Every so often, I get asked as to what the ‘best’ exercise is to do. In many of these hypothetical (or not) situations, time for exercising is in short supply. Other times, It’s just a matter of making some addition to a workout regimen already in place. This can mean that it’s possible for there to be more than one “King” depending upon your specific needs or desires. In general each royal movement will provide benefit for a majority of its subjects.
This month, the Ruler of All Gyms will be, the Goblet Squat, using a kettlebell.
Requirements: The bodyweight of one human person (self)
- One kettlebell of any challenging weight. 25lbs is a good start for most people.
Squatting is one of the fundamental patterns of movement that we need all our lives. As such, it is important to maintain the ability to squat properly and safely as we develop and age. A primary benefit of good squat form is keeping the knees and hips healthy. Even compromised joints can derive positives from a good set of squats.
The Goblet squat is a great way to add resistance AND flexibility to the body weight squat pattern. By focusing on the specific body position throughout this variation one can improve several facets of their movement competency. Much of the following comes from my Dragon Door HKC manual.
Beginning - The kettlebell is held on the sides of the handle or horns at the chest with both hands.
- Feet are a shoulder width position and the toes are slightly pointed outward.
Move A - You shall maintain a neutral head/neck/spine as you drop the hips towards the floor.
- Your knees shall track along the toes and not fall inside or in front of the feet (mirrors help)
- Your thighs should drop below parallel to the floor so long as you are able to maintain the first two requirements.
- At the bottom position, the elbows shall touch the inside of the quadriceps just above the knee.
- A pause is kept here as the mover seeks to open the hips by prying the elbows against the legs.
- The mover shall maintain a ‘lengthened’ spine, depressed scapulae, and an open or ‘proud’ chest.
Move B - Noting that the heels and big toes are firmly rooted to the ground, a grunt is expelled forcing exhalation and activating the abdominal wall as explosive force is driven through the feet.
- All segments accelerate and ascend at the same time
- I find it helpful to envision pushing the floor away rather than lifting my body.
- At the top position, the quads are tight, glutes are tight, and the abdomen is tight.
There are many benefits to be derived from this exercise. Hip mobility and a disassociation from the lower back is a good thing. Having hips which move through its designed range of motion limits the amount of wear and tear the lumbar spine has to endure This affects everything from sitting posture to a golf swing.
Carrying the kettlebell creates strength and stability in the shoulders and thoracic cage. This improves and focuses attention on posture for better performance in a variety of activities.
Quadriceps strength and power are improved from the explosive nature of the movement. This challenges the lower extremity to generate forces it may require in a host of activities from walking to running to biking.
Consider the Goblet Squat as the sole exercise of the day. The King has Spoken!!