Discover more from RowingStronger on Substack
Video Demo Reshoots: Goblet Squat and Romanian Deadlift
Two new and improved video demonstrations of technique, variations, and errors
I’ve been continuing to update my video exercise index with new demonstrations based on athlete feedback, ways that I’ve coached and used the exercises, and with the more professional surroundings of the Craftsbury gym. I’m also using many of these in the Craftsbury blogs as “Move of the Month” features, alongside more great information and topics from athletes and colleagues here in rowing, skiing, running, nutrition, and more.
One of the main things I’ve been adding in the reshoots is demonstrations of common errors. The goblet squat and Romanian deadlift (RDL) are both simpler exercises than their counterparts of the front squat and deadlift from the floor, but they are far from error-proof.
The goblet squat is the middle stage of progression between bodyweight squat and a barbell-loaded squat like the front squat. If we do this right, the technique stays approximately the same from bodyweight to goblet to front squat and all we’re doing is increasing challenge with more load and less stability. The sets and reps can be exactly the same for the appropriately challenging variation of squat.
In the updated video, I’m more careful to demonstrate the bottom position of thighs approximately parallel to the floor based on elbows contacting the knees. This has been a great cue for athletes to self-check their depth and positioning at the most challenging point of the squat exercise. If you can’t get the full depth right away, that’s okay. Work with what you have and try to increase ROM gradually. In my experience, frequent and abundant repetitions of squatting help get there faster than passive stretching. Athletes often have the flexibility or mobility to get into position when supported, but not the stability to hold and generate force from the position when unsupported or loaded.
We’ve had a few Green Racing Project athletes experience injuries (back, knee, rib) that have taken them out of barbell squatting, and the goblet squat is where we start again once they’re able to resume loading. We have dumbbells up to 50lbs in the gym, so we get the goblet squat up to that point for sets of 5-10 reps and then it’s a pretty clean transfer to a 45lb barbell and building the front squat up from there. I loaded up on error demonstrations in my updated front squat video, so I didn’t replicate all of those with the goblet squat as well, and just focused on two common ones specific to the goblet squat.
I use the Romanian deadlift (RDL) as a teaching exercise for the hip hinge, a training exercise for the posterior chain muscles of the hamstrings, glutes, and back, and often as a wholesale replacement for conventional barbell deadlifting. We’ll use a hex bar when we have one available and the athlete tolerates pulling from the floor well without back pain. I hardly ever use the conventional barbell deadlift from the floor anymore. The RDL effectively trains the hip hinge movement and the muscles of the hamstrings, glutes, and back, without the common disadvantages of the barbell deadlift from the floor with greater back stress, a harder time getting into a good bottom position to initiate the pull, and a counterproductive fixation on the amount of weight lifted.
I’ve added a lot to the error demonstrations of the RDL. It is a simpler exercise than deadlifting from the floor, but there are still small ways to improve the technique and efficacy of the movement for carryover to rowing. Some errors are more subtle than others.
Error #1: Too much non-hinge ROM, ie. continuing to bend the torso forward past the point of the hip hinge.
Error #2: Squat-down instead of hips-back hinge.
Error #3: Bar drifting away from the legs, ie. loss of lat/shoulder connection.
Error #4: Short ROM. Don’t sacrifice ROM for more reps or load.
Error #5: Tempo control, ie. 2-to-1 lowering-to-lifting ratio. I often see 1:1 or even reverse ratio of faster lowering speeds and non-accelerated lifting speeds.
Error #6: Overpulling, ie. hip/back hyperextension.
I most often use the RDL for moderate sets (3-4) of moderate reps (6-10) as an assistance exercise for the posterior chain muscles of the hamstrings, glutes, and back. In my training template, the RDL often fits on Day 1/B3 “hinge assistance.” You can do higher reps than 10, of course, but I generally find it better to stay lower and focus on smooth, powerful hinges with good lowering phase control and an accelerated lifting phase.
Thanks for reading RowingStronger on Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.