Standard squats are just fine. But sometimes, to save your back, change it out for this variation:
The goblet squat is many times called a beginner exercise, or an exercise for injured people. But given the incredible benefits, it can and should be used as a routine exercise.
The one setback? It’s hard to use heavy weights with this exercise because getting a dumbbell with over 100 pounds into a “goblet” position is hard. Here’s one way it can be done safely:
- Put the dumbbell on its side on a flat bench.
- Stand next to the bench and face the dumbbell, now go into a squat.
- Place your palms on both sides of the weights, not the handles.
- Then bring it away from the bench and toward your midsection.
- Do your exercise. When complete, go down and put the dumbbell back using the same, but reverse process.
A goblet squat will torch your midsection and core. It also loads your quads like nothing else. It’s simple to hit depth since the weight acts like a counterbalancer. It increases your upper body power while also forcing upper back extension, keeping your lower back safe. And it’s easy to stop; just let go of the weight.
2. Glute-Back Extension
Try this type of back extension to target your glutes:
This one is very underrated. Do it right and it can place a lot of tension on your glutes. The key is to extend your time under tension.
Here’s how to do it:
- Start in the hanging position with your feet close.
- To start the lift, tighten your glutes together and press your crotch into the pads.
- Drive your pelvis forward to facilitate the upward movement of your torso.
- Keep tension on your glutes the whole time.
Forget about increasing your weight and instead, slow your tempo down. You should experience a large amount of tension on your glutes. Do three sets of slow tempo reps and hold the top part of the last repetition for 30 secs. You’ll feel your abdominal muscles start burning as your glutes hit exhaustion.
3. Cat Cow Row
Swap one of your usual back exercises for this incredible exercise. It will challenge you and grow your lats along with your abdominals:
- Grip the attachment and get as far back on the bench as possible.
- Pull your upper body forward.
- Tuck your chin down and expand your spine, letting your shoulder blades elevate and spread.
- Exhaling, lift your chin and chest while leading with your elbows to bring the attachment toward your sternum.
- Pause for a brief moment before doing the next rep.
This variation is great for spinal decompression while strengthening your abs and lower back. Try throwing it into your workouts as a final move.
4. Single-Arm Cable Row with Rotation
Swap out your standard dumbbell row for this excellent exercise. It is also a spine decompresser.
- Bring your leg up for a single-arm cable row.
- Place your foot on the ground on your pulling side.
- Instead of beginning with square shoulders, rotate your body toward the pulley. Lead with your elbow and shoulder to rotate back into a square posture and pull your elbow to the side.
This variation uses lat engagement by increasing your motion while also bringing in your obliques and abdominal muscles.
5. One-Handed Swing
Still using the traditional, two kettlebell swing? Try this instead:
This pattern is called a PNF pattern. It can help your posture while giving you the benefit of cardio and abdominal gains.
PNF patterns strengthen your body using diagonal movements. These movements involve multiple joints through many planes of motion.
But why not just do the normal two-handed swing? Because it maintains your shoulders as internally rotated throughout the entire movement. This exercise does not do that.
This version lets you use the shoulder flexion by twisting the thumb of your swing arm down at the lower part of the swing, and turning your thumb up at the top section of the swing. Doing this will improve your posture, shoulder health and your strength.