How to do Goblet Squats With Proper Form (Video & FAQ)

Do you want to learn how to do a goblet squat with proper form?

You are in the right place!

The goblet squat is one of the best squatting variations for perfecting your technique in a controlled setting.

Let’s get started.

brittany doing a goblet squat while holding a dumbbell up by her chest



  • It helps you develop proper squatting mechanics as the weight forces you into an ideal squatting position
  • Maintains your torso more upright than traditional squats, making it a lower back friendly exercise
  • Improves hip, knee, and ankle mobility
  • Allows you to train the squat pattern even in the presence of injuries


The goblet squat trains all the major muscle groups in the lower body and a few others, including:

  • Quadriceps
  • Adductors
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Core Muscles
  • Upper Back Muscles


There are two ways to do a goblet squat: with a kettlebell or a dumbbell.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

  • Obtain a kettlebell and grab onto the handle with both hands directly opposite one another (they come in different sizes, so if you are a beginner, start with the smallest one)
  • Bring the weight up in front of your chest by flexing your arms and keeping your elbows close to your body
  • Set your stance slightly wider than shoulder width with your feet pointing forward or out no more than 15-30 degrees
  • Here is how the starting position looks
brittany standing up with a kettlbell at her chest with her feet wider than shoulder-wdith-goblet-squat
  • Begin the squat by simultaneously bending at the hips and knees while keeping your spine neutral
  • Keep squatting until your depth is below parallel
  • Below parallel means that your hip crease is below the top of your knee when looking from the side
brittany squatting down and holding a kettlbell up by her chest goblet-squat
  • Reverse the movement by pushing straight back up with even pressure across your feet
  • Exhale at the top of the lift and squeeze your glutes to finish extending your hips

Goblet Squat Form With A Dumbbell

Next, let’s quickly go over how to do the dumbbell goblet squat.

  • You can also do this exercise with a dumbbell
  • Position the dumbbell in a vertical orientation, and hold onto either side of one bell, as seen in the video
  • Bring the weight up to your chest by flexing your arms and keeping your elbows close and tight to your body
  • The remainder of the movement is the same as above
brittany performing a dumbbell goblet squat

You may also set your feet at a significantly wider stance (aka a sumo squat) to target the adductor muscles more.


It is very difficult to perform the goblet exercise incorrectly.

However, the most common mistakes include:

  • Not keeping your feet flat on the floor
  • Allowing your knees to collapse inward toward each other
  • Not keeping your spine neutral (don’t over arch and don’t round your spine)
  • Using excessively heavy weight (this movement isn’t ideal for heavy loads)

By the way… the good morning is just one of several compound exercises you should be doing.

To see a list of the most important exercises, check out our E-book that goes over all the best compound movements for the entire body!


I also review them in The Best Compound Exercises of All Time.


Do goblet squats help squats?

Goblet squats can help improve your barbell squat as you are activating the same muscle groups in both movement patterns.

Additionally, goblet squats require you to maintain good posture throughout the movement, which can also help improve your squatting technique.

Can you build legs and muscle mass with goblet squats?

Yes, you can build muscle in your quads and adductors with the goblet squat.

The only problem with this exercise is that your grip will become a limiting factor once your legs are strong enough to squat a lot of weight.

Why are goblet squats so hard?

Goblet squats are challenging because your arms cannot hold as much weight as your back.

In addition, goblet squats force you to use proper technique throughout the movement. This movement will be challenging if you have poor mobility in your hips, knees, or ankles.

Here are some stretches that can help increase your flexibility.

How heavy should a goblet squat be?

If you are a beginner, you should start with a light weight and learn the proper form before increasing the weight.

As you get stronger, you can work your way up to 0.5 times your body weight for sets of eight repetitions.

For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, you can work up to 100 lbs for eight reps or more. Over time, you will be limited by the amount of weight you can stabilize with your arms in front of your body.

Beyond 100 lbs, the exercise becomes too cumbersome.

Are goblet squats easy on your knees?

When performed correctly, goblet squats are a great way to strengthen the legs and the muscles around the knees.

Because you cannot load the goblet squat as heavy as other squats, they place less strain on the knees and joints.

Additionally, goblet squats can be easily modified to suit your fitness level, making them safe and effective for most people.

How deep should you go?

Ideally, you should squat down until your hips are slightly below your knees while your feet remain flat on the floor.

You can squat deeper if you have adequate mobility to maintain proper positioning the entire time.

If you do not yet have the mobility to do a deep squat, go as low as you can without breaking form.

You can also place some small weight plates underneath your heels, which can help improve your range of motion.

Why can I goblet squat but not back squat?

The goblet squat forces you to keep your torso upright which can help you stay in a better position and go deeper. Once the weight transitions to your back, your squatting mechanics may change.

The upright position of the goblet squat resembles a barbell front squat more than a back squat.

Use as many squatting variations as you can to increase your strength and skills in many different angles.


Want to know how to use this exercise in your workout? Check out The Best Workout Template For Busy Individuals to learn how to build functional strength, regardless of age or work schedule.


Below is a list of several other squat variations you can include in your training program!


The goblet squat is a great alternative for beginners who need to learn the proper squat technique, which is essential for daily life and longevity.

Holding the weight in front of the body allows you to maintain good form and decrease your risk of injury.

In addition, the upright posture helps improve core strength and upper back strength.

Have you incorporated this effective exercise into your training routine?

Comment below and let me know!


Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Alex & Brittany Robles are physicians, NASM Certified Personal Trainers, and founders of The White Coat Trainer: a resource dedicated to improving the health and fitness of busy professionals using time-efficient strategies. Their advice has been featured in My Fitness Pal, Prevention, Livestrong, Reader’s Digest, Bustle, The Active Times, and more. Learn more about them here.

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