There are many ways you can make the regular squat weighted. Find out how to do goblet squats and whether they are any good.
Goblet squats are a weighted squat variation where you hold extra weight, usually a dumbbell or kettlebell, in front of your chest with the help of your arms.
A big potential downside of goblet squats is that your upper body muscles can fatigue before your strong leg muscles had a good workout.
For this reason, goblet squat alternatives tend to be more effective for actually growing and strengthening the leg muscles that you work.
That being said, you could still be able to do goblet squats in a somewhat effective way or have no other options due to equipment limitations.
In these cases, goblet squats can still offer nice benefits over doing nothing.
How to do a goblet squat
You typically do a goblet squat with a dumbbell or kettlebell but you could also consider free weights like a medicine ball, weight plate, sandbag, etc.
As an example, take the following steps to do a goblet squat with a dumbbell:
- Put a dumbbell on the ground, stand over it with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and put your hands on the most forward weight of the dumbbell.
- While holding it tightly, swing the dumbbell forward and upward so that you can keep it in front of your chest.
- Lower your upper body as far as comfortable by folding your legs. Keep your spine more or less straight and your knees above your feet throughout the movement.
- Slowly raise your body again until your legs are slightly less than stretched.
To slow down upper-body muscle fatigue, you want to really hold the weight against your chest while doing goblet squats.
Additionally, you want to pay attention to keeping your spine more or less straight and your knees above your feet.
Muscles worked with goblet squats
Some of the main muscles worked with goblet squats are your quadriceps (front thighs), biceps, deltoids (shoulders), upper trapezius (upper shoulders/neck), and forearm grip muscles.
Additionally, you work your glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), calves, and erector spinae (lower back) to some extent too.
You typically do squats to grow and strengthen your quadricep muscles. However, it is very possible that your upper body muscles fatigue in goblet squats before these strong quad muscles had a good workout.
Ideally, you would be able to go so heavy in goblet squats that you can only complete 6 to 12 repetitions before your quadriceps can’t continue.
However, this will not always be possible.
Another difference with certain squat variations is that holding the weight in front of you allows you to keep your body more upright during goblet squats.
This allows you to squat slightly lower and focus less on your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles. Generally, this also means that goblet squats focus more on the quadricep muscles.
Benefits of goblet squats
Goblet squats are often not optimal but it is still fair to say they offer positive points on top of the regular squat benefits.
A few of these more unique benefits of goblet squats include:
- More muscle growth potential: Compared to bodyweight squats, the extra weight in the goblet version offers more muscle growth potential.
- You train more different muscles: Holding the weight in front of you makes goblet squats work extra muscles and more standard ones in different ratios. Some people will find this a benefit.
- Easier on your back: The weight in front of you make it easier to stay upright. In turn, you could find goblet squats more comfortable on your lower back.
- Safer without spotter or safety bars: Compared to back squats, goblet squats are less punishing if you can’t get out of the bottom position. You can simply fold your arms and place the weight on the ground.
Whether these benefits are enough to make goblet squats worth it to you depends on details like your training goals and what exercise alternatives you have available.
Goblet squat alternatives
If you have the equipment and preferences for them, you can likely get more results by choosing a good goblet squat alternative. A few examples are:
- Front squats
- Back squats
- Regular squats
- Bulgarian split squats
- Jump squats
As you can see, even with almost no equipment there are more effective ways than goblet squats to challenge your leg muscles.
Are goblet squats a good exercise?
While goblet squats can still offer benefits, it is hard to call this a good exercise besides for something like improving leg muscle endurance.
It tends to be too challenging to get and keep a weight that is heavy enough for muscle growth to chest height and keep it there during goblet squats.
Since this is so important, you likely want to choose one of the other compound leg exercises available. Even without much equipment, you can likely find better options.
That being said, personal preference and training goals still matter.
If you like goblet squats and only want to improve muscle endurance you could still consider this exercise. You will still get nice benefits from moving your body instead of sitting still.
What are goblet squats good for?
Goblet squats are mostly good for doing a weighted squat variation if you only have one dumbbell or kettlebell per weight level. Other weighted squat variations and even certain bodyweight leg exercises tend to be better than goblet squats for growing and strengthening muscles.