Struggling To Squat? Grab A KettleBell And Improve Your Technique

Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Author Paul Rose

The squat is considered one of the most essential and effective movements in resistance training, and we have all heard of the benefits you can reap from integrating squats into your training plan, including building overall strength, improving metabolism, and improving athletic performance.

So Why Do People Avoid It?

One of the most common reasons we find clients not performing the squat is because they feel pain or discomfort in their knees or back. This generally occurs as people struggle with the balance and mobility required during the squat exercise, resulting in faults such as the loss of neutral spine position, weight being shifted onto the toes, excessive knee movement and lack of squat depth. 

Squatting is a movement pattern we could do instinctively as children in one continuous fluid movement. A young baby will have almost perfect squat form, hinging at the hips, upright torso, weight in the heels, feet shoulder width apart and a neutral spine position all executed in one fluid motion, something that most adults would love to be able to replicate.

How Have We Lost This Natural Movement Pattern?

In modern western civilizations we have altered our muscle length-tension relationship through too much muscle inactivity a result of being in a seated position for most of our lives at the office, at lunch, watching TV and driving. The constant over-activity of our hip flexors can cause lumbar discomfort as we are using our back to compensate for our inactive glutes.

Furthermore, we are a society of people who hinge at the knees and back to pick stuff of the floor, lift heavy items, tie shoelaces etc. These movement flaws over time have caused us to develop a neural adaptation to improper technique, meaning excess strain on our poor knees and back.

Introducing The Goblet Squat

The renowned elite level strength and weightlifting coach Dan John popularized the goblet squat after being faced with hundreds of athletes who could not perform the squat correctly. This squat can to be used as a tool that teaches you to send your hips back, rather than moving the knees forwards or over-flexing at the spine, loading the hips efficiently without loss of balance.

The goblet squat is the ideal preconditioning exercise for the squat, as it allows you to develop proper positioning and depth as well as finding your correct squat movement pattern. The goblet squat will help you to stabilize your core and thoracic spine region as the load is being distributed properly through your body. The counterbalance of the dumbbell or kettlebell used in the goblet squat lets those who struggle with hitting proper depth and stability with a barbell gain an understanding of how the movement should feel - without the worry of falling over.

Perfecting Your Technique
  • Start with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, feet pointing forward.
  • Keep your core engaged, straight back and avoid flexing your upper back.
  • Hold the weight into your chest and just below your chin.
  • Squat down, pushing the hips down and back with the weight on your heels.
  • The range of motion achieved should be below parallel
  • Your elbows should fall directly above or inside of your knees.
  • Pushing back through the heels, power through the glutes and hips to stand back into your starting position.

If you are struggling to get a correct squatting movement pattern, or you want to improve your hip mobility, weight distribution, or posture, integrating goblet squats into your training plan could help improve your heavier lifts.

Maximize Your Results With FitnessGenes

With it being a key exercise for both muscle building and fat loss, squats are included in each of our Genetic Workout Plans. If you have already received your FitnessGenes results and want to follow a plan personalized to your DNA, take a look at our full range here: Genetic Workout Plans.

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