The Goblet Squat Helps Tone Your Core and Lift Your Butt

This squat variation is seriously underrated.

Goblet squats are air squats performed with the addition of a dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, or anything else that's heavy and compact. 

"Goblet squats require you to hold the weight in front of your chest—usually so that your hands are positioned as if you're holding onto a goblet," explained Shane Savoy, a personal trainer at New York Health & Racquet Club.

But goblet squats are a little less about the fire and more about the burn. In other words, goblet squats give you a whole-body type of burn. 

"Goblet squats are a full-body movement. They work your quads, calves, glutes, and entire core, and your arms and grip strength because you're holding onto the weight," said Savoy. "They're an awesome choice for people looking to tone their cores and increase their glute strength at the same time."

So, the goblet squat may be your new go-to move if you're trying to save time in the gym while tightening your abs and lifting your butt. Here's how you correctly perform goblet squats, some variations of the move, and its benefits. 

How To Correctly Perform Goblet Squats

Savoy said you could hold a kettlebell with the handle facing up or down if you're using a kettlebell. Then, take note of the following steps to perform a goblet squat, according to the American Council on Exercise:

  1. Hold a weight at your chest using both hands and stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. When you're ready to begin, brace your core, then drop your butt back and down to lower into a squat while keeping your chest up.
  3. As you squat, sit back into your heels without shifting your weight forward onto the balls of your feet. Try to get as deep into the squat as possible to maximize glute activation.
  4. Then, driving through your heels, come back up to standing and squeeze your glutes at the top. That's one rep.

Savoy recommended warming up with two sets of 10 to 12 reps at a very low weight and then doing three working sets of eight to 12 reps at a moderate weight. A moderate weight should be challenging but manageable. 

For example, if you want to use a 35-pound kettlebell in the workout, warm up with a 12- or 16-pound kettlebell first.

Goblet Squat Variations

Want to up the ante? Either increase the weight or slow down your descent. Or try a tempo of four seconds on the way down and one second on the way back up. Then, pause at the top for one to two seconds before your next rep.

"Slowing down the eccentric, or downward, portion of the squat increases the amount of time under tension, which increases calorie burn and muscle activation," explained Savoy.

And if you need to make the move a bit easier, either decrease the weight or find something to hang onto—like a column, TRX band, handle, or door frame.

"Holding onto something while you squat down will help counterbalance your weight, so it will keep you from falling over. This will help you get used to the squat motion while holding onto something," said Savoy.

Benefits of Goblet Squats

Once you get the hang of the goblet squat, you'll reap a range of gains.

Lift Your Butt

Goblet squats use your glutes, toning and firming your butt. 

"The placement of the weight in the squat allows most people to sink lower into the squat, which means more glute activation than a typical squat," said Savoy.

Strengthen Your Core

"In a front squat, the load is shifted forward, which means the person doing it must maintain a strong and stable back and core to protect the spine," said Savoy. 

The core must work double-time, added Savoy. Per the American Council on Exercise, increased core strength means safer daily movements, heavier lifts, a more powerful trunk for your entire body, and a tighter, firmer midsection.

Improve Your Quad Strength

A goblet squat uses different muscle groups throughout your legs to carry the weight. A study published in 2021 in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported that goblet squats target quadriceps activity and increases vertical loading. 

And a previous study published in 2012 in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that when combined with other kettlebell movements, goblet squats helped athletes increase their overall strength and power over six weeks.

Increase Your Mobility

"Because you're able to sit lower into the squat, when done correctly, the goblet squat will help improve your hip and ankle mobility—two joints that tend to get stiff and tight from too much sitting," said Savoy.

"If your ankles are incredibly immobile, consider raising your heels up one-half to two inches with weight plates so that you can squat [more] comfortably," added Savoy. "Then, over time, reduce the height of the weight plates until you can do them on the flat ground."

Have Fewer Injuries

Sure, the exercise sounds otherworldly. But the goblet squat is a natural position for most people because it's the same as picking up a heavy object, like a child or a box, which means it's widely accessible. 

As an exercise, the goblet squat allows you to perfect your form in this everyday position, which helps protect against injury in day-to-day activities, according to Savoy.

A Quick Review

So, if you're looking for an easy move that incorporates your whole body, tones your core, and lifts your butt, goblet squats may be the perfect addition to your exercise routine. 

To maximize all of the benefits of the goblet squat, make sure to follow each step to perform the move carefully correctly.

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