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Quick Guide to the Kettlebell Goblet Squat

By Greg Brookes
Kettlebell Goblet Squat

What is a Goblet Squat?

The kettlebell goblet squat is a great exercise for strengthening your lower body and core muscles. It requires proper form, technique, and control to maximize the benefits of this complex movement.

In contrast to the traditional squat, the goblet squat forces you to keep your torso upright with your chest held high, resulting in improved mobility and balance while also engaging more muscle mass throughout the entire range of motion.

Furthermore, holding a kettlebell at the front of your chest during the descent increases tension on the abdominal muscles and provides an additional challenge.

When performed correctly, the kettlebell goblet squat can be extremely effective and a safe way to build strength and size as well as enhance athleticism and performance.

Let’s get started:

Kettlebell Goblet Squat Form

Begin the goblet squat by holding the kettlebell in front of your body at chest height with both hands.

Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body and eyes looking forwards.

Feet should be a little wider than shoulder width apart with the toes pointing naturally outwards at 5 – 10 degrees.

Start the squat by pushing your hips backwards as if sitting back into a chair or sitting down with ski boots on.

Ensure your bodyweight is back on your heels and they do not lift off the floor during the complete exercise.

Keep your chest up and facing forwards as if your ribcage is being lifted.

As you sit back and down into the squat weak gluteal muscles and hips may cause the knees to fall inwards, you must force the knees outwards and prevent this from happening.

Continue descending into the squat until your thighs become parallel with the floor, this is important to achieve maximum activation of the buttock muscles, one of the most popular common mistakes.

Pause at the bottom of the squat position for 1 – 3 seconds and then drive back up to standing by pushing the floor away from you. Stay on your heels.

Once you get to the starting position, stand tall, squeeze your buttocks tightly together and avoid leaning backwards.

If you find sitting back into the squat difficult try opening your legs wider to create a little more room for the squat.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat Benefits

The goblet squat activates most of the muscles in the body especially in the legs, hips, buttocks, back and core muscles.

Here are some additional benefits of the goblet squat:

  1. Opens up the vertebra of the lower back helping prevent back pain
  2. Creates a pumping effect distributing fresh blood and nutrients to damaged areas
  3. Teaches good body alignment using the counterbalance of the kettlebell
  4. Activates the often lazy buttocks or glute muscles effectively
  5. Improves hip mobility and ankle mobility with increased range of motion
  6. Helps prevent knee pain by developing greater strength in the stabilising muscles
  7. Burns calories and elevates your metabolic rate
  8. Increases cardio without the need to move your feet

The goblet squat not only offers all of the above benefits but it is also one of the most important functional movement patterns of the human body.

When you become efficient at the goblet squat, movement in general just becomes a lot easier.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat vs Sumo Squat

Many people confuse the goblet squat with the sumo squat (or Plie squat).

Fundamentally the two kettlebell exercises are the same except for the feet positions.

The sumo squat takes a much wider stance and the feet are turned out a bit wider.

The change in foot position means that the inner thighs get worked a little harder with the sumo squat but the glutes, hips and thighs are still activated in a similar way to the goblet squat.

For some people with flexibility issues the sumo squat can be a little easier because the opening up of the hips makes the descent into the squat easier as it creates more space at the hips.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat Variations

There are a few variations of the kettlebell goblet squat that you can try:

  1. Change the kettlebell handle position to facing upwards and hold by the kettlebell body
  2. Use the crush grip by having the handles facing sideways and squeezing the body of the kettlebell with open hands
  3. Add an overhead press to the movement for the kettlebell goblet squat and press
  4. Don’t have a kettlebell? Then perform the dumbbell goblet squat, or use a weight plate or medicine ball held in front of the body
  5. The landmine squat is also an ideal squat variation if you require a little more stability during your squat technique
Kettlebell Goblet Squat and Press
Goblet Squat to Press

Learn more squats: 7 kettlebell squats you need to know

What Muscles does the Goblet Squat Work?

The goblet squat is predominantly a lower-body exercise targeting the quads (rectus femoris and vastus muscles) hamstrings, glutes (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus) and hips. The deeper the squat the more muscle activation you will achieve.

Other than the lower body the back (erector spinae) and core muscles also have to work hard to stabilise the trunk. Plus, as you are holding a kettlebell the shoulders and forearms will also be activated.

The kettlebell goblet squat truly is a full-body exercise which means that it is great for burning calories and increasing your heart rate.

Those who have not tried a heavier set of 20 goblet squats are always surprised at just how cardiovascular this exercise can be.

Can you do Goblet Squats everyday?

Just like any type of exercise, recovery is important to grow stronger.

It is important to distinguish between practice and challenging workouts.

If you use a light weight and don’t perform too many repetitions then this can be classed as practicing and daily goblet squats will help you to hone your technique.

However, if you find you are sore the next day or push yourself and find performing just 10 repetitions challenging then you may need to take a day’s rest after each workout.

Bodyweight squats and the Air squat may be a better option for daily workouts.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat Workout

Once you feel comfortable with the kettlebell goblet squat you can start adding a heavier weight or other kettlebell exercises to form a great full body workout.

Full Body Kettlebell Workout

  1. Kettlebell Goblet Squats x 10 reps
  2. Kettlebell Halo x 5 reps each direction
  3. Repeat 3 – 5 circuits

The workout above is a great start for beginners. The goblet squat takes care of the lower body while the halo challenges the upper body.

You could easily substitute the Kettlebell Halo for Push Ups if you have good upper body strength.

kettlebell halo exercise
Kettlebell halo exercise

Want more? 5 kettlebell exercises for beginners with workouts


The kettlebell goblet squat is a fundamental kettlebell exercise and functional movement pattern that all beginners should master.

It is a great alternative to the barbell squat and it’s fundamentally safer to perform a front squat rather than a back squat regardless of the load.

Not only is this compound exercise good for building strength and burning calories but it also helps keep your joints healthy and mobile.

The goblet squat provides the perfect foundation for other kettlebell exercises using the squat like the thruster, racked squat and pistol squat.

Take care and enjoy this fun and highly effective kettlebell exercise.

Have you tried the kettlebell goblet squat? Let me know more below.

52 Kettlebell Exercises Download PDF


How do you do a goblet squat with a kettlebell?

Hold the kettlebell with both hands at chest height, sit your hips backwards and squat down keeping your heels on the floor, don’t allow your knees to fall inwards. Drive back to standing from your heels.

How much weight should you goblet squat?

Everyone has a different strength capacity so first master the goblet squat without a kettlebell and then add weight gradually every time you can manage 10 reps.

How do I make my goblet squat harder?

The simple answer is by adding more weight or performing more reps.

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    1. Russell Avatar

      I have a knee replacement, so I tend to avoid squats. I noticed you said nothing about whether this exercise is good for people with bad knees.