Can You Pass This Squat Test?
By Mackennon Klink, BS, CSCS, PN1
Ahhh, the back squat; the king of all compound exercises. There’s a certain aura that surrounds this exercise. The barbell back squat is the kind of exercise that people naturally gravitate towards. However, individuals need to master the squat movement basics prior to attempting this more advanced exercise.
In short, you have you earn the right to barbell back squat.
Truth is, the majority of individuals need to actively demonstrate and display the ability to maintain the muscular tension and stability throughout their whole body. Too often individuals begin with the more advanced barbell back squat before locking in these abilities and skills. This is why we need to have a proper level of progression.
Don’t allow your ego to dictate your training, rather allow your movement quality, form, and technique to dictate your exercise selection
As a coach, I have my clients do the following squat test prior to progressing to the advanced barbell back squat. I “borrowed” (ok fine. I stole it) this test from Dr. John Rusin, who you should absolutely check out. For this squat test, you’ll need to do 25 consecutives, unbroken reps with 50% of your bodyweight in your hands with proper form, technique, and depth.
This relative strength goblet squat test is used to test your lower body’s strength and muscular endurance, while identifying the weak links within this foundational movement pattern.
Here’s the criteria for the Relative Strength Goblet Squat Test by Dr. John Rusin:
Use a dumbbell or kettlebell that weights 50% of your current bodyweight (i.e. 200lb person uses a 100lb db)
Each squat must reach parallel depth to objective range of motion
No ugly compensations at the spine, shoulders, hips, or feet allowed
Complete as many unbroken reps as possible (without resting at the top between reps)
“we are testing proficiency to stay tight and perform reps” – Not killing orthopedic health
Instead of shrugging off this test and believing your “good enough” to barbell back squat, I challenge you to take this test and see where you stack up. I double doggy dare ya,sucka!!
If you were able to get 25+ reps of the goblet squat with 50% of your bodyweight with proper form, technique, and depth, then congratulations! You have officially earned the right to in any barbell squat variation you desire (box squat, front squat, etc). For those who didn’t pass, no worries. The next step is to identify the weak link that held you back, whether it was the muscular endurance or some movement deficit in the ankles, hips, shoulders, or full-body coordination.
Prepared to be humbled, for even some of the strongest athletes are pushed to their limits by this squat test.
Are you ready for this squat test?