September 14, 2013


Issuing the 90-day goblet squat challenge: notes from Vancouver

ONLY in California

Seen on the air bridge: could there be any more useless, sign-of-the-times sign than this? If it is accurate, what is a rational response, I wonder—sue the Californian legislature? What were they thinking?

When Linda picks me up, we always go to one of the Earl’s chain of restaurants: great food, wine by the glass, pleasant waitresses, and a relaxed ambience.

Matt, Linda, KL

I stay on Prospect; I like this sign mostly because it reminds me of that priceless line from the moving “Flying High”: Leslie Neilson exclaiming “Nice Beaver!”

Prospect is the highest street on the mountain

The 90-day goblet squat challenge:

The challenge is to goblet squat (or some variation) for the next 90 days.

Here are some images taken at the Lynne Creek (I believe) yesterday. I realise that what I am showing here is not, strictly speaking, a goblet squat, so named because the weight, often a kettlebell, is held in the upraised palms (think heavy pewter goblet!) with the elbows locked into the ribs, but this stone was relatively heavy (about 30–35Kg, I think) and I decided to hold it the way McGlashen stones are lifted (and sometimes carried).

Starting position

First, one must ‘address’ the stone: weight evenly on both feet, and a firm grip taken. I used a hybrid clean movement to get the stone into this next position; this means a combination hip drive and, once the stone is moving, bending the arms and getting the stone into position for the squat. A breath is taken in, and:

Setting up

Down into the bottom position. I do not let my lower back round at all (you keep an extension tension in the lower back to do this, and this tension and the resulting position means that the glutes are maximally activated for the drive out of the bottom position). The only effort I feel is in the glutes.

Bottom position: note straight lower back

I have been goblet squatting with multiple sets for the last two weeks, with a minimum of 50 reps being the goal: here is a typical workout:

5 x 10 reps, 16Kg KB (day one)

3 x 10, 2 x 15, 16Kg (day 2)

1 x 20, 4 x 15, 16Kg (day 3)

5 x 10, 16Kg, (deload day); I have a light day if my hip joints feel at all sore.

Since I have some to Vancouver, I have been using river rocks and stones I found in the back yard (granite, similar to the river stones, but rougher in shape). Yesterday, in addition to doing sets of five with the stone shown above when we walked the river, I used a smaller stone to counterweight a Skandasana and a Cossack squat sequence; I will ask Mash (Matt, above) to film this next week, assuming the good weather holds.

None of these routines are taken anywhere near failure; they are more like a weighted mobility sequence. Nonetheless, this short time has put noticeable weight on my glutes. When I get access to a bar, I would love to combine these with glute-ham raises; in the meantime, I will use Speed Skater squats as a variation.

I will shoot a proper goblet squat instructional video using Linda’s heaviest KB, a 12, some time next week. Try these; they feel great in the body and are the perfect antidote to a sedentary lifestyle.

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