Goblet squats are a simple and effective exercise to help you build abs of steel and full-body strength. In fact, goblet squats are a staple exercise for you to assess and build your overall strength.
With goblets squats, the weight is held in front of you as a counterbalance, which can help you learn to master proper squat form and technique.
Holding a weight in front of your body – whether a dumbbell, sandbag, or kettlebell – is much harder than squatting the same amount of weight on your back with a barbell. Goblet squats deeply engage your core, build leg and shoulder strength, and increase full-body tension.
Here’s exactly how to do goblet squats, from set-up to execution:
- Stand upright with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, hands cupping a dumbbell comfortably in front of your chest.
- Keeping your head up and shoulders locked down, lower your hips down while pushing your knees outward so they track in line with your toes.
- Squat down until your hips are below the plane of your knees.
- Press strongly through your feet (especially your heels) to stand back up to the starting position.
Mastering the goblet squat and optimizing your strength is all about form and technique. Keep these tips in mind as you do this exercise.
- Always maintain a flat to slightly arched lower back position (known as a neutral spine). Avoid rounding your lower back, or tucking under your hips.
- Keep your knees pushed outward so they track over your toes. Your knees should not cave inward, but rather stay in the same plane.
- Keep your heels firmly planted on the ground as you squat.
- Keep your torso as vertical as possible, so you are not leaning too far forward.
- Breathe in, then lower down while holding your breath, then exhale forcefully as you push back up to the top.
3 Common Mistakes
1. Knees Cave In
A very common mistake when doing goblet squats (and squats in general) is for the knees to cave in and the feet to collapse inward. This can happen for a couple of reasons:
Your knees should be in line with your toes as you squat, and your feet should be angled slightly outward, which gives you more space to get your hips into a deep squat position.
2. Not squatting low enough
Doing partial squats is not as effective as squatting deeply with a neutral spine. Ideally, your hip joint will drop below the plane of your knees at the bottom of the squat position, without rounding your low back (aka butt wink). This maximally engages your glutes and legs in a very functional squat pattern.
To be clear, squatting “below parallel” or getting into a deep squat should not hurt your knees. And keep in mind – you need sufficient ankle, hip, and upper back flexibility to squat deeply without your lower back rounding.
For more information, check out “How Deep Should I Squat” and “5 Tips to Increase Squat Depth”.
3. Heels coming off ground
As you squat, your heels should be planted firmly on the ground. This is key to activating the proper muscles involved in a squat such as your glutes, increasing joint stability, and maximizing your strength potential.
If your heels come off the ground, the exercise is not safe because you could lose your balance. I highly recommend flat-soled shoes or taking off your sneakers when squatting. A thick sneaker will significantly affect your squat form, the placement of your joints, and the recruitment of muscles.
Add Goblet Squats To Your Workout Program
Goblets squats are a classic exercise that help increase your strength & power. If you haven’t done them yet, give them a try. I personally prefer holding kettlebells over dumbbells, but you can use the piece of equipment that you’re more familiar with.
Working up to a 1/3 bodyweight goblet squat for 5 reps is a solid strength goal, and from there you can focus on doing 1/2 bodyweight goblet squats.
Are goblet squats a part of your workout program? Any questions about how to master proper form?