The Best Corrective Squat You’ve Never Done: Longitudinal Goblet Squat
Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D.
I spend quite a few months out of the year working with high level athletes. Unfortunately oftentimes they only have several weeks to work with me while in between teams or in the middle of seasonal transitions. While enhancing speed, power, explosiveness, and muscle mass are an important part of the training process, improving muscle function, body mechanics, and overall quality of movement, as well as injury prevention are even more vital for the athletes career.
Unfortunately time constraints and scheduling can make this process quite challenging. Besides implementing appropriate cues, instructional tips, and proper coaching techniques to help lock in their movement mechanics, I frequently like to employ exercises that literally force the lifter to perform the movement correctly. While I’ve highlighted many squatting variations over the past several years that I utilize to create this technique-optimization effect, one that I’ve recently been using with great success is something I refer to as the longitudinal goblet squat.
Simply hold the dumbbell by the end of the weight and try to keep it as parallel to the floor as possible while performing squats. Here I’m performing the bilateral eccentric isometric version while my awesome client Leslie Petch is demonstrating the more advanced single leg variation.
Besides being deceptively difficult, this is without a doubt one of the most effective squat variations I’ve ever used to help clean up squat form and improve lower body mechanics. With that said here are 10 reasons why the longitudinal goblet squat is so effective.
1. Many athletes place too much load onto the front of their feet (towards their toes) when squatting. The longitudinal goblet squat forces the lifter to sit back onto their heels or else the forward weight shift will literally cause the front end of the dumbbell to tilt in which case they’ll dump the weight.
2. Many athletes tend to bend over excessively at the spine even when performing goblet squats. Any level of excessive forward torso lean or exaggerated hip flexion will result in the athletes dumping the weight as they’ll be unable to keep the dumbbell parallel to the floor.
3. Learning to brace the core and tense the abs can do more for squat mechanics and technique than just about any other cue. Fortunately the longitudinal goblet squat forces the core to be braced more intensely than just about any squat variation I’ve ever used. Just be prepared to feel as though you’re about to get punched in the stomach when performing these as the amount of core bracing is through the roof.
4. The longitudinal goblet squat also helps eliminate shoulder rounding which is another common problem particularly on anterior loaded squats such as goblet squats and front squats. Unless the athlete packs their shoulders and tenses their lats while bracing their core, they’ll be unable to hold the weight in the longitudinal position.
5. Similar to the core bracing cue, learning to create high levels of full body tension can do wonders for your squat by producing concurrent activation potentiation and irradiation. In other words it teaches you how to stay tight ultimately resulting in greater neural drive to the working extremities including the muscles of the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
6. Few if any individuals will be able to use more than a 50 pound dumbbell when performing the longitudinal goblet squat. However, the amount of tension to both the lower and upper body is inordinately high. As a result this is perhaps the single most intense “lightly-loaded” squat variation you’ll ever perform. If you have low back issues, knee pain, or hip problems, this represents an ideal variation as it’s one of the most joint-friendly yet intense squat variations out there.
7. Because the longitudinal loading protocol creates a scenario where the dumbbell can easily tilt over and dump out of the lifters hands, it ends up eliminating any excessive momentum as it forces the lifter to squat in a slow and controlled fashion. In fact unless the athlete incorporates the eccentric isometric protocol they’ll find it quite difficult to perform these without losing control of the dumbbell.
8. While the amount of tension to the lower body is quite high especially considering how light of a load the lifter will be using, the amount of tension to the upper body particularly the upper back, biceps, shoulders, grip, and forearms is quite significant. In fact, some athletes will find that their upper body strength gives out before their legs do.
9. If in fact upper body strength is the limiting factor when performing these the longitudinal goblet squat is also very conducive for single leg squat variations ultimately resulting in the legs giving out before the upper body. Just be prepared to perform one of the most brutally challenging squat variations you’ll ever perform.
10. The longitudinal goblet squat is quite versatile. In fact it can be employed in a number of ways including as a warmup protocol to prep the body for heavier squat methods, as the main squat variation for a particular workout, or as a high intensity finisher. It’s also one that’s quite conducive for performing on days where you’re attempting to deload the spine yet create an intense full body training stimulus.
If you’re looking for a training program that teaches you how to implement unique squats into your routine check out my Complete Templates.