet through the floor, reversing the movement back to the good morning position. Hold for about 1-2 seconds.
  7. From the good morning position, lift your upper body, returning to the starting position, making it one rep.
  8. Repeat this motion for as many reps as you desire.

Essential Safety Measures for Executing the Kang Squat

The Kang squat is an advanced and technical exercise, so here’s a list of things to keep in mind when doing this exercise to ensure safety. 

  1. Start with the transition movements without using the barbell until you’re comfortable and have the correct movements. Having a spotter will help. 
  2. Keep your back straight and your core muscles braced throughout this movement. Bracing the core muscles helps with the body’s stability and can help prevent any injuries.
  3. If you don’t feel comfortable using a barbell, you can try other free weight options, such as a dumbbell, kettlebell, or resistance bands, allowing you to use lighter loads. 
  4. Avoid performing this exercise in a rush. It’s designed to increase muscle activation and build muscular endurance. Slow the tempo of each rep and feel the tension in your targeted muscles.
  5. When starting this exercise, try it out a few times with an unweighted barbell to get the correct form first, or use your bodyweight


The Kang squat is an advanced compound exercise that builds your posterior chain muscles. This helps with balance, stability, and better body movements. Below are some benefits of this exercise.

Builds Lower Body Muscle

Performing a Kang squat builds the lower body muscles responsible for movement, balance, and explosive strength. Regularly doing this exercise strengthens these muscles, making everyday activities easier.

Develops the Posterior Chain

The posterior chain allows you to perform essential movements like running, sitting, jumping, bending, and picking up heavy objects. This exercise targets the posterior chain muscles by strengthening and developing them, making it practical for treating injuries like lower back pain, which can stem from weak posterior chain muscles (2).

Carry Over to Other Exercises

Regularly doing the Kang squat improves your form and lower body muscles. This can benefit those doing CrossFit training, such as power cleans, jerks, snatches, and other squat exercises. These are highly technical and high-intensity training routines, and the Kang squat helps you get that proper form for them.

Strengthens Your Core

Doing this exercise strengthens core muscles like the abs and obliques. When you perform Kang squats, you place these core muscles under constant tension, which induces muscle hypertrophy. Strengthening your core can also reduce the chances of injuries and improve your balance, stability, and body form.

Better Coordination

This is a 2-in-1 exercise consisting of the back squat and the good morning. Transitioning from one exercise form to another increases your awareness and body control. Following this exercise builds your mind-muscle connection, thus improving your body coordination.


The Kang squat is a highly effective and technical exercise athletes use to strengthen and develop their posterior chain muscles. It differs from all other squats because it combines two exercises (the good morning and back squats). This means more muscles are involved and strengthened, unlike regular squats, which primarily focusing on the legs. However, mixing up different exercises is a great way to avoid hitting a plateau to get the most out of your workouts. Here are some alternative exercises for building similar body muscles.

Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is a weight training exercise that works the posterior chain muscles, mainly targeting the back, glutes, and hamstrings. It uses a barbell and builds muscle mass and strength.

Reverse Hyper

Performing the reverse hyper works the glute and hamstrings. This exercise increases muscle endurance and stability. Lifters often use it to support their squat program.

Double Kettlebell Swing

This kettlebell swing variation works the posterior chain, lats, forearms, glutes, and hamstrings. During this exercise, the athlete activates and uses the core muscles for stabilization. An interesting study shows that kettlebell swings can increase strength (3).

Wrapping Up

The Kang squat is an exceptional exercise for athletes to strengthen their posterior chain muscles. Additionally, it enhances the form of technical movements found in CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting. This exercise uniquely combines two routines to engage various upper and lower body muscle groups simultaneously. Are you considering incorporating the Kang squat into your fitness regimen?

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more workout guides! 


  1. Kubo, K., Ikebukuro, T., & Yata, H. (2019). Effects of squat training with different depths on lower limb muscle volumes. European journal of applied physiology, 119(9), 1933–1942.
  2. Tataryn, N., Simas, V., Catterall, T., Furness, J., & Keogh, J. W. L. (2021). Posterior-Chain Resistance Training Compared to General Exercise and Walking Programmes for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain in the General Population: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports medicine – open, 7(1), 17.
  3. Levine, N. A., Hasan, M. B., Avalos, M. A., Lee, S., Rigby, B. R., & Kwon, Y. H. (2022). Effects of kettlebell mass on lower-body joint kinetics during a kettlebell swing exercise. Sports biomechanics, 21(9), 1032–1045.
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.