Last updated on May 18th, 2021 at 04:36 pm
Today I’d like to introduce you to my ever so simple goblet squat workout (well a few workouts to be more precise).
The goblet squat happens to be one of my favourite exercises ever.
I’ve even managed to create a small army of goblet squat followers and fans at my local gym.
These are guys and gals, who I’ve got to know over the years, that have approached me and asked why I seem to perform this particular exercise so often.
I typically use it as a warm up, as part of a conditioning workout, to build muscle, and even for strength purposes (if you can find a weight heavy enough).
I have explained to many of my gym friends why I have such an affinity towards the goblet squat, so I guess it’s only fair that I also share these details with YOU.
Plus, let’s get the obvious question out of the way, “Why is it called the Goblet Squat?”
It’s basically because the shape your hands and forearms makes when you “cup” a dumbbell resembles a goblet (wine goblet).
Table of Contents
Goblet Squat Workout
Goblet Squat Muscles Worked
I’ve spoken about the goblet squat in passing in various articles, but as it is one of my favourite ever exercises, I thought it deserved an article of its own.
I think the reason I have such a “love” for this exercise is that it is a full-body movement, which works numerous muscles in the body.
As this is a squat movement you would think that it is a great lower-body exercise, and yes indeed it is.
You work the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
If you’re performing the exercise correctly you’ll also target the hips and hip flexors (which form part of the core, more on this in a second)..
However, it’s the additional muscles that are worked that make this such a fantastic full-body exercise.
The entire core (front, back, and sides) gets a really good going over, and I have mentioned many times before that some of my greatest ab development has been due to regular goblet squats.
Using either a kettlebell or dumbbell, your biceps, forearms, lats, and middle back have to do a fair amount of work.
Plus, when using a kettlebell to perform goblets squats, your grip certainly gets tested.
So, all-in-all, whether you’re looking to burn body fat, add muscle, or build strength, the more muscles you use, the better chance you have of achieving any of these.
And the goblet squat definitely works a LOT of muscles.
Goblet Squat Technique
The main reason I started using the goblet squat was to fix my squat technique.
I had previously come across an article on Men’s Health about how the goblet squat is typically used as a great way to learn how to squat properly.
This is something it seems that we are all born with, and then somehow we manage to lose the ability as we age.
Watch any child, even infants who can barely walk, yet they all seem to be able to drop into the perfect squat, and hold the position for what seems like forever.
However, as we get older, probably less flexible and mobile (I’m even talking about once we’re in our teens here), we seem to completely lose that ability to perform one of the most basic human movement patterns.
With that said, I know there are many countries around the world where people still drop into a perfect squat, and will literally hold a conversation for hours while in this position.
Nevertheless, in the western world, squatting seems to be a lost art.
The perfect goblet squat technique to me involves sinking down into the squat position as deep as you can go.
Your feet stay flat on the floor throughout.
Then use your elbows to push your knees out, and try to sink a little lower.
Your chest should remain high and your back in perfect alignment.
I’m guessing most people will be slightly scrunched over, with the shoulders hunched forward, the chest almost parallel to the ground, and who else knows what other atrocities we may see.
The squat should always be performed with the torso sinking perfectly between the legs.
A good way to practice squat technique initially is to hold onto a doorknob, or a partner’s hands, while you sink perfectly into position.
Your aim should be to have the torso in perfect alignment, as though you were standing tall, as opposed to being folded forwards.
The Goblet Squat Exercise Guide
That “Famous” Dan John Goblet Squat Article
Pure and simple, the man who invented the goblet is Dan John.
When it comes to exercises or workouts you’ll usually find that there are various sources which cite who invented them.
Then someone else will pop up saying that they thought about it years earlier and then lay claim to the invention.
Well, there’s no such confusion with the Goblet Squat.
Everywhere you turn, no matter what or where you read, Dan John will always be the person who invented the Goblet Squat.
Dan first came to fame as an athlete who broke the American record in the throw pentathlon (hammer, shot put, discus, javelin, and weight throw).
Since then, he has spent over 30 years coaching, and has helped literally hundreds (if not thousands) of athletes pack on pounds of serious muscle.
When it comes to coaching, Dan is viewed as “The Guru”.
Please make sure to check out Dan’s article – Goblet Squats 101.
It is this article that started the goblet squat phenomenon.
Dan John: Goblet Squat
My Various Goblet Squat Workouts
As I mentioned, the reason I first started using the goblet squat was to hone my squat technique.
It’s important to note – it’s not squats that hurt your knees or your lower back, but rather how you perform them that will.
So, due to the fact that I was recovering from a lower back injury a number of years ago, and I wanted to perform the “big lifts” once again, I started to use the goblet squat.
Another article that I read in Men’s Health magazine suggested that you should attempt to perform 10,000 goblet squats over a period of about 6 months.
This would ensure that you would never have to worry about squat technique again.
The recommendation was to aim for 300-400 goblet squats a week, typically in workouts of 100 reps.
So, I actually set about doing this, and to be honest I’ve never looked back since.
However, I wanted to keep it interesting, and therefore I created some of my own workouts using the goblet squats.
Allow me to introduce a number of these to you today:
100-Rep Goblet Squat Workouts
- There are a number of ways to achieve the reps, with the most obvious being 10 sets of 10 reps.
I would typically do this by warming up by performing 10 reps of goblet squats with a weight that was approximately 25% of my own bodyweight.
I’d go a little heavier each time until by my 4th set I was completing 10 reps with a dumbbell equivalent to half my bodyweight.
I will usually take 60 seconds rest between sets, so this workout should be completed in well under 20 minutes.
- Another 100-rep workout would involve picking a weight (once again this would be fairly close to half my bodyweight) and just getting to 100 reps as quickly as possible.
So, no set rep or rest schemes, just keep going as quickly as you can, while maintaining perfect form.
- Next – an absolute killer. Take a weight that is approximately one-third of your bodyweight and go for 100 reps straight.
If you have to stop to take a rest, that’s fine, but you can’t put the weight down (this is better performed with a dumbbell as it’s easier to hold onto than a kettlebell), but obviously aim for 100 reps in a row.
- Finally, we have the ascending/descending ladder to achieve 100 reps.
This is another fantastic conditioning goblet squat workout, as not only are you performing 100 reps, but you’re also setting the dumbbell/kettlebell down on the floor and picking it up and again a total of 19 times.
So, you perform 1 rep, put the weight on the floor.
Pick the weight up, perform 2 reps, and put the weight on the floor again.
Pick up weight, 3 goblet squats, put the weight on the floor.
Carry on with this precise method until you’ve hit 10 reps, and then work your way back down again, i.e. 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.
The Goblet Squat Test
I’m not entirely sure where I first came across this test, but it certainly “tests” just about everything you can think of – strength, muscular endurance, technique, conditioning, etc.
Basically, you name it, it gets tested.
The aim is to be able to perform 25 straight reps of goblet squats with a dumbbell equal to half your bodyweight.
Trust me, easier said than done.
Goblet Squat Kettlebell Swing Workout
I’m not entirely sure if I invented this workout myself, although there are certainly many variations of it around.
It’s a very basic workout that I will typically do with a 24kg kettlebell (the heaviest kettlebell I have access to).
Perform 10 goblet squats.
Put the kettlebell on the floor.
Pick it up and perform 15 kettlebell swings.
Perform 10 sets.
Rest as and when necessary.
By the end of the workout you have performed 100 goblets squats and 150 kettlebell swings.
If you can complete this workout in under 20 minute consider yourself to have done well.
Under 15 minutes, you’re awesome.
Under 10 minutes – you should take up some form of professional sports.
A second and much easier goblet squat kettlebell swing workout would simply be to perform a descending ladder of 10 reps to 1 rep of kettlebell swings supersetted with 1 rep to 10 reps of goblet squats.
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Strength Training with Goblet Squats
Not being the biggest guy in the world, and also having access to 55kg dumbbells means I can perform some decent strength training with the goblet squat.
However, irrespective of your size, if you can squat with a 55kg dumbbell with perfect form, you’re doing well.
I typically use the biggest dumbbell available to me to complete a 5×5 workout (5 sets of 5 reps).
Obviously this will only form one part of my workout.
That’s about it for the main types of workout I do using this incredible exercise, but I will often use the goblet squat as part of my warm up routine.
It makes perfect sense really, as you’re firing up literally every muscle in the body.
Nevertheless, only use fairly light weights when using this as a warm up.
Bella Breaks Down Her Goblet Squat
Goblet Squat vs. Front Squat
This is a question/argument I come across fairly often, “Which is better, the goblet squat or the front squat?”
My answer to this question, and in fact any other question that asks for a comparison between 2 exercises, “Why not just do them both?”
Yes, there are “good exercises” and there are “bad exercises”, but usually for comparison purposes, the two exercises are quite closely aligned to each other.
So, I regularly perform both the goblet squat and the front squat.
However, they are obviously not the exact same exercises, and you will work slightly different muscles, simply due the fact that the weight is being held in a different manner and in a different position.
From a personal perspective, I will typically use the goblet squat for conditioning and muscle building.
The front squat I will use more for strength purposes, as it’s much easier to use/find a heavier weight.
So, with goblet squats, I guess my rep range will usually be anywhere between 10-25 per set (or 100 reps when I’m performing the one-set workout), whereas for front squats it will be 3-8 reps.
I will also say that although both variations will require a great deal of mobility in the hips, knees, and ankles, the front squat also requires additional mobility in the wrists and shoulders due to how you hold the bar.
You could also argue that the front squat will require greater upper back and core strength to maintain a more upright torso angle, although I don’t think there is a great deal of difference here.
I even know people who will use the goblet squat as a precursor to the front squat, typically as a warm up, and while this is all well-and-good, I think you’re missing out if you only ever use the goblet squat as a warm up.
As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of the goblet squat.
Personally, I think every single person should perform the goblet squat on a regular basis.
The squat is a basic movement pattern, and one that is unfortunately lost on many of us.
So, the goblet squat will not only help you learn great squat technique, but it’s also the ideal way to stay in great shape.
Irrespective of your body composition goals, whether you want to get strong, build muscle, burn fat, or lose weight – the goblet squat will help get you there.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.