Sure, the squat is known in the trade as the “king of exercises”. And for good reason, too. Hitting the quads, glutes, lower back and hamstrings, the squat recruits more muscle fibres than any other classic gym movement.
But if you’ve got a bad back, the squat can be more villain than king. Enter the goblet squat. By holding the weight in front of your chest rather than racked across your upper back, you keep your torso more upright throughout the squatting movement, negating many of the back issues that plague lifters.
One downside of the goblet squat, however, is that it necessarily limits the weight you can use. But according to MH fitness advisor Cam Byrnes, you can trump this drawback by adding pulses to the movement.
HOW TO DO IT
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a kettlebell in front of your chest (you can either hold the kettlebell by the upright handles or the body of the ’bell). Push your hips back and bend your knees, lowering your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Pause at the bottom of the movement, then knock out three short, sharp pulses. Pause again, then drive back up to the start position. Keep your back straight and your core braced throughout the entire movement.
Byrnes recommends doing 4 sets of 10 reps separated by short 30-second rests to stoke a serious burn in your quads and your glutes.