Squats are often touted as the king of all lifts not just for legs,doing a proper squat however for most people who step under the bar the only thing they achieve is lower back pain the next day, this doesn’t just relate to noobs who pick a bar weight way out of their league either.
The fact is most people in a weight room are terrible squatters, just take a look around the local gym next time your there.
As good as squats may be for leg development, badly executed squats can be ineffective for leg development and downright dangerous for lower backs and knees, these can become ruined very quickly.
You don’t need to stop squatting, you just need to squat better. Do yourself a favour and take a break from back squatting and try these two relatively foolproof variations of the squat, it could be the best decision you ever make in the gym this year.
Goblet squats are done with either a kettlebell or dumbbell and it is all most people need to clean up their squatting act. The anterior loading helps engage the core in such a way that allows most lifter to gain better depth than they could doing regular squats.
It also reminds them to keep an upright torso as they are likely to drop the weight if they lean forwards, the technique is pretty simple, make sure your knees touch your elbows, don’t bounce off it, just pause at the bottom then back up.
The only real issue you have with goblet squats is that as you want to use heavier weights you are then limited by your upper body strength, this is not ideal as you are squatting for your legs.
When it happens try the unique goblet dropset, start off the goblet squat for a certain number of reps, next drop the weight down as if you were going to perform swings and then continue squatting for the same number of reps. This gains the benefits of squats and also work your anterior core all whilst allowing your legs to get more of a training effect.
This isn’t a normal dropset whereby you lower the weight as it gets harder, it is what’s known as a ‘mechanical dropset whereby you switch to an easier variation as you fatigue. This is a simple yet effective way to get in lots of quality reps.
Goblet squats are great but not totally foolproof, if you struggle staying upright with kettlebells and dumbbells then landmine squats may give you better luck. Landmine squats are very similar to goblet squats as they are loaded anteriorly, but in a landmine squat the bar travels in an arc, this helps to reinforce the need to retain an upright torso because if you go forwards the bar will jam into your sternum.
Landmine squats are great for taller lifters as taller lifters have the hardest time squatting with good technique. The landmine usually cleans up the pattern quickly and cleanly.
If you do these type of squats you will notice that you can achieve great depths whilst maintaining an upright torso and with little forward knee travel like you get in a traditional squat. This variation is also great for working the quads and also for gaining a good strength training effect with much less stress on the lower back and knees.
It can also be pretty useful to perform landmine squats to a box or low bench to help you as a depth gauge to make sure you aren’t cutting squats too high, it also serves as a reminder to sit back into a squat rather than letting the hips come forwards.
Don’t be surprised if you find you can load a lot of weight onto the bar. Heavy landmine squats are a solid alternative to traditional squats for people with injuries or people looking for a higher-frequency squatting program but cannot do heavy barbell squats.
If you’ve thought about landmine squats and thought about all the other things you could do with this underappreciated tool then this one is for you, after performing the squats with perfect form then you can do a press at the end.
Adding the press can achieve a great total body workout effect and can also help individuals who struggle to bring their hips through at the top of a squat. You need to come all the way through with your hips to perform the press.
Spend a while getting the perfect squat with these variations and see your squat strength soar as well as your whole body feeling a lot better.
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