It’s been said that human beings are creatures of habit, always following a predictable ebb and flow in life. Whether it’s watching the same television shows on a weekly basis, eating at the same restaurants or putting the left sock on before the right, we generally don’t like to stray too far from business as usual.
When it comes to our exercise routines, the script is much the same: We stick with what we’re good at and what’s easy, often performing the same mundane exercises in the same order. Is it any wonder, then, that despite all the sweat and tears — not to mention countless gym memberships — people are frustrated that they haven’t seen much progress in the gym? Whether you’re trying to shed pounds or increase strength, hitting a plateau is frustrating. But adding just a couple of new exercises to your workout can provide a spark — both physically and mentally — to your fitness efforts.
Adding just a couple of new exercises to your workout can provide a spark — both physically and mentally — to your fitness efforts.
Kettlebell Goblet Squats With Pulse
Among many trainees, what’s presumably a squat usually ends up looking like some sort of rounded-back, not-remotely-close-to-proper-depth thingamajig that’s a disaster waiting to happen.
While many trainees are quick to blame squats when their [insert body part here] hurts, Dan John, a longtime strength coach and author of the book “Never Let Go,” is quick to note that “It’s not the squats that are hurting you, it’s what you’re doing that’s hurting you.”
Goblet squats — coincidentally popularized by John — are a foolproof way to learn to squat with picture-perfect technique. And by adding a slight tweak in the form of a pulse, you can turn this simple exercise into a full-body calorie burner.
Start with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing slightly outward, while holding a kettlebell close to your chest. Squat by pushing your hips back, making sure to push your knees out — to the left and right, not forward — in line with your third toe. Keep your chest “tall” arch your lumbar spine throughout.
Once you’re at the lowest point of the squat, press the kettlebell until your arms are fully extended in front of you and hold that position for one or two seconds. That thing you feel “firing” is your core, which is working to prevent you from falling forward. You’ll feel it tomorrow.
Next, bring your arms back so that the kettlebell is touching your chest, then stand back up by firing through your heels, finishing the movement by squeezing your glutes together. Perform six to eight repetitions of the exercise.
Adapted from: ‘The Two Best Exercises You’re Not Doing‘ by Tony Gentilcore*
*Tony Gentilcore has been writing professionally since 2006. He is a regular contributor to T Nation and has also been featured in “Men’s Health Magazine.” Gentilcore is also the co-founder of Cressey Performance, located in Hudson, Mass. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Health Education from SUNY Cortland and is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.