Weight Training Rules: If You Can’t Do This, Don’t Squat


Everyone knows squats are one of the 10 commandments of personal training and weight training. They’re one of the key fundamental weight lifting movements, and build strong, muscular, lean bodies for years. They can probably cure tonsillitis and do your taxes too (this is not a legitimate claim. Please consult your doctor or accountant).

But there are many different ways to squat, and the standard barbell back squat isn’t necessarily the first exercises you should do.

If you sit at a desk for a living, you probably have appalling posture. Sorry. That’s just the case.

Your hip flexors are tight from being constantly held in a shortened position.

Your upper back is rounded and your leg muscles are tight from slouching over a desk.

Your ankles are stiff.

All of these things make it difficult to barbell squat effectively and safely. Another issue is what fatigues first. The goal of a squat is to strengthen and build muscle in the legs, with a particular emphasis on the quads.

However, for many people, particularly beginners interested in weight training, the back muscles will fatigue on the back squat long before their quads have been properly trained.

How do we get around this? Well, we don’t throw out the squat, we just regress it to an exercise that lets us hit the quads properly while gradually building strength and endurance in the back.

The Goblet Squat

The goblet squat achieves all of the above. It’s a very easy and accessible exercise, all you need is one heavy dumbbell. In addition, the fact that the weight sits at the front of the body instead of the back means you won’t feel like you’re going to fall backwards as some beginners do, and it allows you to sit far deeper into a squat, which is important for fully training those muscles.

Weight Training

How Long Should You Use The Goblet Squat For whilst weight training?

The goal is to move on to barbells, so you’re not going to use this one forever, it might only take a few weeks. A good standard to aim for is 20 reps with 50% of your body weight. So an 80kg man should be able to bang out 20 reps with a 40kg dumbbell.

Obviously you have to take body fat into account, a 130kg man at 35% body fat will struggle to hit that goal. But that’s all the more reason to drop some body fat.


  • Our Locations

    Blackfriars/St.Paul's
    Evolve Gym
    Harmsworth House
    13-15 Bouverie Street
    EC4Y 8DP

    Liverpool Street
    Evolve Gym
    1-3 Cobb Street
    E1 7LB