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Goblet Squat - Exercise Database

The goblet squat is one of THE fundamental squat exercises and variations.

I personally use goblet squats and simple variations every single week in my program designs for all of my programs.

It's vital to learn how to squat correctly and it happens that the goblet squat is not only a great exercise... but a great training tool for learning to squat correctly.

Let's get into:

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    How to do the goblet squat

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    Drills to make your squat better

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    Small variations and progressions

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    Heel elevated goblet squat

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    Kettlebell goblet squat

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    Dumbbell goblet squat

How To Do The Goblet Squat

Kindal showing how to hold the kettlebell for the goblet squat. Hold the bell directly under the handles.
Kindal at the top of the goblet squat. She is twisting her feet into the ground and making sure her legs are turned on.
Kindal at the bottom of the kettlebell goblet squat. Notice her knees are pushed out because she twists her feet into the ground. She is very balanced and in a great position.
Kindal at the bottom of the kettlebell goblet squat but from the front position. You can see her knees are out past her feet. Her torso is tall and her balance is strong. Be engaged at the bottom of the squat.

Step 1

Pick up your weight... right below this step I break down the basics of how to hold the weight if you're using a dumbbell or a kettlebell...

Once you initially get your weight in position...

Take a good stance... standing tall.

A good stance is a little unique to each woman. If you're not sure what you're unique stance is...

Start with your feet shoulder distance apart.

As you get better at squatting and improving your mobility... practice going a little narrower and a little wider.

You'll soon discover what works great for your body and hip structure.

form tip

I am only going to cover the basics of how to hold a dumbbell and kettlebell for the goblet squat.

There is only one "correct" way to hold the kettlebell... technically two.

But for the dumbbell... there are numerous ways to hold it. I have a post detailing how to hold a dumbbell for the goblet squat .

For the kettlebell... hold it under the handles so the bell is right in-front of your chest.

The base position for the dumbbell is holding the bells of the dumbbell with your hands.

If you're going heavier... you can put your palms under the bells. Make sure you read my post about how to hold the dumbbell.

Pictures are below this tip... I wanted to make them as big as possible for you.

Step 2

Here are the most important setup tips.

One... twist your feet out (direction) and into the ground without letting your feet actually twist out. It's like you're gripping your feet into the ground.

This will immediately create muscle tension through your legs. It will help activate your glute medius. And it will "plug your hip joints into their sockets".

Two... pull your core in and hold it in and engaged.

This will help you stand taller which is very important as you squat low.

Three... hold the weight off your chest. Don't let it rest on your chest.

This will activate your back muscles (in a good way) to hold your body up... and it will prevent your from leaning forward.

Step 3

Keeping your feet twisting into the ground... squat down.

It's really important your hips go down. You are not doing a hip hinge... but a lot of women struggle with mobility issues that pull their torsos forward. I'll cover this in more detail soon.

The depth of your squat depends on the type of squat your doing and on your mobility. More on this below as well.

Once you hit the appropriate depth... keeping good balance with your feet twisting into the ground... come back up.

Start knocking out reps.

Goblet Squat Depth

The lower you go in a squat... the more hip and ankle mobility you'll need.

Improving on hip and ankle mobility is easy to do, but it requires consistent practice.

At different squat depths, different muscles get worked more than others.

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    Above parallel your quads get hit more

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    Below parallel your hamstrings activate more

In just a minute you'll learn about a drill that will help you with squat depth and mobility too.

form tip

One of the best ways to improve mobility is to get in the the position you're trying to improve. Let me explain...

If you want to improve your position in a deeper squat... get into that position as best you can.

Make sure you do this safely... but get into a low squat and just hold the position for 45 to 60 seconds. Preferably 60 seconds or longer.

Similar to stretching... by getting into these positions... your body will start to release and open up to these position.

It's commonly said... the best way to improve any body position is to spend more time in that position.

Goblet Squat Key Form Queues

Knees Out

You might hear a lot that you want your knees to track straight over your feet. This is NOT CORRECT!

Your knees should track over your feet (past your toe line)... but also towards the outside of the outer most (lateral) edge of your foot.

There are a couple ways to think about this:

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    Push your knees out as you squat down

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    Twist your feet into the ground which will force your knees out

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    Activate the arches of your feet by lifting your arches (inner foot) off the ground

I prefer you think about twisting your feet into the ground.

When you twist your feet, automatically:

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    Your arches will activate

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    Your glute medius muscles will engage

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    Your knees will be pushed out

Twisting is the way to go.

Squat Your Hips Down

A very common form issue women face when learning the goblet squat (or any squat) is...

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    Keeping their hips high

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    Bending forward at the waist

This is more like a hip hinge you would perform with a kettlebell deadlift . A hip hinge is not a squat.

Here's how to fix this.

Grab a box or a chair (medicine ball works too) and start squatting (or just sitting) down to the chair.

This will force you to lower your hips. And while it's not the best "form" for a "real" squat... the goal at this point is to get you to lower your hips.

As you learn more... you can start to do "real" squats down to the chair or a box and use it as a depth gauge.

Keep Your Torso Tall

So I just mentioned a very common beginner squat issue is letting your upper body lean forward.

One of the main benefits of the goblet squat is the fact that the weight is held a few inches off your chest.

By holding the weight off your chest... your back properly activates, forcing you to hold your torso tall.

Think about it... if you're holding a weight at your chest height... and you lean forward... you'll lose control of the weight.

So the goblet squat keeps your torso tall... there by putting the ability of doing a good squat on your hip and ankle mobility.

2 Key Goblet Squat Stretches

Here are two goblet squat stretches that will make the biggest impact and they are easy to get started with.

Forced Lizard Pose

Kindal showing the forced lizard pose. You can really see her back hip is in extension. The knee is behind the hip joint.

Step 1

Get into the top of a pushup plank.

Take one of your legs and step the foot outside your hand. The leg should be bent at 90 degrees or a little more.

Step 2

Take your back leg and fully extend it and flex your quads.

Then work hard to flex and squeeze your butt check on the leg that is back in space.

Your arms stay straight with your shoulders over your (or slightly) past your hands.

Next push your hips down trying to push your back hip into extension. This means your knee moves behind the front of your hips.

Assisted Low Squat Ankle Pulses

Kindal showing how to do ankle pulses without the help of the rig. But you see she is keeping her heels down and leaning forward with her knees past her toes.

Step 1

Stand in-front of a door jam or a rig if you have access to a gym.

Stand tall and place your hands on the door jam with your feet about shoulder width apart like you're going to squat.

Slightly twist your feet into the ground. It also helps to have your feet slightly turned out... maybe a little more for this stretch.

Step 2

Keeping your hands on the door jam... lightly.

Squat down as low as you can. Take notice of how low you can go until your heels pop off the ground.

For this stretch... you can lean back while holding on to the door jam. This will allow you to squat all the way down so your butt is only a few inches off the ground.

Step 3

Stay in balance. Don't worry if your spine rounds.

Pull yourself towards the door jam so your hinging as much as you can at the ankles.

Listen to your ankles, but this is what will help you improve your ankle mobility.

Ready To Learn More Exercises And Transform Your Body?

Learning how to exercise correctly makes a huge difference in the results you can expect.

And most programs and apps out there do not teach... coach... or train you how to perform exercises when you need the help.

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This a special program so go to the pricing page and see if there are any active memberships open.

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Another program I offer is called Habit . I build 30 day programs where each program focuses on a particular skill or style of workout.

It's really fun because as you collect programs you can mix and match workouts.

I even train you how to do this.

Go explore the current 30 day workout programs . You can access all of these on my Vimeo page .

Let me know if you have any questions about the goblet squat. Leave a common on the YouTube video.

Go follow me on the social accounts and let's get strong together!

Kindal squating and working her way through a tough metabolic strength workout

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