The Best Squat Variation You’ve Never Used Before

By Dr. John Rusin

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Stronger, Leaner, Healtier, FOREVER

Introducing Functional Strength Training: 
The Monthly Membership Training Solution For People Who Want To Look, Feel And Function Their Very Best, Forever.

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Here’s What You Need To Know…

1. Coaches, athletes and rehab pros need to stop force feeding the barbell squat! Not every person is going to be able to tolerate the this variations due to pain, lack of technical skill, and of course their goals not matching up to having a barbell on their backs.

2. We need to remember that the “squat” is not an exercise that requires a mandatory barbell on the back, but rather a foundational movement pattern that can be challenged out of different positions, using different tools and customized to the person, not dogmatically programmed by a narrow minded approach.

3. If you want to build muscle and develop strength while also improving your technique to dominate heavy pain-free squatting the Landmine Goblet Squat is the single most effective variation to revolutionize the way your squat looks, feels and functions.

4. Using the unique landmine setup, this squat will be a staple for those who struggle with squatting deep with a neutral spine, staying back and targeting the glutes and hamstrings during during the movement, and of course loading up a front loaded implement heavier than ever before to forge muscle and strength. Here’s how to do it:

The Landmine Goblet Squat

How To Perfectly Execute The Landmine Goblet Squat

The Landmine Goblet Squat is one hell of a pain-free squat variation for those who struggle with loading heavy with proper form, technique and stability. The only problem is getting a heavy load into the goblet position safely, which can be awkward at best and even injurious at worst.

Traditionally, you would have to squat down, grab the bar with both hands between your legs and dynamically drive the bar up changing the position of your hands quickly to get under the bar and placing it in the front loaded goblet position.

Lets be honest, not a whole lot of people using this variation are capable of an explosive landmine pull from the floor with a catch, so this struggle with the setup makes loading this otherwise game changing movement very difficult. And any time you add velocity to a heavy load out of an awkward position, the risk reward ratio simply doesn’t add up.

But luckily, here’s a novel fix that will keep you safe while moving maximal loads on the Landmine Goblet Squat. Using a plyo box and resting the loaded landmine on the box to position and stabilize from the bottom position of the squat up. Make sure that you have an ideal box height setup in order to hit the proper depth and range of motion that is one of the added advantages of using this setup, as it makes you sit back and engage your glutes and hamstrings more that stabilize the squat.

For taller people over six feet in height, the 18-inch plyo box will work well, and for shorter people, the 12-inch box would be more ideal. The ideal setup off the box will be different for everyone, but keep these two standard box heights in mind as they are most likely the ones readily at your disposal.

Proper Placement of The Feet

Another struggle people have is determining their optimal foot position for this squat variation. While the foot width and toed out position will be very similar to your normal squat stance, you also need to account for how close your feet are to the landmine setup.

Since the natural trajectory of the bar will push you back as you drop down and descent into the squat (one of this movement’s biggest advantages), you’ll have to make sure that your feet are placed far enough back so that you can sit deep into the bottom of the squat with a neutral spine and hip-centrically loaded position with the end of the barbell keeping contact with the top of your chest.

This may take a few reps to get your perfect foot position, but take the time to enhance the feel, setup and technique here so you can place your focus on driving up heavy ass weights instead of fighting your own body through less than ideal setups that lead to ugly compensations at the spine, hips and beyond.

Making A Less Than Ideal Setup Work For You

If setting yourself up with an ideal box height isn’t an option for you from an equipment restriction standpoint, simply un-rack the landmine and setup to the side a step to clear the plates upon setup.

Since you are in a front racked position with a heavy load on your chest, ensure that you move slowly and under control taking a few short steps to the side and then again re-stabilizing your hips and core before you descend into your first rep. With any movement, we must place an emphasis on proper setup, even if you are using this side step modification, as injuries tend to happen due to poor setups getting into position, not necessarily mid-rep during a well executed set.

This is the same type of setup that has been popularized on setups like the chest supported T-Bar row, and is a highly effective way to move maximal loads safely and effectively without the safety risk.

Programming The Landmine Goblet Squat

Since the new Landmine Goblet Squat setup with the box solves the setup with heavy loading problem that many of you have experienced before, programming this movement becomes very simple. Since we can now add near maximal load this setup, the programming strategies are endless and truly don’t have any restrictions.

For people who are using this squat variation to train around pain or to improve technique, you can load this movement as the primary squatting movement with strength schemes. These consist of multiple top end working sets of 4-8 repetitions hitting close to perfect form failure by the last rep.

This movement variation can also be used by strength and aesthetics athletes as a way to safely and effectively move into ultra-high muscular endurance and metabolic stress based schemes without placing the spine into a vulnerable position to lose stability and tension.

A favorite hypertrophy based programming scheme of mine is to place this movement on a tail end of a lower body emphasis day and do a continuous ramp of 10-20 reps per set with shorter rest periods between 30-45 seconds to accumulate stress in the tissues of the lower body. With this type of scheme, we can get in multiple sets in a metabolically challenging environment that will really elicit a huge pump and trigger a nice hormonal cascade for growth.

This Landmine Goblet Squat will revolutionize the way you program squatting as a coach, and can really help to enhance the “feel” of using your glutes, hamstrings and posterior chain more effectively as an athlete. Take the time to learn this movement, improve your setups and work your loads up to heavy challenging sets. Enjoy the addition of the best squat variation that you aren’t yet doing to your programming!

Dr. John Rusin

Meet Dr. John Rusin | The Strength Doc

Dr. John Rusin is an internationally recognized coach, physical therapist, speaker, and writer, whose published over 200 articles in some of the most widely regarded media outlets in the industry like Men’s FitnessTestosterone NationMountain Dog, and Muscle and Strength, to name a few.

Along with an impressive laundry list of publications, Dr. John works with some of the world’s most elite athletes, including Gold Medalist Olympians, NFL All-Pro Quarterbacks, MLB All-Star Pitchers, Professional Bodybuilders and World Class IronMan Triathletes.

He takes pride in offering uniquely customized programming to clients of all walks of life in the exact same detail and passion as the Pros! Dr. John’s 12-Week Functional Hypertrophy Training Program is now available to you.

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  1. Jeff Craft December 22, 2016 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Interesting variation. I like doing landmine work so this could be a fun experiement.

  2. Jeff Craft December 22, 2016 at 9:10 am - Reply

    And I wish I could type…

  3. howard December 28, 2016 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    It looks very much like a hack squat

  4. Peter Dorsa January 15, 2017 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Dr. John,

    Really enjoy following your posts and reading articles. The land mine goblet squat looks like good, I just added squats into my workout and will explore this variation. One climbing coach I follow recommends low rep sets 5 to 6 and only 2 to 3 sets, what are your thoughts on this?

  5. Brian Gray December 22, 2017 at 1:03 am - Reply

    Amazed to see him locking out his legs so aggressively. Would have thought that is a bit knee unfriendly.

  6. Cara June 27, 2018 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Delicious. Thank you.

  7. Mark Thompson April 5, 2019 at 3:07 am - Reply

    To be fair I like to this move with the viking attachment resting on my shoulders, makes it even better as I am not limited by how much my chest/arms can manage. Almost matching my backsquat load now.

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