The Goblet Squat is a lower-body exercise in which you hold a kettlebell, dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands in front of your chest.
It’s the ideal Squat variation to teach new or even seasoned athletes proper squat technique; however it can be used to build strength for everyone.
The beauty of the Goblet Squat exercise is that it’s incredibly easy to perform and can be done almost anywhere.
How to complete a Goblet Squat
Step 1: Stand with your feetshoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell, kettlebell or other weight vertically with your hands underneath the top of the weight. Hold the weight against your body so it’s touching your sternum and stomach.
Step 2: Keeping your core tight, back flat and dumbbell, kettlebell or weight in contact with your body, bend your hips and knees to initiate the Squat and continue until your elbows touch your knees.
Step 3: Drive your heels into the ground to stand up to the starting position.
Goblet Squat Mistakes
The Goblet Squat is fairly mistake-proof, which is one thing that makes it such a great exercise. However, there are two common mistakes you need to avoid to perform the move with perfect form.
Mistake 1: Your torso tilts forward
Mike Boyle, renown strength coach and co-founder of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, explains that if your torso tilts forward during the Squat, that’s an indication that your ankles are too tight or your core isn’t strong enough. You can tell if you tilt too far forward if the bottom portion of the dumbbell comes off your stomach.
The Fix: There are two quick fixes. First, consciously tighten your core and keep the dumbbell in contact with your stomach throughout the rep. Second, place a 5- or 10-pound plate under your heels to overcome any ankle mobility problem.
Mistake 2: Your knees collapse inward
One of the worst mistakes you can make during a Squat is to allow your knees to collapse inward. Technically called valgus collapse, this technique flaw puts your knees at risk during the exercise. Worse, there’s a good chance your knees also do this in dynamic movements in your sport, such as when you land from a jump, when you’re more susceptible to an injury.
The Fix: Wrap a lightweight mini-band around your shins just below your knees. The tension from the band engages your glutes and teaches you to push your knees outward so they’re in line with your hips and ankles.
Goblet Squat Benefits
The Goblet Squat develops lower-body strength, size and power similar to other versions of the Squat. However, it has a few unique benefits compared to the Back Squat and Front Squat.
Goblet Squats Teaches Proper Squat Form
The Goblet Squat is the perfect option for an athlete learning how to squat. Someone who has little experience in the weight room can be confident they’re squatting with at least decent form if they can keep the weight in contact with their sternum and stomach, and their elbows touch their knees. If not, the fixes are relatively easy, as described above.
Watching the progress people can make in their overall squat form when completing Goblet Squats is almost like magic! Often it removes fear of having a barbell on your back that if you fail in your form or fall back due to putting weight in your heels.
It’s Easy on Your Back
If Back Squats are uncomfortable or hurt your back, then Goblet Squats are a great option. The goblet position shifts the load to the front of your core and allows for a more upright torso position, which is easier on the spine. In fact, Goblet Squats can be considered a weighted core exercise, because your abs, obliques and other core muscles have to engage to perform the exercise properly.
It Can Be Loaded Heavy
Many athletes and coaches make the mistake of categorizing Goblet Squats as a beginner exercise and only do them with light weight. Yes, it’s a great teaching exercise but that doesn’t mean you can’t go heavy. You will ultimately be limited by how heavy the dumbbells are in your gym, but feel free to load up on the weight and challenge yourself. Even strong athletes who regularly Back Squat hundreds of pounds can benefit from heavy Goblet Squats.
Goblet Squat Muscles Worked
The Goblet Squat promotes muscle engagement similar to other variations of the Squat. The prime movers are the glutes and quads, but other muscles in the lower body also contribute to the movement.