- Take a normal squat stance. Feet should be roughly shoulder width and slightly externally rotated.
- Grab a KB or DB and lift it to chest height. Support the load with your forearms vertical and elbows tight to your torso to create a "shelf". If done properly, the weight should sit relatively comfortably without a need for your shoulders to do all the work.
- Now most of the load will be shifted anterior (to the front of your body). You will have to be conscious to brace your abs and maintain a neutral pelvis throughout the set in order to prevent the load from pulling you out of proper alignment.
- Initiate the eccentric with a simultaneous breaking of the hips and knees into flexion. The anterior load should counterbalance you to allow for a more upright torso. Continue the descent until you reach your terminal end point in the ROM.
- Everyone's end point will be different depending on your mobility but a good rule of thumb is that thighs should be AT LEAST parallel with the floor otherwise implement some kind of regression and/or mobility assistance. In this bottom position, the torso should be roughly at a 45º angle.
- Once the ROM is exhausted, shift into the concentric by smoothly reversing course and beginning knee/hip extension until fully erect once more.
- Low Back Pain
- Knee Pain
- Poor Thoracic Mobility
- Poor Hip Mobility
- Poor Ankle Mobility
- Weak Abs
- Weak Upper Back (Postural Muscles)
- Heel Elevated Goblet Squats
- Straddle Squats
- Bodyweight Squats
- Assisted Bodyweight Squats
- Split Squats
- DB Squats
- Barbell Front Squats
- Zercher Squats
- SSB Squats
- Barbell Back Squat
- Up to 5 sets per session
- Up to 12 sets per week
- 10-20 rep range
Applicable Intensity Techniques:
- Supersets (Performing a Quad isolation movement first then Goblet Squats second is one of my favorite supersets)
- Mechanical Drop Sets (Such as going from Heel Elevated with Quad Bias to Flat-Footed with Glute Bias)
- Load Drop Sets (These are possible but should be limited due to limiting factors other than legs)
There are a million and one things that could be said about the efficacy of goblet squats and why exactly they are so effective across just about every spectrum of training and program design.
But the best place to start is with a basic question...
What makes Goblet Squats such a universally applicable variation?
This can essentially be reduced to the 3 S's: SAFETY, SIMPLICITY and SCALABILITY.
SAFETY- The root of all exercise selection should be traceable back to risk assessment. If a movement can't be safely pushed close to failure, it may be prudent to further evaluate why it's in a hypertrophy program to begin with. Goblet squats, unlike most other squat variations, have intrinsic fault mechanisms that disallow the trainee to continue the set once form has been compromised, and "failing" is as easy as setting the load down in front of you.
SIMPLICITY- From novice to advanced, the acronym KISS should always act as your proverbial North Star, guiding you in the right direction. Many of the most effective exercises remain so from our first day in the gym until our last. Misconceptions about program design have led to assumptions that simple is somehow inferior, that more layers of intricacy is reflective of supremacy. The key to progression is, in many ways, just becoming more proficient at the basics, and Goblet squats are about as basic as it gets.
SCALABILITY- The ability to take what is safe and simple then scale it to accommodate any level or need is the hallmark of a universal movement. For efficient growth stimulus, we need locally effective reps (i.e. at least 4-5 RIR) which many squat variations fall well short of delivering before systemic limitations begin to exceed our risk tolerance. Likewise, technical complexity can be a walled-garden for hypertrophy. We should seek out exercises that minimize the learning curve so the majority of neuromuscular output can be directed towards force and tension generation rather than coordination or stability. With Goblet squats, there exists a near-perfect balance that makes the movement unrivaled in its versatility.
In isolation, these variables don't mean too much.
Combined, we can make magic.
Goblet squats are our "rabbit out of a hat".
Primary Use Case:
- Hypertrophy of the Quads and Glutes
- Refinement of Squat Pattern