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5 Key Reasons You Should Be Using The Goblet Squat

5 Key Reasons You Should Be Using The Goblet Squat

  1. Are you familiar with the goblet squat? 
  2. Do you incorporate the goblet squat into your strength program? 
  3. Are you finding that you’re having joint issues from the barbell squat? 
  4. Are you unclear as to whether your squat movement is optimal?

Today I want to talk about why the goblet squat movement has steadily become more and more of a staple in my own strength and conditioning toolbox. If you’re finding that you’re having some trouble with the barbell for back squats, or for front squats then you’re going to want to optimize your squat technique by adopting the goblet squat.

Why You Should Use The Goblet Squat

When looking at the barbell there can be many issues to arise when using it for the back squat, or for the front squat movement for that matter. Some of the reasons that are derived from these problems are the very reason I’ve started making the goblet squat more and more of a staple within my own strength program both for myself and my students.

1) A lack of kinesthesia

It’s not uncommon to see a lot of people butcher the barbell back squat as many casual gym goers will typically not perform a full range of motion squat (ROM). With a more novice lifter it’s harder for them to measure squat depth, technique, and just the feel of their squat technique enough before loading with the barbell. This is simply because many less experienced lifters are trying to put the cart before the horse by not having a handle on their quality squat technique in the first place.

A common issue with this is that a more inexperienced lifter has not yet developed the feel and control of proper technique, yet are quick to load up a barbell to try to squat to full depth while usually only performing a quarter squat ROM at best. This undeveloped feel, lack of awareness, and position of movement is a result of having a lack of kinesthesia. I know you’ve seen exactly what I’m talking about.

The goblet squat offers a quick fix for this because it requires you holding the weight in front of your body at your torso (chest and abdomen) while having to squat into a true depth by at least touching your elbows to the insides of your knees. There is no escaping this ROM and the control that is necessary to pull off this movement with a respectable level of quality.

2) Greater core activation

You can perform the goblet squat with either a dumbbell or a kettlebell. Since the weight is anteriorly loaded you’re going to be forced to activate and brace your core midsection in order to stabilize your spine and support the weight as you descend into the base of the squat.

This additional core activation is going to teach you how to fire off your midsection to support yourself in the movement in order to perform it with a greater ROM. As a general rule of thumb I like to allow the handles of the kettlebell, or the top end of the dumbbell to rest at the base of the palms of my hands while pinching the weight between my forearms as I squat.

3) The half your bodyweight rule

I stole this one from my friend and colleague Dr. John Rusin. The half your bodyweight rule with the goblet squat involves setting some parameters using the goblet squat in order to serve as a gauge as to when you’ll be ready for the barbell squat.

The idea is that you should be able to take half your bodyweight using a kettlebell, or dumbbell and perform 25 repetitions of the goblet squat. Once you’re able to do this with quality control you can then start loading up that barbell for some back squats.

Believe me if you think this is an easy feat and a step down from the barbell then I suggest you try it before making that assumption. This simple test will change your perception on the goblet squat in a hurry. I’ve seen this seemingly simple test humble many strong athletes.

Give it a try and get back to me with your feedback.

4) Poor shoulder and wrist mobility in the front squat

If you are suffering from poor wrist and shoulder mobility to get the barbell into the front rack to stabilize it during the front squat then you can adopt the goblet squat to get the job done.

Of course I would encourage you to fix any joint inhibition you’re dealing with so that you can move and perform lifts properly, but with the goblet squat such an inhibition isn’t going to be a forced issue in order to pull off the drill.

5) Enhanced hip, knee, and ankle mobility

Any properly executed squat can improve the mobility of your leg joints moving through your ankles, knees, and hips. However with the goblet squat you can leverage the benefit of the weight being loaded at the front of your body and close to your center mass.

By having the kettlebell, or dumbbell close to your body and being able to control it with your arms you can use the weight as sort of an anchor to assist you in prying your joints. In the goblet squat position you can gently move and shift your weight back on forth to pry your ankles, knees, and hips for a bit of passive stretch while you sit in the base of the squat.

This is particularly beneficial even if you have a relatively good squat that may just need a bit of improvement because you suffer from tightness in your ankles and hips.

Goblet Squat: The Takeaway

If you’re looking to get your body truly squat ready by optimizing and assisting your control of the squat movement then the goblet squat is going to be a solid go to for you to adopt.

Are you currently using the goblet squat in your strength training program? 

How many days a week do you practice squatting? 

Post up and share in the comments here below. 

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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