The One Exercise You Should Be Doing But Probably Aren’t

There are a thousand and one different exercises that you can do—actually, probably more than that, if you really sit down and think about it.

However, complexity isn’t always better. Any exercise program will improve in direct ratio to the number of things you can keep out of it that shouldn’t be there.

The secret to a good exercise program is keeping it simple and sticking to the basics.


The Exercise You Need To Be Doing

One exercise that I am very fond of is called the goblet squat, which was invented, more or less, by my friend Dan John.

The goblet squat teaches you how to get into your hips, builds legs worthy of a rhinoceros (in terms of strength…not appearance), and can be used as a tremendous torch or blast away body fat.

It takes only one simple piece of equipment—a kettlebell or a dumbbell—and can be of benefit to both the advanced weight lifter and even the total newb.

How To Do The Goblet Squat

How to do the goblet squat is easily explained. Take a shoulder width stance and point your toes slightly out. Everybody’s squat stance is going to look somewhat different, but mostly a shoulder with stance is serviceable.

Holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your chest, the next step is to drop your butt between your legs while keeping your back flat and heels on the ground. Go only as low as you can until your heels lift or your back rounds.

Need a visual demonstration? Here’s a video:

Why I Love The Goblet Squat

1. The goblet squat loosens the hips and strengthens the knees.

It is a myth that we should not squat below parallel. There is, in fact, no better way to strengthen and mobilize the ankles, knees and hips than deep squatting.

2. The goblet squat is low impact, high benefit.

It’s a big, multi-joint movement that burns a mountain of calories, and can be easily learned by most with just five minutes of instruction. This is how exercise should be: simple.

3. The goblet squat is adjustable to all skill levels.

The only difference in the goblet squat between the first-time weight lifter and the venerable veteran is weight, and perhaps depth. Start light, find a range of motion that is a comfortable challenge form you, and slowly build your way up (and down!) from there.

Now that we have a good idea of the goblet squat, how to do it, and its primary benefits, I will leave you with a simple workout for you to try.

An Amazingly Simple Workout: Swings and Goblet Squats

This workout involves two movements: the goblet squat, which we just talked about, and the swing, which I have talked about at length a number of times on Inspiyr.

This workout demonstrates that exercise does not need to be complicated to be intense.

The premise is simple. You will start with 10 swings and 10 squats. Every time after that, you take off one rep of the squat (but keep swings the same) until you get to 10 swings and 1 goblet squat. Men should use a 16-24kg kettlebell; women an 8-16kg.

10 swings
10 goblet squats
10 swings
9 goblet squats
10 swings
8 goblet squat
10 swings
7 goblet squat
10 swings
6 goblet squats
10 swings
5 goblet squats
10 swings
4 goblet squats
10 swings
3 goblet squats
10 swings
2 goblet squats
10 swings
1 goblet squat

The Takeaway

If you want the simplest and most effective workout out there, the goblet squat is the move you need to incorporate. Happy squatting!


pat flynn - headshotPat Flynn is a fitness expert and author of Paleo Workouts for Dummies (Wiley, 2013) and Fast Diets for Dummies (Wiley, 2013). You can follow Pat at, a blog on fitness minimalism.

Photo by kimmiepievt