There’s a good chance you’re not strong enough to Back Squat. Yet, this is the first Squat variation that many you will attempt if you haven’t already.
Maybe this is because it’s the most common Squat variation. Or maybe it’s the one variation that allows you to lift the most weight, so you gravitate toward it because it looks cool. Or you see other strong athletes doing Back Squats, so you naturally try to emulate them.
Regardless, jumping into Back Squats when you’re not strong enough or have crappy technique results in some ugly reps that will cause onlookers to cringe. In my own experience working out in big box gyms and a local YMCA, I’d wager that 9 out of 10 people have no right to do Back Squats.
But wait, aren’t Back Squats considered one of the best exercises out there? Yes, absolutely. Back Squats done right are amazing for building glute, quad, adductor, hamstring and core strength, and improving athletic performance.
However, Dr. John Rusin, strength coach, physical therapist and owner of John Rusin Fitness Systems, explains that the Back Squat is actually the second most difficult type of Squat. Why would anyone do the second most difficult version of the Squat when you’re either week or have poor technique.
So to find out if you earned the right to Back Squat, take Rusin’s Goblet Squat Challenge. Simply grab a dumbbell that’s equal to half of your body weight (a 200-pound person should use a 100-pound dumbbell) and do 25 continuous Goblet Squats. These should be quality reps to parallel without pausing. If you need help with form, check out our guide to the Goblet Squat,
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Does that sound tough? Your legs will be fried and you will be gasping for air at the end, but the point is to prove that you have the solid foundation and technique to squat with a weighted bar on your back.
Many of you will fail this test, and that’s OK. Simply try to get stronger in the Goblet Squat, Goblet Box Squat and Front Squat until you can knock out the 25 reps. It may seem tedious, but spending the time to build the strength and technique needed to complete this test will pay dividends in the long run.
If you have difficulty with your technique, check out Rusin’s six tips for correcting your squat form.