Training the goblet squat is one of the best ways for beginners to both learn and build strength in the squat movement pattern. But how many sets and repetitions do you need to perform to get these benefits. Often times it’s lack of information that makes starting training difficult, we are here to change that.
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People of different abilities require different amounts of volume, I will be writing prescriptions based on beginners, people who have less than 6 months training experience but have developed the basic skills of squatting with good technique. Most intermediate to advanced individuals will be using landmine squats or back squats and therefore this information applies less to them.
We will be looking to perform between 3-6 sets on the goblet squat during one session. This will generate enough fatigue to create adaptation but also leaves space for another squatting primary later in the week or a secondary squatting moving within the same session. Just to confirm, sets refers to the number of working sets and does not include warm up sets performed.
Repetitions depend on the goal, are we looking to build strength or are we looking to build hypertrophy? Strength requires 1-5 repetitions whilst hypertrophy 6-20+. These are not strict rules just general guidelines. So using a mix of high repetitions and lighter weights and heavier weights and lower repetitions will be ideal. This way we will progress both strength and gain muscle mass. For beginners, doing any sort of squatting will create both adaptations, but organising it in this way can be beneficial.
Working sets are considered where the final repetitions are challenging and create fatigue, usually meaning they are between 50-100% of your 1 rep max. This just means that the set is fatiguing and difficult, but it doesn’t mean that it is maximal.
So what does this information look like in a session? Here is an example of goblet squats being the primary exercise in a full body resistance training session. This shows them being performed for four sets of ten repetitions.
A) Goblet Squat
4 x 10 @12kg
B1) DB Straight Leg Deadlift
4 x 10 @5kg
B2) DB Bench Press
4 x 12 @7.5kg
C1) Single Arm DB Press
4 x 12 @5kg
C2) 1-Arm DB Low Row
4 x 8/8 @6kg
This is a great example of a full body resistance training session with the squat as the primary exercise. I use sessions like this with clients on a daily basis and they are excellent at making people strong and building muscle when done 2-3 times a week.
Progressive overload is the principle that allows us to make long term progress through adding difficulty overtime. Progressively making the goblet squat more difficult will be crucial to seeing progress. It can be made more difficulty through adding weight, increasing the repetitions and increasing the number of sets. This can be done on a weekly and monthly basis. Eventually we will want to turn the 4 x 10 @12kg into a 6 x 12 @20kg over the course of 6 months to a year, this would be a dramatic increase in strength and the client would likely be ready to approach a more challenging squat variation, like back squats .
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.