Goblet squat has been introduced by Dan John. It acts as a technique for large number of individuals on how to perform squat without the use of a large list of cues. The method to pick up a dumbbell or a kettebell automatically helps to provide initial cues that are required to perform good squat. The goblet squat is one of many great kettlebell exercises you can use to strengthen the lower body and anterior core. This exercise is a perfect option if you are learning how to master the squatting movement and gain the requisite levels of strength and stability before you move on to the more advanced squatting variations and with more resistance.
If you’re looking to improve your squatting form, consider holding a weight. It may sound counterintuitive after all, tacking on resistance typically makes a move more challenging but when it comes to squatting, adding heft (in the right way) might actually help.
That’s the case with the goblet squat, a weighted squat variation that Don Saladino, celebrity trainer and owner of NYC-based gym Drive495, recently shared in an Instagram video. “The goblet squat is an effective and safe way to squat,” Saladino whose clients have included Blake Lively, Emily Blunt, Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Sebastian Stan, among others writes in the caption. “I use this for mobility and a strength builder”.
Although a kettlebell is used for this exercise, if you do not have access to a kettlebell, you can use a dumbbell. Just make sure that your upper body and torso remain in the same position as if you were holding a kettlebell.
The goblet squat with a kettlebell might be too advanced for women who are just beginning to strength train. This might be due to lack of strength, stability or mobility. A few great exercise options for beginners could include goblet box squats (squatting onto a box/bench and standing up), or body-weight squats (regular tempo, pause squats, or negatives).
Women who have mastered the body-weight squat and are ready for more resistance should place the goblet squat at the beginning of their workout. Beginners should complete 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions with light weight.
The kb goblet squat is a great option for the intermediate lifter, and is pretty versatile as it can be placed at the beginning of the workout to prepare the body for more advanced exercise variations, or it can be performed after the more advanced movements have been completed. You can perform this exercise on its own, you can pair it with another exercise as part of a super set, or can you even make it part of a metabolic conditioning circuit. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps of the goblet squat.
Women who are comfortable with the goblet squat exercise can choose to perform negative goblet squats where the lowering phase to each position is increased to 3-5 seconds. This trains the muscles eccentrically. You can also perform the pause squat variation, pausing for 3-5 seconds in each position, or you can combine the negative and pause squat variations. You can also increase the weight/resistance for multiple sets (2-4+) of fewer repetitions (3-6).More advanced lifters may also opt to perform other goblet style squat variations such as an offset goblet squat by holding the kettlebell with one hand in the rack position. It is best to drop the weight by about 30-40% when transitioning to an offset goblet squat to ensure that you can complete your desired sets and reps with good form. Another option for more advanced lifters is to perform a double kettlebell rack squat. With this option, you will hold one kettlebell in each hand in the rack position, which allows you to increase the resistance quite a bit.
Benefits of Goblet Squats
There are many goblet squat benefits. The goblet squat is very beneficial for someone who might not currently have the requisite levels of technical proficiency, strength, stability and mobility to perform barbell front squats. Like the barbell front squat, this exercise also trains the body to remain in a more upright position, and challenges the core muscles, particularly the anterior core. This exercise can be used in many different kettlebell workouts for women. How a woman chooses to use the goblet squat is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much weight is being used, the set/rep scheme used, where the exercise falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general, the goblet squat can be used to do any or all of the following:
- increasing lower body strength, primarily in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings
- increasing upper body strength, especially if a heavier kettlebell is being held
- increasing core strength, particularly the anterior core
- building muscle
- fat loss (if your diet and exercise routines are conducive to fat loss)
- increasing conditioning (if used as part of conditioning circuits)
- transitioning from an unloaded squat to a loaded squat
How to perform a Goblet Squat
- Clean the kettlebell up to the starting position. If you are not comfortable doing this, get somebody to pass it to you.
- Grab the kettlebell by the “horns” making sure that you keep the kettlebell right against your chest. To do this, squeeze your upper arms into your sides. You can even pretend that you are crushing something in your armpits. Allowing the kettlebell to separate from your body will cause the muscles in your lower back to do unnecessary work.
- Before you descend into the squat, take a deep breath in (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core (imagine that you’re about to block a soccer ball with your stomach), and lightly tuck your rib cage down towards your hips (close the space in your midsection).
- While maintaining muscular control and the same tempo the entire time, simultaneously move at the knees and hips, and aim to sit between your heels.
- As you stand up and lock out at the top position, squeeze your glutes, quads and hamstrings, brace your core, and keep your rib cage down (close the space in your midsection) to prevent your lower back from arching and help you maintain proper alignment.
- Keep your torso relatively upright and your chest up.
- Make sure that your weight remains in the mid-back portion of your feet but keep your toes down, particularly your big and baby toes. This will improve your stability and strength, and ability to perform the exercise.
- Maintain a neutral spine.
- Do not allow your knees to collapse in or fall outside of your feet.
- Squat only as deep as proper form allows you to go. Do not sacrifice form for depth.
- Reset before each rep.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
- Make your first set your warm-up set and just use bodyweight or a lighter kettlebell.
- Only add more weight when you have good goblet squat form. Your number one priority should be good form, not making yourself tired.