There are some people who have no trouble developing powerful legs. I’m not one of those guys. So with the volume of running I do, and the need for greater athleticism, leg training is a major priority for me.
Outside, that comes in the form of intervals (800 meter repeats are rough, but profitable) and hill repeats (again, difficult but awesome). But it doesn’t stop there.
The weight room is a major part of my routine. Bodyweight stuff is fine, as are things like yoga, pilates and other forms of training. But when it comes to building raw strength, nothing beats pushing some iron around.
So my most important workout of the week is leg day. Some of the big lifts for me: barbell squats and deadlifts.
It’s hard work, and it’s also the kind of training where form means everything. Cheating on reps is fruitless at best and injurious at worst.
But it’s that barbell back squat the gets me. I’ll be honest, my form needs work. I get plenty deep enough (past parallel), but there is still too much back recruitment going on. It’s a sure-fire way to shortchange myself on gains and, at worst, get hurt.
Enter the goblet squat.
I didn’t think much of it, mostly because the idea of squatting with anything less than a heavily loaded barbell just doesn’t seem too appealing at first glance. Go heavy or go home, right?
The beauty of the goblet squat is that it is almost rehabilitative in its form. Proper technique on this one has you keeping your back straight, and there is less of a hip-hinge curve to the lift. The load toward the front of your body emphasizes the quads. And best yet, if you go deep (I’m talking butt to ankles), there are parts of your muscles that are finally getting recruited and built up that might be missed if your barbell squats are lacking in form.
The result: A more powerful lower body on the deepest part of the lift, which will eventually allow you to improve your back squat and develop a fuller range of motion. And that translates into better athletic performance.
The exercise: Take a dumbbell or kettlebell and hold it close to your chest, hands about collarbone high. Place your feet about shoulder width apart. Keeping your back straight, squat down deep slowly. Your butt should be at least level with your upper ankles. If your mobility is good, you might even be able to come close to touching the floor. Then stand back up. Do sets of 8-10 reps, and if you want, increase weight as you go. NOTE: Your hips will not go back as far on the goblet squat as they would on a normal barbell back squat. The motion will be more straight up-and-down.
I’ve attached a video to show you how the exercise works.
So add it to your leg day. You won’t regret it.