If the back squat is considered the ‘king’ of all exercises, the goblet squat is one of the best movements to master it. The goblet squat helps athletes understand the basic mechanics of weighted squats and when performed correctly does wonders to improve squatting form.
Performing the Goblet Squat
Begin in a standing squat stance, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
You can use a dumbbell or kettlebell for a goblet squat. Hold your palms underneath the weight like an old-school goblet, hence the name. If you choose to instead hold the kettlebell by the handles, it’s important to keep the bell tucked into your chest.
Squat by extending your hips back and down. Push your knees outward and keep your torso vertical. Keep the weight close to your chest throughout.
Hit full depth and don’t allow your heels to come off the floor. If you notice your heels rising, widen your stance and work on your ankle mobility.
Drive up to full extension to complete the rep.
Benefits of the Goblet Squat
1. Teaches Proper Positioning: The positioning of a goblet squat, holding a compact weight in front of you, allows you to maintain an upright position that is much easier to stabilize than a squat with a long barbell in the back or front rack positions.
Mobility: Your center of gravity shifts so that you’re forced to recruit your quads more than your posterior chain, in addition to also using your abdominal muscles. This allows you to sit back onto your heels promoting a deeper squat. It’s helpful for those athletes who struggle with mobility and for those who don’t have the proprioception to know what breaking parallel and squatting to depth truly feels like.
2. Upper Back Awareness: The goblet squat is also useful for teaching upper back awareness because athletes have a tendency to round their back when performing the movement even with light weight. Tighten your upper back and pull your shoulders back to brace against rounding your back. It’ll transfer when you have to handle heavier weight in barbell squats.
3. Scaling: The goblet squat can also be used as a scaling option during a workout if an athlete is unable to perform a barbell squat as it still challenges their muscular endurance in high-volume workouts. Remember though, while goblet squats help you conquer proper squat mechanics, they don’t help build as much strength as barbell squats do—you simply can’t handle as much weight in a goblet squat position versus a front or back squat.