The Squat. One of the most effective & well-known ways to develop lower body musculature, strength & power. While the barbell back squat is the indisputable king of the lifts, the kettlebell goblet squat offers some unique benefits that could take you to the next level.
What makes it unique?
Unlike the traditional squat, in the goblet squat, the kettlebell is touching your sternum and resting in front of your centre of gravity (CoG). This allows for unique benefits that cannot be derived from the barbell loaded on our back or on machines such as in the hack squat. The kettlebell resting in front provides a counterbalance which allows for a far more upright posture and an easier movement for the spine. Traditional squat variations require the torso to adopt a forward leaning posture to balance the resistance over the CoG.
It’s often the smallest changes that make the biggest difference, and having an upright torso in the squat creates multiple benefits which we can explore.
Move Pattern Sequencing
Not all squats can be accomplished safely & effectively. The goblet squat offers beginner & intermediate lifters tremendous benefits, training in the correct movement patterns, particularly the tracking of the hips. The lifter must learn to move the hips down in a straight line and track the knees over the toes accurately or risk the kettlebell falling forward onto the floor.
A simple squat progression might look like this:
Air Squat –> Goblet Squat –> Back Squat
Once the lifter has learned to track their movements effectively, jumping onto a heavier loaded barbell becomes a much easier task.
It all comes down to balance. By sitting the kettlebell in front of your CoG, as long as you are holding the kettlebell, your upper back will have to work to stop your shoulders from rounding and the kettlebell from falling forward. Your core performs a similar function in that should it relax, the kettlebell will push your torso back.
Don’t believe me? Take a heavy kettlebell, set up in the goblet squat and try standing with fantastic posture for one minute.
Bang for your buck
It goes without saying that the squat is great for developing lower body musculature, but consider the goblet squat as giving an extra bang for your buck. No pain, no gain, and the goblet squat truly comes with a lil’ extra, particularly for the upper back and core.
How to Do it
Step One: The Setup
Pay attention to keeping your core tight from the moment you have the kettlebell cracked up.
- Set feet shoulder width apart, turn toes out to 30-45 degrees
- Crack the kettlebell up and hold on to it on the horns
- The kettlebell should be touching your chest
- Make a cradle with your elbows by bringing them together
- Tighten the core, retract the scapula and depress the lats
Step Two: The Squat
- Drop down as low as possible
- Focus on keeping a big chest and straight back when you track down
- Knees line over the 2nd & 3rd toe
- Keep your elbows inside your knees
- Keeping the core tight, squeeze glutes & power yourself back up
- To ensure you stand up straight, it helps to imagine being pulled up by your hair