Best Goblet Squat Workouts, Benefits, Technique Tips and Muscles Worked

These Goblet Squat Workouts will help to improve your squat technique, mobility, lower body strength and full body conditioning.

What is the Goblet Squat Exercise?

The Goblet Squat is a lower body exercise involving a full range of motion squat whilst holding a weight against your chest with both hands.

Dan John invented the Goblet Squat Exercise. Here is how it happened.

“Years ago, I was faced with teaching 400 athletes to squat correctly. I attempted move after move and lift after lift, yet I failed every time.

I saw glimmers of hope from teaching one kid the Zercher squat and a few picked up the pattern when we lifted Kettlebells off the ground but nothing was really working.

The answer was somewhere in between a Zercher and a Potato squat. It came to me when I was resting between swings with the weight held in front of me like I was holding the Holy Grail.

I squatted down from there, pushed my knees out with my elbows and behold, the goblet squat.”

Goblet Squat Benefits

The Goblet Squat has many benefits for athletes.

The movement grooves a better squat pattern and improves technique

Holding the weight in front of your body encourages you to stand up straighter, get that upper back tight and puff out that chest. All important cues when setting the body correctly for a good, safe squat.

The weight also acts as a counter balance that encourages you to sit between your legs and not over your knees. This transfers over effectively when squatting in other ways with different loads.

The Goblet Squat will build better balance in the Squat. In turn this leads to improves mechanics and more effective movement.

Beginner friendly

The Goblet is a natural progression from the air squat for beginner athletes that are new to squatting. It is a great place to start as it is a great teacher that will build solid foundations for any athlete’s fitness journey.

Goblet Squat Muscles Worked

The Goblet Squat worked the full body, however the following muscles are especially targeted.

Scapular Stabilizers

The scapular stabilizers/upper back muscles must work to resist spinal flexion caused by the front loaded kettlebell/dumbbell. In doing so, the scapular stabilizers work to stay retracted and stable, which is necessary for more advanced squatting movements.

Quadriceps

The goblet squat targets the lower body as a whole, but due to the placement of the load (in front of the body) the lifter must maintain a more upright torso positioning, reinforcing greater knee flexion. In doing so, the quadriceps are asked to support the movement at a higher degree.

Gluteals

Like most squats, the glutes are used to assist in the extension of the hips at the top of the movement as well as stability and strength in the squat itself.

Goblet Squat Form

  1. Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell and hold it at chest level
  2. Set your feet in a squat stance, so that the heels are at hip width or slightly wider
  3. Inhale and brace your core
  4. To squat, sit the hips down over the heels, making sure to pull your groin down between the thighs
  5. As you descend, be sure to support the weight so that it stays above your chest line
  6. At the bottom of the squat, you should be able to contract your back muscles to raise your chest high with the weight at that level
  7. When standing up, you need to actively lift the chest and the weight so that they both stay slightly higher than chest height. It is imperative that the hips do not shoot backwards
  8. Exhale at the top of the movement

Goblet Squat Training Tips

Pause at the bottom of the squat so that you can feel your body resisting the need to tip forward (forward flexion).

The knees themselves should be out over the toes. Note, that you should not simply “PUSH” the knees out. Instead, think about pulling the groin apart as you sit while placing the knees over your big toe.

The weight should not drift forward, nor should your torso. You need to keep the weight in place with the upper back and arms. Any excessive forward lean will result in your hips shooting backwards, throwing off the squat.

Often people will cue the hips back first, however this is not correct. Instead, the knees and hips should bend freely together, at the same time.

Goblet Squat Stance

With the toes forwards or slightly turned out, set the body so that the weight is not resting on the body, but rather supported by the upper back. In other words, don’t lean back or push the bell into your chest such that you’re taking the weight off of it.

Your abs and ribs should be pulled down and in with minimal pelvic tilt — keep your spine straight and neutral.

Goblet Squat Kettlebell

The Goblet Squat is most commonly performed with a Kettlebell. A Dumbbell also works well. You can vary this depending on what equipment you have available to you.

Goblet Squat Variations

  • Goblet Squat with resistance bands
  • Goblet Squat 1 and 1/4
  • Goblet Elevator Squats
  • Goblet Squats with Lowering
  • Goblet Squats with Plates
  • Goblet Squat Workouts
  • Burpee Goblet Squat

Goblet Squat Workouts

Add the following Goblet Squat Workouts into your training.

WORKOUT 1

3 Rounds for Time

  • 25 metre Farmer’s Carry
  • 25 metre Walking Lunges
  • 25 Kettlebell Swings
  • 25 Goblet Squats

Time Cap: 25 minutes

All you need for this workout is 2 Kettlebells. Choose a weight that you can maintain throughout all 4 exercises.  You’ll need 2 Kettlebells for Farmers Carries and Walking Lunges, and 1 Kettlebell for Swings and Goblet Squats. The time cap for the workout is 25 minutes.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Goblet Squats is completed.

Scaling Options

Decrease the reps and distances from 25 to 15.

WORKOUT 2

2 Rounds for Time

  • 400 metre Run
  • 20 Kettlebell Swings (53/35 lb)
  • 10 Goblet Squats (53/35 lb)
  • 20 Overhead Plate Walking Lunges (45/25 lb)
  • 400 metre Run
  • 10 Overhead Plate Walking Lunges (45/25 lb)
  • 20 Goblet Squats (53/35 lb)
  • 10 Kettlebell Swings (53/35 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible complete the prescribed work in the order written for 2 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Kettlebell Swings is completed.

WORKOUT 3

For Time

20 to 1 reps of:

  • Kettlebell Goblet Squats (24/16 kg)
  • Kettlebell Russian Swings (24/16 kg)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Athlete must accomplish 20 Kettlebell Goblet Squats and 20 Kettlebell Russian Swings before moving down to 19 repetitions of each movement until the last round of 1 Kettlebell Goblet Squat and 1 Kettlebell Russian Swing.

Score is the time on the clock when the last repetition of Kettlebell Russian Swing is completed.

WORKOUT 4

For Time

  • 500 Goblet Squats (24/16 kg)

Every break, perform:

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform 500 Goblet Squats. Every time the athlete breaks from the Goblet Squats, a penalty of 10 Russian Twists must be completed before resuming.

Score is the time on the clock when the 500th Goblet Squat is completed.

WORKOUT 5

For Time

  • 150 Goblet Squats (53/35 lb)

Starting at 0:00, every minute on the minute, perform:

  • 5 Burpees

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the 150 Goblet Squats. Starting at 0:00, every minute on the minute, perform 5 Burpees.

Score is the time on the clock when the 150th Goblet Squat is completed.

WORKOUT 6

50-40-30-20-10 Reps for Time

With a running clock, complete the prescribed work as fast as possible (“For Time“). The first round consists of 50 Chair Dips and 50 Goblet Squats, then the next round will be 40 reps for each movement, and so on.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Goblet Squats is completed.

GOBLET SQUAT WORKOUT 7

40-30-20-10 Reps for Time

  • Kettlebell Swings (32/24 kg)
  • Goblet Squats (32/24 kg)
  • Toes-to-Bars

WORKOUT 8

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 10 Lateral Burpees Over Object
  • 15 Deadlifts (pick object)
  • 20 Goblet Squats (pick object)

On a 20-minute clock, as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed before the 20-minute clock stops.

WORKOUT 9

For Time

  • 25-20-15-10-5 American Kettlebell Swings (70/53 lb)
  • 50-40-30-20-10 Double-Unders
  • 25-20-15-10-5 Goblet Squats (70/53 lb)

Perform 5 sets of American Kettlebell Swings, Double-Unders and Goblet Squats in the order mentioned, but at decreasing rep rates. American Kettlebell Swings and Goblet Squats will start at 25 reps and reduce by 5 reps, while Double-Unders will start at 50 reps and reduce at a rate of 10 reps.

Score in this workout is based on the amount of time taken to complete the prescribed amount of work.

WORKOUT 10

30 Rounds for Time

  • 5 Hand Release Push-Ups
  • 10 Goblet Squats (pick load)
  • 15 Double-Unders

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 30 rounds. You can choose any load for the Goblet Squats.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Double-Unders is completed.

WORKOUT 11

For Time

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Reps of:

With a running clock, as fast as possible completed the prescribed work. Athlete must complete 10 Deadlifts, 10 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches, and 10 Goblet Squats in the first round.

Continue with this pattern, decreasing 1 rep to each movement after every round.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Goblet Squats is completed.

WORKOUT 12

13 Rounds for Time

  • 100 metre Sandbag Carry (150/100 lb, 50 metre down & 50 metre back)
  • 7 Strict Pull-ups
  • 16 Sandbag Over the Shoulder Tosses (150/100 lb)
  • 15 Sandbag Squats (150/100 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 13 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Sandbag Squats is completed.

WORKOUT 13

For Time

  • 400 metre Run
  • 23 Push-Ups
  • 53 Goblet Squats (53/35 lb)
  • 400 metre Run
  • 23 Push-Ups
  • 53 Kettlebell Swings (53/35 lb)
  • 400 metre Run

WORKOUT 14

Every 3 minutes (for 6 Rounds) in 18 minutes

  • 6 Burpees
  • 18 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches (50/35 lb)
  • 7 Toes-to-Bars
  • 9 Goblet Squats (50/35 lb)

With a running clock, perform the prescribed work in the order written in 3 minutes for 6 rounds. Record the time it takes to complete each round. You have 3 minutes to complete all 4 movements. Rest during whatever time is left after you’re done. For example, if it takes you 2 minutes to

complete all the movements, you have 1 minute to rest before the next interval starts. Repeat this interval every 3 minutes until you have completed 6 rounds (i.e. this workout will be 18 minutes total).

Score is the time of the slowest round.

Scaling

The recommended weight for the dumbbell snatches and goblet squats is 50 lbs for men, 35 lbs for women, but scale accordingly.

If you cannot do Toes-to-Bar, do Knees-to-Elbows or Hanging Knee Raises. If you don’t have a Pull-Up bar, do V-Ups on the ground.

WORKOUT 15

6 Rounds for time:

  • 25 American KB swings 53/35
  • 12 KB goblet squats 53/35
  • 250m row (or 200m run)

**REST 1 minute between rounds

Score is the amount of time it takes to complete all 6 rounds (including the minute of rest between rounds).

The REST is mandatory. Your focus should be on going ALL OUT during the round, and then honoring the full minute of rest.

GOBLET SQUAT WORKOUT 16

For Time

  • Buy-In: 26 Burpees

Then 6 Rounds of:

19 Kettlebell Swings (53/35 lb)

  • 20 Push-Ups
  • 19 Goblet Squats (53/35 lb)
  • Buy-Out: 3 minutes Forearm Plank Hold*

*Perform a penalty for each break or rest from Plank:

– 1st Break: 3 Burpees

– 2nd Break: 4 Burpees

– 3rd Break and more: 9 Burpees

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Athlete must complete the buy-in of 26 Burpees before moving on to 6 rounds of Kettlebell Swings, Push-Ups and Goblet Squats.

To complete the workout, accumulate 3 minutes in a Forearm Plank hold.

For each break from the plank, athlete must perform the prescribed number of Burpees before resuming the Plank Hold. Only time spent in the proper Plank position counts toward the the cumulative time.

For example, if athlete completes 1:05 of Plank Hold in the first attempt, then rests, the athlete must perform 3 Burpees before resuming the plank hold. If athlete breaks again at 1:55, he/she must then perform 4 Burpees before resuming Plank.

Continue in this manner until 3:00 is accumulated in the Plank position.

Score is the time on the clock when the Plank Hold is completed.

WORKOUT 17

For Time

  • 50 calorie Row
  • 40 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
  • 30 Kettlebell Swings (53/35 lb)
  • 20 Goblet Squats (53/35 lb)
  • 10 Burpees
  • 20 Goblet Squats (53/35 lb)
  • 30 Kettlebell Swings (53/35 lb)
  • 40 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
  • 50 calorie Row

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the time on the clock when the last set of 50 calorie Row is completed.

WORKOUT 18

5 Rounds for Time

  • 5 Burpee Vault Overs
  • 10 Plate Ground to Overheads (20/15kg)
  • 15 Plate Squats (20/15kg)
  • 20 Cal Row

Burpee Vault Overs performed with the Box or other object to vault at chest height minimum

WORKOUT 19

For Time

  • 1,600 metre Run
  • 30 Mountain Climbers
  • 1,200 metre Run
  • 30 Alternating Kettlebell Lunges (2×24/16 kg)
  • 800 metre Run
  • 30 Goblet Squats (24/16 kg)
  • 400 metre Run
  • 30 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb)

Time Cap: 45 minutes

With a running clock, as fast as possible complete the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the time on the clock when the Wall Ball Shots are completed.

Tips and Strategy

The Goblet Squat Workout consists of a total of 4000m running with 4 exercises in between. All exercises target or include your legs so it’s going to be challenging for your legs! Break them up in smaller sets or do them at a slower pace to save some energy for the running parts.

Scaling Options

You can scale the workout by cutting the running distances in half and by using lighter weights.

WORKOUT 20

For Time

  • 40 Kettlebell Snatches (24/20 kg)
  • 20 calorie Ski
  • 40 Kettlebell Goblet Squats (24/20 kg)
  • 20 calorie Ski
  • 40 Kettlebell Clean-and-Presses (24/20 kg)
  • 20 calorie Ski
  • 40 Kettlebell Swings (24/20 kg)
  • 20 calorie Ski

The athlete will alternate between kettlebell movements and the ski ergometre. The workout concludes when the athlete is done with all of the movements.

Score is the time it takes to complete all of the reps.

Scaling

For Time

  • 20 Kettlebell Snatches (16/12 kg)
  • 10 calorie Ski
  • 20 Kettlebell Goblet Squats (16/12 kg)
  • 10 calorie Ski
  • 20 Kettlebell Clean-and-Presses (16/12 kg)
  • 10 calorie Ski
  • 20 Kettlebell Swings (16/12 kg)
  • 10 calorie Ski

GOBLET SQUAT WORKOUT 21

For Time

  • 45 Left-Arm Overhead Kettlebell Lunges (24/16 kg)
  • 45 Toes-to-Bars
  • 45 Goblet Squats (24/16 kg)
  • 45 Pull-Ups
  • 45 Alternating Kettlebell Snatches (24/16 kg)
  • 45 calorie Row
  • 45 Right-Arm Overhead Kettlebell Lunges (24/16 kg)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Overhead Kettlebell Lunges is completed.

WORKOUT 22

For Time

  • Buy-In: 2,000 metre Row

Directly into, 3 Rounds of:

  • 50 Russian Kettlebell Swings (75/50 lb)
  • 50 Barbell Floor Wipers (95/65 lb)
  • 30 Goblet Squats (75/50 lb)

Finally, perform:

  • 1 set Max Push-Ups
  • 1 set Max Plank Hold

With a running clock, perform the prescribed work. Make sure to maintain quality throughout all the reps. After the Goblet Squats, complete 1 attempt of max Push-Ups and max Plank Hold.

Score is the time on the clock when the workout is completed.

GOBLET SQUAT WORKOUT 23

6 Rounds

  • 6 KB Two Handed Cleans
  • 6 KB Goblet Squats
  • 6 KB Russian Swings
  • 6 Lunges
  • 6 Push ups
  • 6 Burpees

Score: Time taken to complete 6 rounds with the clock stopping as you complete the 6th Burpee of round 6

PARTNER WORKOUT 24

For Time (with a Partner)

  • 100 Push-Ups to Box Step-Ups (24/20 in) / Dumbbell Goblet Squat Hold (50/35 lb)
  • 200 Ring Rows / Overhead Plate Hold (45/25 lb)
  • 44 Synchronized Plate Ground-to-Overheads (45/25 lb)
  • 2,000 metre Row
  • 44 Synchronized Plate Ground-to-Overheads (45/25 lb)
  • 200 Ring Rows / Overhead Plate Hold (45/25 lb)
  • 100 Push-Ups to Box Step-Ups (24/20 in) / Dumbbell Goblet Squat Hold (50/35 lb)

Wear a Weight Vest (20/14 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible complete the prescribed work. Switch as you like. No minimum work required.

Partner A will start with the 100 Push-Ups to Box Step-Ups while Partner B will hold the Dumbbell in a Goblet Squat. Switch as you like until the 100 reps are completed.

Next, athlete will move on to the 200 Ring Rows while the other athlete is holding the Plate overhead. Switch as you like until the 200 reps are completed.

Then, both athletes must complete the 44 Synchronized Plate Ground-to-Overheads. Then, proceed to the 2,000 metre Row. Switch as you like.

Then athletes will work their way to the Ground-to-Overheads, Rings Rows, and the Push-Ups to Box Step-Ups the same way when they started the workout.

Score is the time on the clock when the last rep of the Push-Ups to Box Step-Ups is completed.

PARTNER WORKOUT 25

AMRAP (with a Partner) in 10 minutes

Partner 1:

  • 10 Hand Release Deadlifts (225/155 lb)
  • 10 Box Jumps (30/24 in)

Partner 2:

  • Kettlebell Hold in Bottom of Squat (53/35 lb)

Alternate each round

  • Buy-In: 50 Goblet Lunges (53/35 lb) (each)

For the buy-in one partner must work at a time. Partition the work between partners as needed. Team must complete 50 total lunges.

While partner 1 is working to complete a full round of deadlifts and box jumps, partner 2 is holding a kettlebell in the bottom of the squat.

Partner 1 cannot begin deadlifts until partner 2 is in the bottom of the squat. After partner 1 completes 10 deadlifts and 10 box jumps, partners switch positions. Partner 1 must pass the kettlebell to partner 2.

Hand release deadlifts require that the hands be released from the barbell at the bottom of the lift when the bumpers have touched the floor.

Bars must not be dropped from the waist.

A complete rep occurs when the bar is lifted from the floor using both hands, the athlete has demonstrated full hip extension and shoulders are behind the bar and the bar is then returned to the floor and hands released from the bar when the bumpers touch the floor.

Goblet Squats for Muscle

Muscle Hypertrophy – Reps, Sets, and Weight Recommendations

The goblet squat is a good way to build muscle hypertrophy in the quadriceps using moderate weight with moderate to high volumes.

3-5 sets of 6-10 repetitions with moderate to heavy loads OR 2-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions with moderate loads to near failure, keeping rest periods 45-90 seconds

Goblet Squats for Strength

Strength – Reps, Sets, and Weight Recommendations

The goblet squat can be used to build strength (with heavier kettlebells) by simply using the sets and rep ranges below.

3-5 sets of 3-5 repetitions with heavy loading, resting as needed

Goblet Squat FAQs

Are Goblet Squats bad for your knees?

Squats typically aren’t bad for your knees, and can actually be good for your knees, provided you are performing them correctly. This may not be the case for an injury or previous injuries, and it is advisable to check with a health professional if this is the case.

Having bad form during any type of squat can put extra pressure on the knees, which isn’t good and can cause injury. For example, knees caving inwards during a squat puts pressure on the knees.

Goblet squats can be easier to perform because the positioning can help with mobility and balance, so they can be a good squat for beginners. You can also do other exercises to build up some strength in your legs before adding squats into your workouts if you find yourself unable to squat well with good form to start with.

Why can I Squat deeper when I Goblet Squat instead of Back Squat? Should I only do Goblet Squats?

It’s common to be able to squat deeper with front-loaded squats (goblet squats, front squats) than back squats.

There are a couple of possible reasons I’ll go into below. In any case, I wouldn’t recommend exclusively doing goblet squats, because it’s hard to load them heavy enough to stay challenging as you get stronger.

It’s a good idea to include both back squats and front squats in your program, but I don’t recommend skipping back squats altogether.

Cause 1: Ankle mobility

Ankle mobility is one of the more common issues preventing hitting bottom in a back squat. You need to be able to get your knees forward to hit bottom, and you need flexible ankles to allow your knees to go forward enough.

With a front-loaded squat, the weight is in a position that it will help push your knees forward, so you can often overcome stiff ankles.

One experiment to try is putting small plates under your heels when back squatting. If you’re able to squat deeper, then it’s most likely your ankle mobility limiting your depth.

Cause 2: Low-bar style technique

Another possibility is that your back squat technique prevents hitting bottom. A low-bar, powerlifting-style back squat can prevent you from being able to hit bottom (after all, powerlifting only requires breaking parallel).

While there’s nothing wrong with that—breaking parallel is deep enough to get the benefits of squatting—you should use high-bar technique if you want maximal depth.

The low bar placement will force you to lean over more while squatting. This can prevent you from hitting bottom as your torso runs into your thighs. Instead, use a high-bar placement which allows a more upright torso.

A wide stance can prevent you from being able to hit bottom. Use a natural stance instead.

Are Goblet Squats safer than Barbell Squats?

Only in the sense that you cannot use much weight for a goblet squat. There is no such thing as safe or unsafe exercise.

An exercise becomes unsafe because:

1) One is using incorrect form.

2) The exercise is putting too much stress on the muscle or joint while in an abnormal position.

3) The weight is so much that the person cannot perform the exercise without getting injured.

I have squatted my whole life. Goblet squats are a good exercise and safe when done properly. So are BB squats.

If you enjoyed these Goblet Squat Workouts and exercise tips then try these Bent Over Row or Dumbbell Swing Workouts.

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