Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes
The goblet squat targets your glutes, quads, hamstrings, core, biceps, shoulders, and forearms. To perform a goblet squat, you will need either a kettlebell or a dumbbell.
What is a Goblet Squat?
The goblet squat is a great transition to weight from a simple air squat. They solidify good form and add resistance to this simple but effective movement.
They are beneficial in training against knee caving or leaning too far forward while squatting. Additionally, this movement is a fantastic way to transition into barbell front squats!
If you struggle to move into barbell weighted movements and maintain good form, try adding these into your program for all of the benefits of weighted squats!
Benefits of Goblet Squats
As with most squat variations, goblet squat variations train all of the major muscles in the lower body. They also engage the muscles of the shoulders and arms, the core, spinal erectors, and even the upper back.
Most squat variations are considered full-body exercises as they do force you to engage almost every muscle group. However, don’t confuse engaging a muscle group with targeting it if you are looking for growth.
Because they are a full-body exercise, they burn a ton of calories! Any squat movement is fantastic for weight loss and toning muscles up. This movement happens to be considered one of the safest ones, especially if you are new to weights.
What Does a Goblet Squat Work?
Most trainers would consider them a full-body exercise. However, they predominantly target the legs, placing more load on the quads.
Because of how the weight is distributed while performing a goblet squat, they are a great way to build extra strength or size in the quadriceps.
As mentioned earlier, one of the primary benefits of goblet squats is that they help improve your form for other squat variations. This is because holding the weight in front of your body enforces the need to keep your torso upright and core engaged.
Tipping forward while squatting is a common mistake for all levels of lifters. However, goblet squats reduce the chances of doing so, as a forward tilt will most likely result in losing your balance.
Additionally, the need for the elbows to go between the knees during this movement encourages proper knee alignment while squatting. It also helps increase awareness of depth making it easier to judge whether you are getting a full range of motion while squatting.
How to Goblet Squat
This simple movement does not require much! All you will need is a kettlebell or dumbbell and these instructions:
- Stand with your toes angled out and feet slightly wider than your hip distance.
- Hold the weight in both hands as if you were cupping a goblet at chest height.
- Tighten your core, keeping your spine neutral and eyes ahead.
- Take a breath, pushing the air into your stomach.
- Press your hips back, bending your knees, with your heels firmly planted until your knees and hips reach a parallel position. Your elbows should be aligned with your knees.
- Now reverse the movement, exhaling as you push up through your heels.
Notes: Keep your core engaged, the weight close to your body, and your chest tall throughout the movement.
If you want a goblet squat alternative, try landmine squats! The movement is similar, but they require less balance and are easier to make incremental changes in weight with.
You will need a barbell and weight plates in order to perform the landmine squat.
- Place one end of the barbell in a corner or a landmine squat attachment.
- Add your desired weight to the other end of the barbell.
- Follow the steps above for the movement.
Notes: One light difference with this movement is that it can be performed with both hands like the goblet squat or the weight can be held in one hand like the image shown above.
Watch For These Mistakes
The goblet squat is a relatively simple movement. However, here are some things that will do more harm than good!
Holding the Weight Out Too Far
Keep the weight close to your body to prevent strain on your biceps, shoulders, or back. This will also encourage proper squat form! You want the weight as close to in-line with your center mass as possible.
Leaning at the Waist
Leaning at your waist can strain your spine as it cannot maintain proper alignment. Additionally, you are more likely to lose balance if you bend or tip at the waist.
If you notice you are leaning forward, focus on pulling your shoulders back as if you are squeezing your spine and keeping your chest up. If you continue to struggle keeping a neutral spine, try lowering the weight and increasing your rep count or slowing down the movement.
Leaning may also be showing the need to increase core strength. You can learn more about increasing core strength here.
Pushing Into Your Toes
Pushing through your toes will throw off your balance, and if it transfers to other squats could cause a serious injury. If you notice you are rising on your toes rather than keeping your heels planted, try lifting your toes off the ground during the movement.
With any squat movement it is important to push through your heels to maintain balance and correct squat posture as well as prevent other injuries.
Another pervasive issue while squatting is not going to full depth. It’s understandable, considering the deeper the squat is, the more difficult it becomes.
However, you are not getting the full benefits of a squat and are increasing injury potential if you end the movement early.
If you are not getting to full depth, try decreasing the weight and slowing down the movement until you are comfortable hitting full depth.
How to Increase Intensity
If you find that you can no longer add weight or cannot transition into the goblet squat barbell variation known as the front squat, here are some ways to increase the intensity:
- Slow down – try a 3-5 second count on the way down and again on the way up.
- Add a resistance band – loop it over your shoulders and under the center of your foot.
- Use two dumbells – hold them at the shoulders rather than the chest.
These are a great beginner movement because of their safety. However, if you experience knee or back pain while squatting, you may have the same issue with goblet squats as well. At this point, consider talking to your doctor about other movements.
For full beginner workouts check out our free workout plans section of the website!
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