Goblet Squats: How to Do Them the Right Way

Goblet Squats: How to Do Them the Right Way

If you’re anything like me, squats are one of your favorite exercises. When I first got into fitness, I used to do them religiously.

As a beginner, I quickly became obsessed with seeing how much weight I could squat over time. I would see all of these people in the gym loading up plate after plate.

For this reason though, the back squat can also be quite intimidating.

But, what if I told you that you could get the benefits of a squat without a barbell and super heavy weight? That’s why I fell in love with the goblet squat!

So let’s talk about it…

What Is A Goblet Squat?

Goblet squats are a wonderful variation of the traditional back squat for building muscle strength and size. The muscles you work are very similar as well:

• Quadriceps
• Hamstrings
• Glutes
• Calves
• Back
• Forearms
• Shoulders
• Core

It’s truly a full body exercise!

The difference between the two is where you are holding the weight and how that affects which muscles get more of the focus.

In a back squat, you rest the barbell on your upper back. With the weight behind you, you use your core to keep from falling backwards. There is also a greater forward lean in your torso, which places a greater emphasis on your glutes than the other lower body muscles.

In a goblet squat, you actually hold the weight in front of your body. With the weight in front of you, you’re using your core and back muscles to stay upright. There is less of a forward lean because of this, which places a greater emphasis on your quadriceps.

I also really like goblet squats because you can use kettlebells or dumbbells as opposed to a big, clunky barbell. For that reason, goblet squats can also be a lot more accessible.

Benefits Of A Goblet Squat

Squats are one of the most effective and functional movements you can do to improve your fitness and mobility. The goblet squat is no different!

Yes, it can help build muscle size and strength just like a back squat. It can also help improve athletic performance in things like jumping and sprinting.

However, like I mentioned, it’s much less intimidating than a back squat. This makes it a great option for beginners! I seriously wish I would have known about them when I began my fitness journey.

Another benefit is that by holding the weight in front of your body, you’re not placing a lot of stress on your spine. This can help minimize the risk for injury compared to a barbell back squat.

Also, with the front load set up, you’re able to work through a greater range of motion.

Finally, because you are recruiting so many muscles to move and stabilize ... the goblet squat can improve your cardiovascular fitness! If you really want a workout … try doing 100 goblet squats for time. There's a good chance you will be out of breath before you hit 25, so it's going to be a struggle!

How To Do A Goblet Squat

The only things you’ll need are a dumbbell or kettlebell to hold, and a little bit of space to stand.

Now, let’s get to some goblet squats:

1. Start by standing with your feet spread hip to shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.

2. Hold the weight (dumbbell or kettlebell) at your chest, right around the top of your breast bone and under your collarbone. The idea is to hold the weight as if you were holding a massive goblet to drink from.

• If you’re using a kettlebell, you can hold it by the bell with both hands, or flip it and grasp the handle in both hands. Your elbows should be pointing at the ground.

• If you’re using a dumbbell, cup your hands under one head of the dumbbell. Your elbows should be pointing at the ground.

3. Once you’re in position, prepare to do a couple reps to warm up before the working set. If the weight is too heavy, don’t be afraid to lower the weight until you get the hang of it. We don’t need any ego lifting here!

4. Now, brace your core, puff your chest out slightly, pull your shoulders down and back, and look straight ahead. You want to keep your spine straight without any curve in your lower back or hunch in your shoulders. This will help prevent injury, and allow you to engage the correct muscles.

5. Inhale, then push your hips back, bending your knees as you descend into a squat. Keep the weight nice and close to your body.

6. Press through your mid-foot and heel, then squeeze your glutes to stand back up, completing the movement. When you reach the top, exhale before starting the next rep.

Make sure you focus on keeping your chest upright. What helps me is imagining someone is trying to read what’s on my t-shirt, so I try to stay as tall as I can throughout the whole movement to help them out!

Start with 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps, depending on your fitness level. When you’re comfortable, you can add sets, reps, or weight as you progress. I also recommend resting for 30-60 seconds between each set.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

Even though the goblet squat may be a more simple and less intimidating version of a back squat, you still have to focus on your form! That way, you can get the most out of it, and avoid any potential injuries in the process. Here are some of the things to consider when you’re doing a goblet squat…

Keep The Weight Close to Your Body

The further away from your body you hold the weight, the more you’re going to use your arm and shoulder muscles, while also making it harder to keep your torso upright. It will also limit how much weight you are able to hold and progress with.

Keep Your Torso Upright

Like I mentioned earlier … think about someone in front of you trying to read your t-shirt while you squat. This cue will help your chest stay tall and will help prevent you from rounding your shoulders and back. If you find yourself falling forward, try squatting in front of a mirror so you can see yourself and correct it.

Also, roll your shoulders back before squatting to engage your back more. If you’re still unable to stay upright, decrease the weight you’re holding. Remember … no ego lifting!

Keep Your Feet Planted

Because the weight in front of your body is pulling you forward, you may find yourself on your toes more than planted on your mid-foot and heel. Focus on engaging your core and back to keep your center of gravity away from your toes. Remember, you want to drive through the center of your foot or heels, not your toes.

Keep Your Knees Tracking Over Your Toes

A common struggle some people have is when their knees fall in while squatting. This is due to weaker glute muscles. If you find that your knees aren’t tracking in the same direction that your toes are pointed, decrease the weight.

From here, focus on slowing down the movement to guide your knees outward. This can help reduce the possibility of a knee injury from happening.

Keep Going Down

I get it … getting into a deep squat is hard. But, if you don’t practice going deeper, you’re missing out on working the full range of motion for your muscles. You don’t want to shortcut your results, do you? So, keep squatting down until your elbows are inside of your knees before pushing back up. If you aren’t able to, you may need to start working on your mobility.

Goblet Squat Progressions

Once you’ve gotten good at the basic goblet squat form, you can try one of these more difficult progressions!

Swap the weight for a barbell. You’ll want to rest it on your upper chest and swing your elbows under the bar. Your palms should be facing upward, and fingers supporting the bar on your chest. This position will test the mobility in your wrists and shoulders.

Use plates (or elevated risers, if your gym has them) under your heels. This will put even more of an emphasis on your quads throughout the movement.

Change up the pace of the movement. Instead of increasing the weight, try a different tempo. This can help make the weight feel heavier and still help you make progress. What do I mean by tempo? I’m talking about the speed at which you perform the movement. In this case, you can slow down your descent, add in a pause at the bottom, or work to explode back up as fast as possible!

Need More Help?

Goblet squats are great to add to your leg day routine to get similar benefits as a back squat! However, you’re not going to see the results you want to see from just adding one exercise.

If that were true, that would be awesome! But, the reality is, there’s a lot that goes into seeing results with your health and fitness goals. If you’re looking for other great leg exercises, help with your nutrition, and accountability … download the 1st Phorm App!

In the app, you'll not only get full workout programs for your goals and videos on how to do each exercise ... you’ll also get accountability and messaging with your very own certified advisor!

You’ll even get the education and tools you need to track your nutrition and earn amazing results.

So, download the 1st Phorm App and start pursuing your goals today!

If there's ever anything we can do to help out in the meantime, that's what we're here for. Reach out to our team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Certified Nutrition Coaches. They are available to talk to you and help you reach your goals for free! Just shoot us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com or give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 anytime.

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