Blog Fitness Trainings Master The Goblet Squats: Muscles Worked, Variations, And Quick Tips

Master The Goblet Squats: Muscles Worked, Variations, And Quick Tips

Squats are the foundation of every workout. You can find multiple variations of this exercise, from barbell squats to goblet and bodyweight squats. This is one of the most functional routines and helps build stronger glutes (1). Goblet squats have increased in popularity over the past few years, due to their ease and effectiveness. This exercise has no prolonged learning curve, as it is similar to other squatting variations. It is often considered an excellent choice for muscular hypertrophy goals (2). One of the most asked questions among gym goers is about muscles worked during a goblet squat. If you want to add this to your workout routine, you have landed at the right place. This article explores all you need to know about goblet squats: muscles worked, steps, and tips to reap the most rewards. Let’s dive in!


How To Do A Goblet Squat?

To perform a goblet squat you only need a kettlebell or dumbbell and enough space to move comfortably. Ensure your feet are positioned hip-width to shoulder-width apart.

  1. Hold the weight close to your chest, cradling it with both hands just below your chin. Keep your elbows tucked in by your sides.
  2. Stand firmly on the ground, finding a comfortable stance that suits you. Experiment with different positions, adjusting the width of your stance as needed. Also, angle your feet slightly outward.
  3. Initiate the squat by simultaneously pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Ensure your knees don’t collapse inward by actively pushing them outward.
  4. Continue descending until your thighs are parallel to the floor or lower.
  5. Push through both feet while maintaining a slight knee bend to return to a standing position. Utilize your entire foot, not just the heels.
  6. As you stand tall, gently engage your buttocks (glutes). Avoid thrusting your hips forward excessively, which can strain your lower back.
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The exercise is named “goblet squat” because it resembles holding a goblet in your hands.

If you don’t have access to a kettlebell, you can substitute it with a dumbbell, medicine ball, or any other object you can hold with both hands at chest level. When using a dumbbell, hold it vertically with your palms beneath the top of the weight. Avoid gripping the weight too tightly. For a medicine ball, hold it between your hands at chest level. If the medicine ball is larger, placing your hands slightly underneath it may provide better comfort and support.

If your ankle mobility is limited and affects your squat depth, you can try elevating your heels by placing plates or objects under your feet. This can assist in achieving a greater range of motion during the squat.

Read More: Squat, Throw, Catch: The Wall Ball Workout Guide You Need To Gain Muscle And Lose Fat


Do Goblet Squats Work Glutes?

Like other squat variations, the goblet squat primarily targets the glutes and quads. As you grip the weight close to your chest, your core muscles stabilize your trunk throughout the movement. Additionally, the lats and upper back muscles play a role in maintaining the position of the dumbbell or kettlebell.

The goblet squat specifically emphasizes the major muscles in the lower body, including the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Unlike a regular squat, the goblet squat incorporates weights by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell against your chest. This front-loaded position challenges your core even more during the squatting motion.

The weight placement slightly shifts your center of gravity, facilitating better balance as you descend into the squat. You can stretch and strengthen your glutes by achieving a deeper squat with proper form.

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You tend to lean forward and compromise your balance when you hold the weight in front during a goblet squat. To counter this, it is essential to maintain a raised shoulder position and a strong core throughout the exercise.

Many muscles are involved in maintaining stability during a goblet squat, but the main ones are (3):

  • Front of the shoulder muscles (anterior deltoids)
  • Front torso muscles (rectus abdominis, which is the muscle responsible for the “six-pack” appearance)
  • Deeper abdominal muscles near the spine (transverse abdominis)

Do Goblet Squat Work Hamstrings?

Squats primarily target the quadriceps and glutes, but they don’t put as much emphasis on the hamstrings as some people believe. Including other exercises targeting the hamstrings on leg day is important for a well-rounded lower-body workout. So, while squats are great for certain muscles, they are not the same as hamstring-focused exercises.

Some studies show that squats are insufficient for hamstring development (4). The hamstring is a part of the goblet squat muscle group, but this exercise doesn’t work extensively on the hamstring.

Your hamstrings are a group of three muscles found at the back of your thigh. These muscles called the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus, start from the pelvis and connect to the lower leg, called the tibia (5).

The hamstrings play an important role in exercises that involve extending your hip and flexing your knee, such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges. They help you move your leg backward and bend your knee, making them essential for various lower body movements.

Research also shows that our hamstrings help in the squat by (6):

  • Providing a stabilizing force at the knees
  • Directing force on the shin bone in opposition to the anterior tibial force produced by the quads
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To sum up, the hamstrings help us stay stable during squats but are not directly involved in weight lifting. Exercises like leg curls and stiff-leg deadlifts are more effective if you want to target your hamstrings specifically.

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goblet squat muscles worked

Do Goblet Squats Work Quads?

Glutes and quads are the primary players when discussing the kettlebell goblet squat muscles worked. A study published in 2021 in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealed that goblet squats focus on working the quadriceps muscles and adding more weight to your body (7). The same journal published in 2012 that when athletes incorporated goblet squats and other kettlebell exercises into their training routine, they experienced improved strength and power within six weeks.

The goblet squat is a natural position for many because it is the same as lifting a heavy object from the floor. This makes it pretty effortless. This exercise helps you practice and improve your body’s alignment and posture, similar to everyday positions in regular activities. Doing goblet squats can enhance your ability to move correctly and reduce the risk of injury during everyday tasks.

What Are Some Variations Of A Goblet Squat?

Now, let’s sneak a peek into some goblet squat variations. You can perform this exercise with different equipment and target specific muscle groups accordingly.

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Sumo Goblet Squat

The standard goblet squat with a dumbbell allows a balanced load distribution on the quads. You will find that the inner thighs are the core areas when researching the sumo goblet squat muscles worked. The reason is that the wide sumo stance used in goblet squats involves placing your feet 1.5 to 2 times wider than your shoulder width apart.

Heel Elevated Goblet Squat

Heel elevated goblet squat helps you to isolate the quads even more. This involves placing a platform or a weight plate under your heels as you work out. Quads are the key heel-elevated goblet squat muscles worked because your knees bend further and move beyond your toes, allowing an elevated quad activation.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Kettlebells are an excellent alternative when you don’t have access to dumbbells. The movement in this exercise is also the same. You must hold a kettlebell against your chest by holding the lower part of its handle with the palms facing inward.

Besides the three main variations, you can also look into a landmine goblet squat, a banded goblet squat, or a goblet squat with a plate. Consult a professional trainer who will guide you according to your physique and fitness goals.

Read More: Master The Wall Squat Exercise In 6 Easy Steps: A Beginner’s Guide

Do Goblet Squats Build Muscle?

A goblet squat is a fantastic exercise because it relieves tension in your body while still giving a good workout to your quads and glutes, which are the main muscles involved. Even better, this movement is suitable for people of all fitness levels, making it a great choice for everyone.

While your glutes and quads are the superstar muscles that will reap the most benefits, your core is in for a challenging workout too. Goblet squats strengthen your buttocks and thighs and boost your midline. So, get ready to feel stronger and more stable in your core as you add goblet squats to your routine!

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goblet squat muscles worked

What Muscles Are Worked When Doing Goblet Squats?

In goblet squats, the main muscles getting a workout are your quads, glutes, and adductors (inner thigh muscles). Your calves, lower back, and deep core muscles are also involved. Maintaining proper alignment to engage the correct muscles at the right moments for desired results is important.

Goblet squats are a great choice for lower body or leg day workouts. But to achieve your fitness goals you should follow a comprehensive resistance training plan designed for building muscle.

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The Bottom Line

The goblet squat seems like an effortless way to make your workouts more effective. Dan John, a strength and conditioning coach, was the first to introduce this routine in fitness circles. Ever since, this movement has helped beginners to learn how to squat with good form.

If you have knee or back pain while doing regular squats, there’s a chance you might also experience it during goblet squats. To see if you can exercise without pain, limit how far you lower yourself. This way, you can test whether the goblet squat feels comfortable.

As you know everything about goblet squats – muscles worked and variations, you can create a workout strategy according to your health and fitness targets. Don’t forget to tell us how you plan to go about it!



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Try These Squats for Glutes for a Well-Rounded Workout (2021,
  2. How to Do the Goblet Squat for Lower Body Size and Mobility (2022,
  4. The Role of the Back Squat as a Hamstring Training Stimulus (2000,
  5. Muscles in the Posterior Compartment of the Thigh (n.d.,
  6. EMG analysis of lower extremity muscle recruitment patterns during an unloaded squat (1997,
  7. Differences in Muscle Activity and Kinetics Between the Goblet Squat and Landmine Squat in Men and Women (2021,
  8. The Goblet Squat Helps Tone Your Core and Lift Your Butt (2022,
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