How To Do A Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Kettlebell squat

Whatever your fitness goal is, squats are a must. They’re not called the king of exercises for nothing! Squats work every muscle in your lower body and a few in your upper body, too, when you do them with weights.

Squats can help you build muscle, get stronger, burn fat, run faster, and jump higher; they’re a very versatile exercise. 

When it comes to squats, most people imagine doing them with a barbell on their shoulders, the so-called back squat.

However, this is just one squatting variation, and others include front squats, overhead squats, trap bar squats, Zercher squats, box squats, prisoner squats, squat jumps, hack squats, and split squats. 

The kettlebell goblet squat, the subject of this article, is another great squat variation, and it deserves to be part of your workout. The main advantage of the kettlebell goblet squat is that it teaches you how to squat properly; it’s very hard to do incorrectly. 

Also, to do this exercise, all you need is a single kettlebell. No squat rack or barbell is required. Because of this, it’s ideal for home exercisers. 

In this guide, we explain how to do goblet squats and the benefits and advantages of this particular exercise.

Goblet Squats

What Muscles Do Goblet Squats Work?

As a compound exercise, goblet squats involve several joints and muscles working together. The main muscles trained by doing goblet squats include: 

Quadriceps

Located on the front of your thighs, the quadriceps or quads for short are responsible for knee joint extension. There are four quadriceps muscles; vastus lateralis, vastus intermediaries, vastus medialis, and rectus femoris. 

Gluteus Maximus

Known as your glutes for short, this is the large muscle on the back of your hip. Its primary function is hip joint extension. 

Hamstrings

Located on the back of your thighs, the hamstrings flex your knee and work with the glutes to extend your hip. The three hamstrings are semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris.

Core

This is the collective term for the muscles of your midsection, including erector spinae, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominus, and obliques. These muscles form a natural weightlifting belt to support your lumbar spine. 

Upper Body

Kettlebell goblet squats involve holding a weight in front of your chest. This means your arms, upper back, and shoulders also get a workout, albeit indirectly. 

Benefits of Kettlebell Goblet Squats

Goblet squats are a very beneficial exercise. Reasons to make goblet squats part of your workouts include: 

Convenience

You don’t need a barbell or a squat rack to do goblet squats. In fact, all you really need is a single kettlebell or a dumbbell. Because of this, you can do goblet squats at the gym or even at home. 

Build Muscle

Goblet squats are an excellent quadriceps builder. If you want bigger thighs, goblet squats can help. Raise your heels on one to two-inch blocks to make them even more quads-centric. 

Safety

Getting stuck at the bottom of a barbell back squat could cause serious injury. With goblet squats, you can just put the weight down if you are unable to complete your reps. This means goblet squats are safe to do alone when barbell back squats could be dangerous. 

Get Stronger

Bodyweight squats are an excellent way to tone your legs and build endurance. But, if you want to get stronger, you need to lift weights. Goblet squats provide a safe and convenient way to overload your leg muscles. 

Fat Burning

As a compound exercise, goblet squats use lots of muscles at the same time and will elevate your heart and breathing rate. Because of this, and especially when done for high reps with short rests between sets, goblet squats can help you burn fat and lose weight

Learn and Reinforce Good Squatting Technique

Goblet squats force you to squat with good technique. They teach you how to squat correctly, and that’s useful if you wish to progress to more challenging types of squat, such as barbell front and back squats. 

Train Your Entire Body

While goblet squats are undoubtedly a lower body exercise, they also involve your arms, shoulders, and upper back. If you are short of time but still want a comprehensive workout, goblet squats are an excellent do-it-all choice. 

Versatile

Whatever fitness goal you want to achieve, goblet squats can help you reach it. Done with heavy weights, they build muscle and strength, but light goblet squats are good for muscle tone and endurance. Adapt the exercise to suit your needs. 

How To Do Goblet Squats

There are two ways to do most exercises – the right way and the wrong way. The right way keeps the tension on the target muscles and off your joints. The wrong way increases joint wear and tear, could cause injury, and makes the exercise less effective. 

Get more from goblet squats by doing them correctly.

1. Hold your kettlebell in front of your chest by the vertical handles. The top of the handle should be just below your chin. Pull your shoulders down and back. Your upper arms should be tucked into your sides. 

2. Step out and into a shoulder-width stance. Turn your toes out slightly. Brace your abs and lift your chest. 

3. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Keep your torso relatively upright. Take care not to round your lower back, as doing so increases your risk of injury.

Woman doing a kettlebell squat

4. Without bouncing, drive your feet into the floor and stand back up. 

5. Inhale as you squat down and exhale as you stand back up. 

No kettlebell? No problem! You can do goblet squats with a dumbbell. Just hold the weight vertically with your hands cupped beneath the inside of the uppermost weight plate. Dumbbell goblet squats are just as effective as the kettlebell variation. 

Goblet Squat Variations

While basic goblet squats are an excellent exercise, there are a few variations you can use to make sure your workouts are never boring. 

Paused Goblet Squats

Squat down as usual but then “hover” in the bottom position for 2-3 seconds before standing up. This increases time under tension and makes light weights more challenging.

The longer you pause, the harder this variation will be. Make sure you keep your core tight during the pause, as relaxing could cause injury. 

Box Goblet Squats

Squat down to lightly touch a bench or box with your butt. This exercise keeps you honest and ensures that you do each rep to the same depth. Descend carefully; hitting the bench too hard could compress your lumbar spine and cause injury.

Goblet Squat/Swing Supersets

Do your kettlebell goblet squats as normal but then, instead of resting, transition immediately into kettlebell swings. To do swings:

  1. Hold your kettlebell in front of your hips. Stand with your knees slightly bent, feet about shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Push your butt back, lean forward from your hips, and lower the weight between your knees. 
  3. Drive your hips forward and, keeping your arms straight, swing the weight forward and up to shoulder-height.
  4. Swing the weight back down and repeat.

Man doing kettlebell goblet squats into a swing

This combination of exercises works the front and then the back of your thigh in one time-efficient combo. Work on a 1:1 ratio of squats to swings. 

Bottom Line

It’s none to clear who invented goblet squats, but whoever it was, they created a fantastic exercise. Goblet squats provide a safe, convenient, and practical way to train your legs, even if you don’t have access to a squat rack. All you need is one single, solitary kettlebell or dumbbell. 

As well as being a beneficial leg exercise, goblet squats work your core and your upper body too. That’s what makes them so useful for fat burning and weight loss. Working all those muscles at the same time burns a LOT of calories. 

Goblet squats share a lot of similarities with barbell front squats. Both involve a more upright position than barbell back squats and work the quads more than the hamstrings.

However, front squats can be very uncomfortable and require excellent upper body flexibility and mobility to do correctly. Goblet squats are much more accessible and better suited to a wider range of exercisers. 

Whatever you are training for, goblet squats can help you reach your fitness goals. They’re ideal for building muscle, increasing strength, burning fat, improving cardiovascular fitness, and increasing sports performance.

Goblet squats really do deserve to be part of your strength training workouts.

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