Goblet squats are one of my absolute favorite leg exercises, and they are one of the first leg exercises I recommend to people. There are many benefits of doing goblet squats regardless of whether you are new to weight training, a professional athlete, or anywhere in between.
In this article, I will break down some of the primary benefits of goblet squats, what muscles goblet squats work, how to do goblet squats, and how to use goblet squats in your workout routine.
What Is a Goblet Squat?
A goblet squat is a squat variation where you hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your body as if it were a “goblet.” The positioning of the dumbbell or the kettlebell is the primary difference between the goblet squat exercise and other squat variations.
Goblet squats are an effective leg exercise, but since you will be holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in a “goblet” position, it is unlikely that you will be able to use a lot of weight. That is actually another benefit of goblet squats, but I will discuss more about that later.
What Muscles Do Goblet Squats Work?
The primary muscles that goblet squats work are the lower body muscles of the quadriceps, gluteus, and hamstrings. The lower body muscle activation and ease of learning make goblet squats one of the best exercises for jumpers knee.
Along with the major lower body muscles, the calve muscles are also used in the goblet squat exercise since they play a role in producing force from the ground to stand up after squatting down.
Additionally, the goblet squat uses muscles of the core, upper back, chest, shoulders, and arms to hold and maintain the “goblet” position. Goblet squats are such a great abdominal exercise that I ranked them as one of my top alternatives to crunches.
In many ways, the goblet squat is a full-body exercise, although it is primarily a lower-body, posterior chain exercise.
How to Do Goblet Squats
The goblet squat exercise is often used as a foundational exercise in squat progression training to teach proper form and body position because it is a relatively easy movement to learn. In fact, the relatively light resistance held in front of the chest emphasizes and assists with maintaining an upright torso, so you might find doing goblet squats even easier than doing bodyweight squats.
Here are a few specific cues for how to do goblet squats properly:
- Pick up a dumbbell or a kettlebell in the front-loaded position while keeping your feet flat, and hold the dumbbell or kettlebell like a goblet (as the name suggests)
- Brace your core and keep your chest tight. Control the weight with your core and upper back muscles.
- Lower yourself and squat between your legs; projecting the knees out with your elbows.
- Push yourself up!
The traditional goblet squat is honestly a simple movement.
Most people can learn how to properly goblet squat within a few attempts, making it one of the best functional movements for beginners.
The Top 4 Benefits of Goblet Squats
Here are my top 5 specific benefits of goblet squats, and reasons why I believe you should start adding goblet squats to your workout routine:
1.) Goblet Squats are Safe, Simple, and Effective
In my opinion, the number one benefit of goblet squats is that they are safe, simple, and effective. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced weightlifter, everyone can benefit from an exercise that is safe, simple, and effective.
The primary aspect of goblet squats that makes it safer and simpler to perform is the anterior (front) loaded position of the weight helps individuals maintain upright trunk posture during the squat, which decreases shearing stress on the lumbar spine (Collins et al, 2021).
Additionally, for a safe and simple exercise, goblet squats are very effective for building lower-body muscle mass, improving total-body strength, and enhancing overall physical fitness.
2.) Goblet Squats Help You Move Better (Improve Your Mobility)
Not only are goblet squats an easy exercise to learn, but one of the main benefits of goblet squats is that they will actually help you move better. Meaning, doing goblet squats will help you become better at more advanced weight training exercises like the back squat or deadlift, along with helping you move better through daily life activities like walking upstairs or picking items up off the ground.
The movement pattern of the goblet squats helps individuals learn to brace their core while moving, and it is a great exercise for improving hip mobility. Additionally, it can improve mobility of the ankles, knees, and lower back.
Learning how to do goblet squats correctly is a great way to get a stronger, healthier body.
3.) Goblet Squats Will Help Improve Your Body Composition
Since goblet squats are essentially a full-body exercise, doing goblet squats burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
Additionally, weight training is a great option for people who are looking to lose fat and keep muscle mass because it will help with building lean muscle mass throughout your body, which will steadily increase your resting metabolic rate and make improving your body composition easier.
Goblet squats are a great exercise for any weight training program because they have a high metabolic demand while being performed, and they can help produce lean muscle mass gains throughout your body since they use many different muscle groups at the same time.
If you want to get an aesthetic body, goblet squats are a great exercise for you!
4.) Goblet Squats Help You Maintain Proper Posture
Having good posture is the root of preventing chronic back pain along with a host of other health problems. However, proper posture has become more difficult for humans due to the invention of cars, office jobs, computers, cell phones, and other new-age devices.
One of the most important benefits of goblet squats is that they will help you develop and maintain proper posture by strengthening your upper back and core, along with improving your hips.
Goblet squats are an intense exercise for the rectus and transverse abdominal muscles, and they also help strengthen the scapula and upper back muscles.
There are other shoulder exercises you can do at home which will help with the upper back postural muscles, but goblet squats are an outstanding full-body exercise for obtaining and maintaining proper posture.
Concluding Thoughts – Goblet Squats Benefits
I elaborated on the four main goblet squat benefits, but there are several other benefits of doing goblet squats as well. For example, goblet squats are great because you don’t need much weight to do them and you will still have a great workout. You can do dumbbell goblet squats or kettlebell goblet squats (kb goblet squats) with as light as 10-15 pounds.
However, you can also choose to do heavy dumbbell or kettlebell goblet squats if you have more equipment available.
Furthermore, you can try doing goblet squats on a BOSU ball if you want a more unique challenge. Although you don’t produce as much force, strength, or power training on a BOSU ball, it does activate your stabilizing muscles more.
I have found BOSU ball goblet squats particularly helpful for keeping my knees healthy and strong.
Overall, there are many reasons that I love the goblet squat exercise, and it is always one of the first exercises I tell other people to do. My wife does goblet squats, my mother does goblet squats, my friends do them when they train with me, and the list goes on.
Regardless of the reason you are exercising, there are many reasons to love doing the goblet squat exercise! Feel free to leave questions in the comment section. If you are interested in working with me on your fitness goals, please feel free to check out my online fitness coaching service.
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