Exercise of the Week: The Goblet Squat

The squat pattern is one of the basic human movements that we perform on a regular basis in every day life. Think about it, we squat to pick things up off the ground, we squat to play with our children, we squat to go to the little girl’s room. Considering we perform the squat so often in real-life, don’t you think it would make sense to train the pattern to become stronger and more efficient in it?


More often than not people are scared to put squats into their training routines. Sometimes this is because squats hurt their knees or squats hurt their back or they are scared that squats will hurt the former or the latter. However, this is typically a product of poor execution or simply performing the wrong kind of squat. Many times, changing the weight distribution will help to relieve these pains so that we’re able to take advantage of the power of the squat pattern


Enter the Goblet Squat. This where we start all our clients at TF. No matter if you’ve been training for 2 years or 2 days, we start with the Goblet Squat because it teaches important aspects of squatting:


#1. Posture


Back squatting often leads to a forward lean in the upper body. This is where a lot of back problems happen because, as soon as your upper body sags down, your back must take the weight to pull it back up. Holding a kettlebell or dumbbell on the front of your body forces you to stay upright. It’s almost automatic.


#2. Knee Position


Another issue many people have with back squat is knees going into valgus is they push back up. Sounds painful, right? Valgus simply means that the knees move inward towards each other. This is typically because of weak hip stabilizers. However, when you Goblet Squat, you want your elbows to slide inside of your knees. This allows for skin to skin contact which somehow automatically tells your body to keep the knees in place. If the knees stay still, then they don’t come together. If the knees don’t come together, the probability of knee pain decreases.


#3. Core Activation


When I say the word “core” most of you think I simply mean your abs. And you would be partly right. Your core musculature includes more than simply your abdominal muscles. It also includes your obliques (side abs), lats muscles (upper/outer back muscles), spinal erectors (tiny muscles that stabilize your spine) and glutes (butt muscles). These muscle groups should help you stabilize your core to some extent during movement. Holding a weight in front of you versus on your shoulders teaches you to turn on all those other core stabilizing muscles. This will help you maintain your posture (see #1) and take the pressure off your lower back.


Put Goblet Squats into your routine and start building the strength of the squat pattern. You’ll quickly see a carryover to the real world. Make sure to own the movement before you start to go up in weight.

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Jerry Scarlato
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Jerry Scarlato

Owner, Fitness Coach at Thrive Fitness
Jerry Scarlato is a Personal Trainer and Entrepreneur who lives in Northern Kentucky. He runs 2 businesses related to health and wellness: Thrive Fitness and Thrive Online. Jerry has been involved in the fitness for his entire adult life, including playing sports through college. Along with being an Entrepreneur, Jerry is a content creator,
Jerry Scarlato
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