Created by strength coach Dan John and named after the position in which the weight is held, the goblet squat is one of the simplest ways to learn and reinforce the basic squatting movement pattern.
It can be used as a mobility trainer, a warmup activity or as part of your workout proper. The goblet squat is so versatile that it might be the only squat you need in your workout.
The set up & execution
Similar to setting up for the kettlebell sumo deadlift, the athlete should take a comfortable stance, with feet slightly turned out.
With a dumbbell, holding it vertically by one end. Hug it tight against your chest. If you’re using a kettlebell, hold it by the horns. A medicine ball can also be used.
With your elbows pointing down and head facing forward, lower the body down and back into a squat, keeping the chest upright at all times (making sure not to fall forward or have excessive rounding the back).
Allow the elbows to brush past the insides of your knees as you descend. It’s okay to push your knees out. If your heels come off the ground at any stage, your stance is likely too narrow.
Finally, if mobility isn’t that great, squatting to the point where your elbows touch your knees if fine. In time, mobility and depth will increase.
Now, return to the standing position with a full hip extension (standing tall).
As mentioned earlier, the goblet squat is a great tool for teaching the squat in general and can be used as a mobility trainer. There isn’t a real requirement to go heavy, as higher volume sets with lighter loads will work very well.
Taking the time to master the basics
Something that has been instilled in me throughout my military career is to be “brilliant at the basics”. A great lesson that can be applied to almost all aspects of life.
The mistake most people make is that they try to move too quickly into complex movement patterns before they have mastered proper form first. Often sacrificing technique for time or load.
If you really want to optimise your overall athletic performance, take the time to master the simple patterns first, like the goblet squat. You can alway add complexity to your programming later.
The simple movements patterns can also make the some of the most demanding and challenging workouts.
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