The goblet squat is a compound exercise that targets your lower body, especially the quads and glutes. This exercise will work your core tremendously because you are holding the weight at chest height which forces the core to stabilize the trunk during the movement. A kettlebell or a dumbbell can be used when doing goblet squats. If you want to build big legs then this exercise should definitely be added to your routine.
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.
Goblet squats are for the intermediate level and above as you will hold a weight at chest height in addition to your body weight. I highly recommend you master bodyweight squats first before moving to this exercise and start with lower weight once you progress onto goblet squats. Check out this in-depth squat guide on how to master air squats so that you can be proficient with the movement mechanics and avoid injuries.
Begin by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart or more. Hold a weight 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. In this demonstration, I am doing a dumbbell goblet squat.
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.
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.
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.
Repeat this movement for a desired number of repetitions (see in the recommended reps and sets ranges below).
You should move on to harder variations once you have achieved your reps and set goals.
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 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:
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:
Goblet squat is a compound exercise that targets the main muscle groups of the lower body such as the 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.
Training with weights will increase resistance and put more stress on your muscle fibers, which will improve muscular endurance and muscular strength in your legs. This promotes hypertrophy, giving toned and sculpted-looking legs!
According to NASM, goblet squats will give you an increased range of motion and more glute activation because holding the weight at chest height will force you to squat lower dept. The lower you can squat with good form, the glutes will be stretched even further, producing greater strength in the glutes.
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.
A 2018 study wanted to find out whether the core was activated more, during a plank or squat. The results suggest that the erector spinae was activated four times more during a squat, but the rectus abdominis was activated 30% more in the plank. The erector spinae is responsible for keeping the back upright, which is why it was activated more in the squat. Therefore, squatting will aid functional ability and also contribute to greater core strength.
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:
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:
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:
Whether you're looking to improve your lower body strength, get lower in your squats, grow your glutes, or you want to try out different squat variations, the goblet squat is a great exercise to incorporate into your next workout.
Try this one out and let me know how it goes in the comment section below! Also, you can incorporate similar variations of the goblet squat in your next routine:
Thank you for reading this article, my Gymless Heroes, I'll catch you next time!
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.