Technique Corner: Goblet squat.

The goblet squat is an excellent exercise for a number of different reasons. It is versatile enough that it can be used safely to work at loads to help develop muscle and as part of high intensity conditioning workouts. It is typically a more comfortable and safe way to squat than conventional back squatting due to the position of the weight being in a more stable position, directly over our base of support.

So how do we perform the perfect goblet squat? To do a goblet squat you can use kettle bells or dumbbells, aside from slight changes in the grip position, the rest of the movement is similar.

1: Ideally, to start with we want to put the dumbbell/kettlebell on a bench; we want to do this with the dumbbell on one end so the handle is pointing vertically and the kettlebell resting on its base. For most people, a normal bench should be high enough, but you will have to squat down and start the exercise from near the bottom of the movement.

2: Placing our feet just wider than shoulder width apart (where you feel strong and comfortable, this will vary slightly from person to person so play with different stance widths), squat down so that the dumbbell is only a few inches in front of you.  The kettle bell handle/top of the dumbbell should be in line with collarbone. Remember to keep the back in a neutral position, bending from the knees and hips.

3: To lift the weight we need to keep the elbows locked as close to the side of the body as possible and then with the arms flexed and locked in tight to the torso (so the hands are now up by the sternum) we are in a strong position to lift the weight.

4: For a dumbbell we want to grip the weight whilst pressing our wrists together, with our palms facing upward, making a goblet with our hands (hence the name!) and then position ourselves with our palms on the dumbbell, either side of the top of the ‘T’ shape. For a kettle bell the grip will be similar except on the ‘T’ we have to grip on the ‘V’ of the handle, so we will have to angle the wrists in slightly and fully wrap our grip around the handle.

5: Once we are tight and secure with a good base and secure grip, we then simply stand up straight and take a couple of paces backwards giving us room to perform our set. When in full standing the dumbbell/kettlebell should be tight to the body, with the load going straight down through the forearms, it should not be pulling you forwards… if this is the case, get the weight closer to your body.

6: Finally, we squat… because of the position of the load on the front of the body, this should  help to counter balance us as we sit back into the squat and allow you to squat to a very good depth (to at least the thighs being parallel with the floor) with relative comfort and safety. Remember to keep the arms and weight fairly tight to the body and the back in a neutral upright position. Repeat until your set is done, then step forward and lower the weight back onto the bench… rest and go again!


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