The Squat – Progressions and/or Regressions

Good morning.

Today is Monday, that means in your regular gym, unless WGF is your regular gym, the place will be wall to wall bench press.

So it’s a great opportunity for you to get your squat on.

NO, Just fucking NO!

NO, Just fucking NO!


No matter what your training goals may be, the squat  will help you reach them. It is more than an exercise, it is a fundamental movement pattern, it is a mobility drill, it is a stability drill. It tests:

  1. Foot stability

  2. Ankle Mobility

  3. Knee stability AND mobility

  4. Hip Mobility

  5. Core Stability

  6. Thoracic Mobility

  7. Balance

  8. Coordination

And if you go heavy enough:

  1. Strength of Character

And if you go for high reps:

  1. Cardio

Not bad eh?

No wonder it gets hailed as the King of weight room exercises.

At WGF I like people to work through a progression on their way to Squat dominance. It’s a sliding scale that we use as a reference guide rather than a rule book. It goes as follows:

  1. Bodyweight Squat – this sets the foundation

  2. Single Kettlebell “Goblet” Squat

  3. Double Kettlebell Front Squat

  4. Barbell Front or Back Squat, whichever is most appropriate.

Each version has it’s pro’s and con’s. No one variation is better than the other, but as a progression, they form a logical sequence.

The Bodyweight Squat is your foundation, get this smooth and deep before looking to add any significant load. This is also great cardio, we often finish a lower body sett with 100 reps, sometimes we’ll go for time, 2 minutes, 5 minutes and if I’m feeling mean, 15 minutes. I consider 500, full ROM reps in a single set to be a goal we can all achieve.

Good form.....

Good form…..


The Single Kettlebell, or Goblet Squat is next on the list.

Dan John says do Goblet Squats. So DO Goblet Squats!

Dan John says do Goblet Squats. So DO Goblet Squats!


This keeps the load light, but also places the load out in front. This forces good positioning, if you lean too far forwards then you’ll drop the bell.

Double Kettlebell Front Squats are the next logical step, just now more load is available. These are very tough and usually highlight any weaknesses in the core before the legs fail. I class them as torso training, rather than a leg exercise.