Goblet Squat Form: How to Get Goblet Squats Right Every Time  

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Looking for an accurate guide on goblet squat form? 

You’ve come to the right place. 

Despite what you’d think, there are actually a few important steps that most people miss out when it comes to goblet squat, and getting it right will allow you to avoid injury and maximise your gains. 

Let’s get right into it and take a look at correct goblet squat form and how to get them right every time.  

How to Do a Goblet Squat 

Step 1 — Set Up 

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. 
  • Hold a dumbbell vertically with both hands, cupping the top end of the dumbbell close to your chest. Keep your elbows pointing down and your wrists aligned with your forearms. 

Step 2 —  Squat Down 

  • Initiate the movement by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, maintaining a straight back and upright torso. 
  • Lower your body into a squat position by pushing your knees out and aiming to bring your thighs parallel to the ground or slightly below. Keep your weight in your heels. 

Step 3 — Stand Up 

  • Drive through your heels, engage your glutes, and extend your hips and knees to stand up, returning to the starting position. 
  • Maintain control and proper form throughout the movement, ensuring that your knees track over your toes and your chest stays lifted. 

Dumbbell Goblet Squat Overview 

The dumbbell goblet squat is a popular variation of the squat exercise that involves holding a dumbbell close to your chest, similar to how you would hold a goblet.  

It is a versatile and effective exercise that targets your lower body muscles while also engaging your core and upper back.  

Dumbbell Goblet Squat Video Exercise Guide

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W5KAqHfDe8

Benefits of Goblet Squats 

Prevents Exercise Injury 

One of the most significant goblet squat benefits is that it is a safe and effective exercise for individuals new to squatting or those recovering from injuries.  

It helps establish proper squatting mechanics and reduces the risk of injury during more advanced squat variations.  

Prevents Knee Pain from Squats 

Goblet squats place less stress on the knees compared to other squat variations. The goblet position encourages a more upright torso and ensures proper knee alignment, minimizing knee pain and strain. 

Improves Jumping Performance 

Goblet squats strengthen your lower body muscles, particularly your quads and glutes, which are essential for generating power and explosiveness during jumps and athletic movements. 

A Valid Teaching Tool  

Goblet squats serve as a valuable teaching tool to improve squat form and mechanics.  

The goblet position promotes an upright torso, activating the core and upper back muscles, and helps individuals understand the proper depth and range of motion in a squat. 

Postural Strength in the Squat  

Goblet squats engage the upper back muscles, including the traps and rhomboids, to maintain an upright torso throughout the movement. This promotes postural strength and helps prevent the rounding of the shoulders and upper back. 

Enhanced Core Strength  

The goblet squat requires significant core engagement to maintain stability and control throughout the movement. It strengthens the abdominals, obliques, and lower back muscles, improving core strength and stability. 

They’re Accessible  

Goblet squats are easily accessible as they only require a dumbbell, making them suitable for home workouts, gym settings, or even when traveling. 

They’re More Back-Friendly 

Compared to barbell squats, goblet squats place less stress on the lower back.  

The front-loaded position of the dumbbell encourages a more upright torso and minimizes the risk of lower back strain. 

Other Variations of Goblet Squats 

Heel-Elevated Goblet Squat 

Perform the goblet squat with your heels elevated on a stable surface, such as weight plates or a wedge.  

This variation increases the demand on your quads and ankle mobility. 

Close-Stance Goblet Squat 

Bring your feet closer together, narrower than shoulder-width apart, to emphasize quad and inner thigh activation. This variation also challenges your balance. 

Pause Goblet Squat 

Add a pause at the bottom of the squat, holding the position for a few seconds before standing up. This increases time under tension and enhances muscle strength and control. 

Goblet Squat Alternatives 

Barbell Front Squat 

Hold a barbell across the front of your shoulders, resting on your clavicles and fingertips. This exercise places more emphasis on core stability and upper back strength. 

Zercher Squat 

Hold the barbell in the crook of your elbows while performing the squat. This variation engages the core, upper back, and quadriceps. 

Sandbag Front Squat 

Hold a sandbag in front of your chest while performing the squat. The unstable nature of the sandbag challenges your core and grip strength in addition to the lower body muscles. 

Common Mistakes 

Holding the Weight Too Far From Your Body 

Keep the dumbbell close to your chest throughout the movement. Holding it too far away can strain your shoulders and compromise your form. 

Leaning Forward From the Waist 

Maintain an upright torso throughout the exercise. Avoid excessive forward lean, which puts extra stress on your lower back and reduces the engagement of your lower body muscles. 

Rising Up On Your Toes 

Keep your weight in your heels throughout the movement. Rising up on your toes places undue stress on your knees and reduces the effectiveness of the exercise. 

Knees Caving Inward As You Squat 

Focus on pushing your knees outwards in line with your toes. Allowing your knees to cave inward can strain your joints and compromise proper form. 

Not Utilizing the Full Squat 

Aim to squat deep enough so that your thighs are at least parallel to the ground, if not slightly below. Partial squats limit the activation of your muscles and reduce the benefits of the exercise. 

Safety and Precautions 

As with any exercise, safety should be a priority. Consider the following tips when performing goblet squats: 

  1. Check with Your Healthcare Provider: If you have any existing medical conditions or concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program. 
  1. Start with a Comfortable Weight: Begin with a weight that allows you to maintain proper form and complete the desired number of repetitions with control. Gradually increase the weight as your strength and technique improve. 
  1. Maintain Proper Form: Focus on maintaining a neutral spine, keeping your chest lifted, and engaging your core throughout the movement. Avoid rounding your back or letting your shoulders slouch forward. 
  1. Warm Up: Prior to performing goblet squats, warm up your body with some light cardio exercises and dynamic stretches to increase blood flow and prepare your muscles for the workout. 
  1. Progress Gradually: If you’re new to goblet squats, start with bodyweight squats or lighter dumbbells to practice proper form and gradually increase the weight as you gain strength and confidence. 
  1. Use Proper Footwear: Wear supportive athletic shoes that provide stability and cushioning to protect your feet and ankles during the exercise. 

Dumbbell Goblet Squat Tips 

  • Focus on Breathing: Inhale as you lower into the squat and exhale as you push up to maintain a steady flow of oxygen to your muscles and stabilize your core. 
  • Engage Your Core: Throughout the exercise, consciously activate your core muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine. This helps stabilize your torso and protect your lower back. 
  • Maintain Control: Perform the squats in a controlled manner, avoiding any rapid or jerky movements. This allows for better muscle activation and reduces the risk of injury. 
  • Practice Mind-Muscle Connection: Focus on engaging the targeted muscles, particularly your quads, glutes, and core, throughout the entire movement. Visualize them working and contracting with each repetition. 

Goblet Squat Sets and Reps 

The number of sets and repetitions for goblet squats can vary depending on your fitness level and goals.  

A general guideline is to start with 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions. Adjust the weight and repetitions based on your comfort and ability to maintain proper form. 

Muscles Worked by the Goblet Squat 


One of the main goblet squat muscles worked is the quads. The quadriceps, located on the front of your thighs, are the primary muscles targeted during the squatting motion. 


The gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, are activated during the squat, providing stability and power. This is especially the case when it comes to the elevated goblet squat muscles worked. 


Goblet squats challenge your core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back, to maintain stability and control throughout the exercise. 

Upper Back 

The muscles of the upper back, such as the traps and rhomboids, are engaged to support an upright torso and maintain proper form. 

Who Should Do the Goblet Squat 


Goblet squats are an excellent starting point for individuals new to squatting or strength training. The goblet position promotes proper form and helps build a solid foundation before progressing to more advanced squat variations. 

Strength and Power Athletes 

Goblet squats can be incorporated into the training routines of strength and power athletes to enhance lower body strength, power, and stability. 

General Populations 

Goblet squats are beneficial for individuals of all fitness levels. They can be used to improve overall strength, functional fitness, and body composition. 

Try It Out 

If you haven’t already, give the goblet squat a try. It’s a versatile and effective exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, improves strength, and enhances functional fitness.  

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, the goblet squat can be a valuable addition to your workout routine.  

Remember to focus on proper form, gradually increase the weight, and listen to your body.  

So grab a dumbbell, position it like a goblet, and squat your way to stronger legs, core, and overall physical fitness. 

Goblet Squat Form – FAQs 

What Is The Proper Form Of A Goblet Squat? 

Here is a brief guide to proper goblet squat form:  

  1. Start by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands at chest level, close to your body. 
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out. 
  1. Engage your core, keep your chest up, and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement. 
  1. Lower your body by bending at the knees and hips, as if sitting back into a chair. 
  1. Keep your heels on the ground and lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor or slightly below. 
  1. Push through your heels to rise back up to the starting position, fully extending your hips and knees. 

What Are Goblet Squats Good For? 

Goblet squats are good for building lower body muscle mass and strength.  

They are also good for injury prevention and aiding other lifts.  

What Makes Goblet Squats Different? 

The thing that makes goblet squats different is the unique positioning.  

When you look at the goblet squat vs regular squat or goblet squat vs front squat, you will quickly realise that the goblet squat has a completely different position to most other squats. 

This changes how it effects your muscles and can provide unique advantages.  

Why Are Goblet Squats So Much Harder? 

Goblet squats are so much harder because they require a ton of lower back strength just to maintain the position. 

In most cases when doing the goblet squat, your back will tire before your legs.  

What Is the Difference Between The Goblet Squat And The Sumo Squat? 

The difference between the goblet squat and the sumo squat is that the goblet squat involves holding an object with your hands around chest level, while a sumo squat relies on a barbell or dumbbells to add resistance.  

Doing a goblet squat vs sumo squat comparison is somewhat unfair – they are both completely different exercises despite them both being squats.  

How Deep Should I Squat? 

You should squat as low as you can without risking injury or causing pain. 

Most people can hit at least parallel with a little training and a good warm-up.  

Can Advanced Lifters Build Muscle With Goblet Squats? 

No, most advanced lifters will not be able to build muscle with goblet squats.  

Goblet squat weight is much lighter compared to other squat variations because of its unique positioning, and it is highly likely that advanced lifters will not be able to lift enough weight to stimulate hypertrophy in the lower body.  

We hope this article will be of some use to you! 

Mastering goblet squat form can allow you to maximise your gains and avoid injury, and once you get it right, you will benefit for years to come.  

For more exercise information, head over to MovingForwards