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Goblet Squat [Exercise Guide]

What Is A Goblet Squat

A goblet squat is a compound exercise that helps to strengthen glutes and quads. Furthermore, it takes some pressure off your lower back. So goblet squat is safe for those who have back issues.

Why is it called a goblet squat? The reason is if the hands’ position reminds you of the goblet shape while you practice this exercise. In the absence of a kettlebell, any weighted object held with both hands at chest height will suffice. You can use dumbbells, medicine balls, and other similar objects.

What Muscles Does Goblet Squat Work

Goblet squats, like other squatting exercises, target primarily the large muscle groups in your lower body: quadriceps and glutes. The gluteus maximus is the most active muscle during this workout, which addresses all three gluteal muscles. You need to maintain a neutral spine during the whole movement. That’s why the core works too. As for the lats and upper back muscles, they are loaded because you need to hold the weight between your hands.

How to Perform Goblet Squat

Step 1. Get into starting position

Start with standing on your feet about shoulder-width apart. You can choose both a narrower or wider stance.

Step 2. Grab the dumbbell

Hold a dumbbell in your hands so that both palms are facing up against the dumbbell’s upper end. If needed, you can ask your partner to place a dumbbell in the correct position between your hands.

Step 3. Squat down

Sit through your hips while maintaining a tall back. Grip the floor fully with your feet. Bring your shoulder blades back together tightly. This is going to help you maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise. Keep your chin tucked in as well. Hips should go back as if you were sitting on the chair. Ensure your squat is deep enough. Your hips should go below your knees. But avoid going too deep and falling into spinal flexion.

Step 4. Go back to the starting stance

Return to the starting position, maintaining the tightness in the legs. Extend your hips and push your knees out as you go up.

We should note that the kettlebell or dumbbell stays close to the body, and elbows are throughout the whole movement. Letting the weight come off the body, you risk having the chest fall forward, and hips shoot up too quickly. The elbows flared out can lead to issues with bunking the elbows into the knees.

Advantages of Goblet Squat

Suitable For Beginners

You can use a goblet squat as a main compound movement if you are a beginner. Staying at a lighter weight and maintaining a good tempo would be the best choice in such a case. That workout will prepare you for front squat or barbell back squat. Many experts believe a goblet squat is easier than an ordinary bodyweight squat. A kettlebell or a dumbbell provides a counterbalance to help the lifter stay solid on the feet. Beginners can learn and get comfortable with the squatting movement by adding the goblet squat to their workout plan. 

Great For Advanced Athletes

Are you an experienced athlete? The goblet squat suits you too! It can be used for a warm-up or as a prep before you get under the bar. This exercise is also good for burnout towards the end of training. Advanced sportsmen can use goblet squats for tempos and holds. Goblet squat can also provide a helpful step on a rehabilitation journey. This exercise has the power to help an injured person go from lighter stages of rehab to their pre-injury form.

More Squatting Volume

This exercise is perfect for powerlifters, bodybuilders, or anybody doing heavy lower body training sessions. Goblet squats are a great accessory movement. In other words, it’s a good choice for additional lower body volume. A few sets of 10 to 20 reps after some other more intense lower bodywork is a great way to get more practice and get your workout to a new level.

5 Goblet Squat Alternatives

There are many exercises that you can do as an alternative to a goblet squat: cossack squats, pistol squats, lunges, etc. Let’s take a look at the 5 best alternatives below.

Bulgarian Split Squat

This exercise will fire up your quads and glutes if you do it correctly. Bulgarian split squat takes a bit of practice to get used to, but it is one of the most effective compound movements. Check out the technique.

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides. 
  • Use a staggered stance and put one foot on a bench behind you. The toes should point down.
  • Squat down on the front leg until your knee is short of touching the ground.
  • Drive yourself back up.

The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves are all worked out as part of this lower-body workout. Your core is also tested as a one-legged exercise since you have to keep your balance.

Zercher Squat

The Zercher squat is a unique exercise rarely practiced in gyms. However, this uncommon lift effectively loads the quads and glutes. It also hits the upper back, shoulders, and biceps. 

How to do:

  • Begin with standing on the floor with the feet shoulder length apart.
  • Hold the bar in the crook of your elbows. 
  • Go down in a squat, maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Go back to the starting position.

The exercise can be done inside of a squat rack or without it. Make sure to practice this movement with light weights first to ensure you are OK with the technique.

Trap Bar Deadlift

The exercise places more emphasis on the lower body. It can technically be used as a goblet squad alternative. You need to have a trap bar (hex bar) to practice this movement.

How to do:

  • The hex bar puts you in the right position itself. You should just step in and put your hands on it.
  • Squat down, maintaining the neutral spine line and initiating movement with your hips.
  • Come back to the starting position.

Trap bar deadlift places the resistance line through the sides of your body and puts more stress on your quads. If you don’t feel your glutes and hamstrings activated during the exercise, chances are your form is off. The trap bar places less stress on your spinal extensors and brings the load to the lower body and midline muscles.

Pistol Squat 

This squat alternative is one of the most challenging ones. The exercise requires good balance and coordination skills. It will suit those who don’t have access to heavyweights.

How to do:

  • Stand feet about hip-width apart.
  • Raise one foot slightly off the floor.
  • Go down into a squatting position while extending your arms and the opposite leg forward.
  • Return to the starting stance.

You can add some resistance as you become stronger by holding a pair of dumbbells.

Dumbbell Jump Squat

Like conventional squats, jump squats target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. The lower body gets a workout as well, thanks to the leap.

How to do:

  • Grab dumbbells in your hands and let them hand down by your sides.
  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. The knees should be slightly bent.
  • Squat down, initiating the movement by pushing your hips and glutes backward.
  • Once you reach the bottom position, push through your heels to jump upwards, keeping your arms extended.
  • Land on your feet, and do reps. Try to maintain a straight back during the whole exercise.

The dumbbell jump squat is an excellent training tool for increasing one’s capacity to harness and transmit energy during ballistic athletic exercises.


What are goblet squats good for?

Strengthening the lower body is easier with the goblet squat. Additionally, it strengthens the shoulders, back, and abs. Core, forearm, and upper back muscles are engaged and toned by this exercise.

How heavy should a goblet squat be?

While the ideal weight for each individual may differ according to their current fitness level and desired results, all trainers agree that starting with a light dumbbell is the best approach. Start with a 5-pound weight and gradually increase it as you gain confidence.

How often should I do goblet squats?

Focus on doing 10 to 12 repetitions in 3 to 5 sets, 3 to 5 times each week, for three to five weeks. Goblet squats may either be included in your regular training regimen or done as a stand-alone activity.


Goblet squat is the best exercise to learn and practice before doing back and front squats with the bar. It’s a great teaching tool that gets everything in alignment. The technique is pretty simple and reminds of a regular squat, except that one holds a dumbbell up at a chest. 

Practice this movement regularly to strengthen the quadriceps and glutes. One more good news is the exercise has many variations. You can pick an alternative suitable to your conditions and fitness level.