Fix Your Goblet Squats With Reactive Neuromsucular Training
Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D.
Want to fix your squat mechanics? Try incorporating reactive neuromuscular training (RNT) into your goblet squats as demonstrated by my awesome client Matt Jordan.
The goblet squat is one of the most simple yet effective exercises for grooving proper squat technique and lower body mechanics. Unfortunately many individuals have a tendency to perform them incorrectly thereby reinforcing dysfunction and faulty activation patterns into their CNS that can negatively impact all other lower body movements. Ironically the goblet squat is frequently used as a corrective movement for the squat pattern. However, the opposite often occurs due to a variety of movement aberrations.
A very common issue many athletes including advanced lifters run into during goblet squats is neglecting to sit back into their hips and allowing excessive anterior knee drift to occur. While the goblet squat does involve a slightly more upright and quad dominant position than many other squats (due to the anterior loading protocol) it’s still just as critical that the lifter sit back into their heels, hips, and glutes. This is accomplished by incorporating a very slight hip hinge throughout without letting the chest actually tilt over.
By performing goblet squats with RNT resistance and band tension that’s attempting to drive your hips, knees, and lower body in the anterior direction you’re essentially feeding this dysfunction. As a result the lifter is required to sit back into their heels and hips to resist these forces thereby eliminating the common anterior knee drift and over-quad dominant positions.
This variation also helps eliminate the all-too-common problem of bending over at the waist excessively (i.e. chest tilting over) rather than sitting straight down. That’s because the lifter can use the band resistance to lean slightly against thereby reinforcing more vertical force vectors.
This is also an excellent variation for any individual with knee issues or low back problems as the horizontal band resistance helps alleviate pressure off both of these areas.
If an individual tends to favor one leg, this same RNT method can be used to correct this. Simply have them face laterally from the anchor point of the band so that the tension is coming from the side rather than the front. For instance if an individual leans more so into their right leg when squatting, they could set up so that the band is looped around the left side of their hip and pulling them to the right (force vector is in the right side direction). To resist being pulled excessively to their right leg (the side they tend to favor), they’ll be required to shift more tension to the left leg to create a square and symmetrical squat position.
Interesting Side Note
If you look closely in the video, you’ll notice a very slight hitch at the beginning of Matt’s squat right as he’s beginning his eccentric descent. While a portion of this is a result of resisting the anterior horizontal forces produced from the band, some of this was also a result of Matt over-hinging the hips which actually creates excessive strain on the low back and hips. This occurred largely because Matt’s primary problem in the past on squats was that he was too knee dominant and relied excessively on his quads.
As a result of addressing this compensation, he over-corrected the issue. Unfortunately this can create it’s own set of issues. However, we’ve recently addressed this subtle flaw by ingraining the notion that the hips and knees must bend simultaneously with natural not excessive hip hinge. We did this by slowing his squat down and using more controlled eccentric isometrics as well as video analysis.
So what’s the take home message? Don’t over correct a movement aberration. Correct and cue it to the point that the movement becomes optimal not extreme. Don’t correct it to the extent that you develop dysfunction and aberrations in the opposite direction of the prior flaw.
To learn more about implementing unique squats into your training routine check out my Complete Templates.