How to Do a Heel Elevated Goblet Squat

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How to Do a Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is a full-body exercise that strengthens the legs, core, and glutes while also improving cardiovascular fitness. It's also a great beginner-level evolution of an air squat because it allows beginners to add resistance to the exercise while also improving their squat form.

The goblet squat is one of the finest exercises for beginners because it allows you to move through a full range of motion while avoiding common beginner faults like leaning too far forward or allowing your knees to fold inward.

It's not just for newbies, though. The technique can be used as a solid warm-up during a lower-body workout or as a means to proceed to a weighted front squat with a barbell by exercisers of all levels.

The goblet squat, like all squats, works all of the major muscular groups in the lower body in a complex manner. Squatting to pick something up off the lowest shelf at the grocery store, rising from a chair, or getting out of bed in the morning are all examples of functional everyday movements.

You'll have more power and energy to go through the day if you practice with exercises and movements that imitate day-to-day life.


The goblet squat engages all of the lower body's major muscle groups, including the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. It also works your core, back spinal erectors, forearms, and, to a lesser extent, shoulders and upper back, as you must consciously engage them to hold your chest and torso tall throughout the movement. 1 It's essentially a full-body workout.

This exercise works the quadriceps slightly more than squat versions where the resistance is carried behind the body, such as a back squat, because the kettlebell is held in front of your body. Goblet squats are a wonderful option if you're wanting to strengthen your quadriceps while doing a total-body exercise.

Squat Form Improving your squat form is one of the most significant advantages of the goblet squat. While almost everyone understands the basic squat technique, it's remarkable how many people make mistakes that can lead to injury, especially to the low back and knees.

The goblet squat can assist you in identifying and correcting some of the most frequent squat issues.

You become more aware of the significance of maintaining your torso erect and your core engaged as you move through the squat because you're holding the weight in front of your body. As they lower into the squat, many people begin to bend forward from the hips, lowering their chest toward the ground and jeopardizing their back's neutral position.

During a goblet squat, holding the resistance in front of your body develops the awareness that you must roll your shoulders back, engage your core, and keep your torso straight to avoid being pushed forward or off-balance by the kettlebell's weight.


At the bottom of the goblet squat, the goal is to get your elbows to contact the insides of your knees, therefore this squat variation encourages perfect knee alignment with your toes.

When people squat down, their knees often tilt inward slightly, a condition known as "knee valgus." At the bottom of the squat, when you transition from the downward (eccentric) to the upward (concentric) component of the exercise, this misalignment is typically even more obvious.

Because more stress is exerted on the inside of the knee as it moves through its full range of motion, this poor knee alignment increases your chances of experiencing knee pain or injury.

You're effectively requiring your knees to track in line with your toes by getting your elbows to touch the inside of your knees at the bottom of the squat.

Even if your knees are still tilted slightly inward at the bottom, your elbow placement allows you to check your form and ensure that your knees are tracking correctly before moving on to the upward portion of the exercise and returning to standing. This decreases the possibility that your knees may "collapse" inward during the transition, protecting you from pain or harm.

Instructions in a Step-by-Step Format

To begin, all you need is a kettlebell or dumbbell, as well as enough space to stand and move comfortably with your feet around hip- to shoulder-distance apart.

Stand with your toes angled slightly outward and your feet somewhat wider than hip-distance apart.

Hold a kettlebell in both hands at your chest, cupping the handles with one hand on either side of the handles as if you were cupping a goblet. Bend your elbows and set the goblet in the center of your chest.

To obtain a feel for the movement, warm up with a lighter (or no) kettlebell. Then, for your full set, progress to a heavier weight.

During the squat, engage your core and look straight ahead to keep your back neutrally aligned and your gaze straight ahead.

To perform the squat, push your hips back and bend your knees. As you descend, take a deep breath in.

During the exercise, keep the kettlebell close to your body.

As you continue to descend down and force your hips back, focus on keeping your chest tall. The idea is to get your hips to be lower than your knees.

You shouldn't squat on your toes, so make sure your weight is evenly spread across your feet, or slightly more weighted toward your heels.

Check your position at the bottom of the squat—at the bottom of the squat, your elbows should be on the inside of either knee. As you move into the deep squat posture, this will help keep your knees straight with your toes.

Return to the beginning posture by pressing through your heels and reversing the motion. Exhale as you rise, and at the top of the squat, thrust your hips forward to fully work your glutes.

Complete a full set and rack the kettlebell with care. Dropping weights from a height is never a good idea. Repeat for as many sets as you want.

Common Errors

While the goblet squat is pretty straightforward to do, it is possible to make a mistake. The following are some of the most typical blunders to avoid.

Keeping the weight too far away from your body is a bad idea.

When completing a goblet squat, the kettlebell should always be "racked" close to your body at your chest. Simply ensure that your elbows are fully bent and the kettlebell is close to you so that you don't have to actively engage your biceps to keep it in place.

If you hold the kettlebell further away from your body, you'll need to use more of your biceps, forearms, and even the anterior region of your shoulders to keep your chest and shoulders from tilting forward and throwing you off balance as you squat down.

This not only makes it more difficult to maintain perfect form, but it also limits the amount of weight you may use during the exercise.

Because your legs can carry and sustain considerably more resistance than your biceps and forearms, ensuring sure your arms aren't performing the majority of the work to keep the kettlebell in place is critical for further improvement.

From the Waist Up, Lean Forward

When performing a squat, many people make the error of leaning or tipping forward from the waist. This impairs your spine's neutral posture and, in the instance of the goblet squat, increases your chances of losing your balance or rising up on your toes as you squat down. This is because the kettlebell's weight will most likely drag you forward.

Set up in front of a mirror so you can see your side in its reflection to avoid this forward tilt. Draw your shoulder blades toward your spine and roll your shoulders back before starting your squat. Engage your core muscles, and as you begin to thrust your hips back to begin the squat, look in the mirror.

You might not be able to squat as deeply as you'd like, but that's fine. Your range of motion can be improved over time. The most important thing is to correct this forward lean so that your form, range of motion, and resistance level increase over time.

Try gazing up at a minor angle before re-engaging your shoulders to pull them back and bring your chest up again if you detect your chest or shoulders collapsing or rounding forward, or if you notice yourself tilting forward at the waist.

Getting On Your Toes

Because the kettlebell is held in front of your body during the goblet squat, if you have any other form issues (for example, holding the weight too far away from your body or leaning forward as you squat down), you're more likely to squat down on your toes.

Putting your weight on your toes is more likely to knock you off balance, jeopardize the integrity of your knees, and hinder you from gradually increasing the exercise's resistance. Make sure your chest and body remain erect and tall as you squat down. As you squat, you should be able to wiggle your toes a little. This will serve as a reminder to keep your center of gravity lower and more centered on your heels rather than higher and more forward on your feet.

With the exception of your toes, which should support none of your weight, your weight should be evenly distributed over your feet.

As you squat, your knees cave inward.

The goblet squat's brilliance is that it truly helps cure the frequent squat problem of knee valgus, or knees that cave inward. As previously said, attempting to contact the inside of your knees with your elbows at the bottom of the squat is simply training yourself to keep your knees aligned with your toes.

At the very least, it serves as a tangible reminder to check for this prevalent issue at the deepest point of the squat before transitioning back to standing. It's the best technique to address knee valgus because this is where the majority of people encounter it.

Throughout the workout, your knee caps should practically connect with your second toe as you squat down. Engage your glutes and hips to bring your knees outward somewhat if they appear to be angled slightly inward.

Not Performing a Full Squat

The deepest section of the action is often the most difficult, which is why it's tempting (intentionally or not) to quit before reaching the position's full bottom. If you don't fully engage in the squat, you won't be able to work the full range of motion and receive the full advantages of this exercise.

Instead, concentrate on sinking deep into the squat until your elbows touch the insides of your knees. Then, make sure you're totally upright by rising all the way back up.

Variations and Modifications

This exercise can be altered in a variety of ways, including making it simpler or more difficult.

Do you require a change?

If adding weight to the goblet squat is challenging, perform the exercise as an air squat while holding your hands together at your chest as if gripping a kettlebell.

You can continue to squat in the same manner, ensuring that your elbows touch the inner of your knees at the bottom. As you build strength, simply add a light kettlebell to the routine to keep seeing results.

Finally, kneel down to a box and then rise up again. Placing the box behind your hips is a good idea. This alternative may be beneficial for persons who have difficulty lifting and lowering themselves into a squat position.

Decide on a goal.

You can also opt to focus on developing strength and power by using a heavier weight kettlebell, or work on cardio and mobility by using a lesser weight and doing more reps.

Aim for 3 to 5 sets of 4 to 8 reps if you're working on strength. If you want to focus on cardio, do four to six sets of eight to ten reps. Adjust these suggestions to what is difficult enough to tire you out but not so much that the last rep compromises your form.

Take It Slowly

Another approach is to slow down the movement by gradually sinking into the squat over 3 to 5 seconds and then repeating the slow movement as you return to standing. This variant improves control and endurance by eliminating momentum.

Include a Challenge

The goblet squat is primarily a warm-up for a barbell front squat. This is because, like the front squat, the goblet squat needs you to place the additional resistance (the kettlebell) in front of your body at around shoulder level, rather than behind you, as in the classic back squat, where the barbell is positioned across the back of your shoulders.

Hold a barbell in both hands at your shoulders (this requires some shoulder flexibility to execute right) with your elbows pointed straight ahead and your palms facing up if you're up for a challenge.

Do the squat the same way you did the goblet squat from this posture. The weight and heft of the barbell, as well as the uncomfortable posture of your arms, make this more challenging.

You'll also realize straight away that you need to keep your torso erect and your chest tall, otherwise the weight in front of your body will pull you forward and throw you off balance.

Precautions and Safety

In general, the goblet squat is a safe and effective beginner-level squat variant that can aid in the identification and correction of typical squatting errors. Individuals who have knee or back pain when squatting are likely to have the same problem with the goblet squat.

If you have knee or back problems, start by reducing your range of motion to see if you can do the exercise without pain. 6 Increase your range of motion as you gain strength. If you encounter any sharp or shooting pain while moving, stop.

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