What are Goblet Squats?

Goblet Squat is a compound exercise that targets your lower body (especially your quads, glutes, and core). You will hold some form of weight with both hands in front of your chest which could be a kettlebell or a dumbbell. This is a great variation for beginners to squats as it focuses on proper squat technique. Moreover, it is used to develop strength in the lower body for everyone!

What Muscles do Goblet Squats work?

The primary muscles worked are the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. The secondary muscles worked are the abdominals, calves, biceps, latissimus dorsi, anterior deltoids, and forearms.

What Level are Goblet Squats?

Goblet squats are for intermediate level and above as you would have to be comfortable with doing bodyweight squats before trying this weighted variation. However, this is still beginner-friendly as you can start with low weight, and gradually build your way up.

How to do Goblet Squats?

1. Stand Tall

Begin by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart or more. Hold a dumbbell at the center of your chest with both hands underneath the top flat surface. If you are holding a kettlebell, grip the side handles firmly. Bend your elbows so that the weight is positioned at the center of your chest.

2. Engage Your Core

Squeeze your core tight and look forward. This will give your more control over your body. Visualize yourself lowering down whilst keeping your torso straight.


3. Gradually Lower Down

Inhale as you bend your hips and knees to lower down. Lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Your knees should follow the directions of where your toes are pointing, and your elbows should fall in between your knees.


4. Gradually Push Back Up

Drive your heels into the ground to return to the starting position. Exhale as you rise, and push your hips forward as well as squeezing glutes at the top position.


5. Repeat

Repeat this movement for a desired number of repetitions (see in the recommended reps and sets ranges below).


Goblet Squats workout

  • Beginners to this exercise should perform 3-5 reps, for 4 sets, 3 times a week.
  • Intermediate level athletes should perform 6-12 reps, for 4 sets, 3 times a week.
  • Advanced level athletes should perform 13+ reps or more for 4 sets, 3 times a week.

You should move on to harder variations once you have achieved your reps and set goals.

Goblet Squat Form

Goblet squats will help you to improve your squat form as you are holding weights at the center of your chest. This will force you to increase body awareness to keep your torso upright and straight, whilst keeping your core engaged throughout this movement. The two most common mistakes in goblet squats are:

Hinged Back

Hinged back is a situation where your torso falls forward as you lower down into a squat. This is an indication that your ankles and calves mobility is tight, along with your core not being engaged. This can increase the load on your low and middle back, which could increase your risk of injury. To fix this, you will:

  • Look in the mirror so you can see your side in its reflection
  • Consciously tighten your core
  • Practice ankle/calves mobility 

Knees Caving Inwards

This is where your knees collapse inwards and towards each other as your squat down, which is technically called knee valgus. This could be due to poor hip or ankle mobility, weak glute muscles, or weight is too heavy. This puts your knee joint in an unstable and unsafe position. To fix this you will: 

  • Decrease weight 
  • Practice ankle/calves mobility 
  • Practice wrapping a lightweight band around your shins and underneath your knees. The band creates tension which forces your glutes to be engaged as you’d push your knees outwards so they’re in line with your hips and ankles

Goblet Squat Benefits

Full Body Exercise

Goblet squat is a compound exercise that targets the main muscle groups of the lower body such as glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It also works on your upper body since there’s a weight being held at the center of your chest. This will target your biceps, lats, forearms, and upper back to keep your torso straight. Essentially, this is a full-body exercise.

Build Stronger Legs

Training with weights will increase resistance and put more stress on your muscle fibers, which will improve muscular endurance and muscular strength on your legs. This promotes hypertrophy, giving toned and sculpted-looking legs!

Extra Core Activation

This exercise will require your core to work harder to prevent you from toppling over. The goblet squat trains your pelvis, lower back, and hips to work together, which leads to better balance and stability. Moreover, it creates better squat mechanics and improved squat postural strength.

Goblet Squats Variations

Goblet Box Squat

This variation is great for beginners to goblet squat as it’ll allow you to get used to the movement and focus your attention on the technique. You will have a sense of what the full range of motion feels like. You will need a bench, a chair, or a plyometric box for this exercise. To perform this, you will:

  1. Stand tall with feet at the shoulder-width position with toes pointing slightly outward. Hold a dumbbell or a kettlebell firmly at the center of your chest. Place a box or a bench at the desired height behind you. This is your starting position. 
  2. Inhale and squat down as if you are going to sit down on a chair. First,  bend your hips, followed by your knees. Keep your core engaged and lower down until your butt gently touches the box. 
  3. Exhale and drive through your heels to push back up to the starting position. Squeeze your glutes at the top. 
  4. Repeat this for 5-12 reps for 4 sets.


Goblet Lateral Squat

Goblet lateral squat develops balance, stability, and strength in your legs. They train your body to move side-to-side, which targets your inner and outer thighs. This is a great alteration from your normal forward or twisting motion. To perform this, you will:

  1. Begin in a standing position with feet further than shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell or a kettlebell at the center of your chest. This is your starting position.
  2. Bend the right knee and push your butt back, lowering down slowly until your right thigh is parallel to the ground, inhale as you do this. Your left leg should be straight. Keep your core engaged and your torso upright.
  3. Exhale and drive back to the starting position. Squeeze your glutes at the top position.
  4. Repeat this for 5-12 reps, for 4 sets on each leg. Work on both legs in a single set.


Goblet Lunge Squat

This is a single-leg exercise that targets your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, hips, core, and upper body muscles. You’ll put the majority of your weight on your front leg and use your rear leg as a stabilizer to support your entire body. To perform this, you will:

  1. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, whilst holding a dumbbell and a kettlebell at the center of your chest. Engage your core.
  2. Take a big step forward with your right leg (about 4 feet in front). Shift your weight forward so the heel hits the floor first. This is your starting position.
  3. Inhale, lower your body until your front leg thigh is parallel to the ground. It is acceptable if the knee shifts forward a bit, and not past the right toe. Your rear knee is 2 inches above the floor. Keep your torso upright.
  4. Exhale as you push through the front heel back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this for  5-12 reps, for 4 sets on each leg. Work on both legs in a single set.

About the Author

My name is Pat Chadwick, I am a calisthenics coach with over 4 years of experience in helping people from all backgrounds to achieve their calisthenics goals. My goal is to become the number one calisthenics coach in the world as it is my passion to help people change their lives through inspiring bodyweight movements. I believe everyone deserves the right to feel good about their health, body, and be delighted inside and out.