Dumbbell Goblet Squat 101 | Form, Benefits & Variations!

By
Mike Kenler
January 4, 2021

The Dumbbell Goblet Squat

The dumbbell goblet squat is one of the safest and most effective weighted squat exercises. 

This compound exercise will help you build serious leg and glute strength.

We cover everything you need to know about the dumbbell goblet squat to help you take your lower body training to the next level.

Muscles Worked By The Dumbbell Goblet Squat

Primary Muscle Groups:

The dumbbell goblet squat primarily works the quadriceps and the glutes. 

The four muscles in the front of your leg that comprise the quadriceps are the rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, and the vastus lateralis. 

The goblet squat intensely activates the quadriceps muscles, which increases hypertrophy in these muscle cells.

In addition, the glutes receive a significant amount of tension during the dumbbell goblet squat. 

The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus make up the gluteal muscles. While this exercise targets all three muscles of the glutes, the gluteus maximus is most engaged during the movement. 

Secondary Muscle Groups:

The dumbbell goblet squat secondarily works the core, hamstrings, calves, and arms. 

As you lower to the floor, your core is responsible for stabilizing your body to maintain balance. 

Your hamstrings and calves also activate to reinforce your legs and your arms contract isometrically to stabilize the dumbbell.

Dumbbell Goblet Squat Benefits

1. Size And Strength Gains

The dumbbell goblet squat places an intense stress on your quadriceps and glutes.

As a result, your body responds to this stress by generating larger and stronger muscles.

These lower body muscles are important for explosive movements such as running, jumping, or other exercises like the traditional squat or deadlift. 

Whether you are a weightlifting record holder or someone completely new to fitness, a strong lower body provides a stable base that you can rely upon to accomplish your goals.

2. Reduced Risk Of Injury

Although exercises like the standard barbell squat and deadlift are very effective, they can also be unsafe if you use poor form. 

For example, the barbell back squat places a significant weight on your spine. If you do not have the back strength to support the barbell, you can easily cause a back injury.

The dumbbell goblet squat works your lower body using weighted resistance in a safer manner. With the dumbbell secured in your arms, your back is placed in a less precarious position, which will allow you to maximize each rep of the goblet squat. 

3. Convenience 

Another major benefit of the dumbbell goblet squat is its convenience factor. There is no bulky or expensive equipment needed to perform this exercise. All you need is a dumbbell and you are good to go! 

How To Do The Dumbbell Goblet Squat

Equipment:

For the dumbbell goblet squat, all you need is a dumbbell and an open space.

Setup:

a) Begin by holding a dumbbell vertically with both hands securely under the top part of the weight.

b) Assume a standing position with your feet roughly shoulder width apart. Engage your core and keep your back straight. 

Action:

a) Hinge at the waist, bend your knees and lower your hips towards the floor.

b) When your hips are in line with your knees, pause for a moment and contract your quads and glutes to drive up to the starting position. 

c) Repeat this motion for your desired number of reps. 

Recommendation:

You should aim to begin with a light weight and perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions to become comfortable with the form. 

However, feel free to increase the weight and decrease the rep range as you become stronger. 

Dumbbell Goblet Squat Mistakes

1. Rounding Your Back

One common mistake made during the dumbbell goblet squat is rounding the back. If you hold the weight out in front of your chest, you may find your upper back rounding as you squat downwards.

This rounded position can increase your risk of injury during the exercise. Instead, hold the weight against your chest and focus on keeping your back straight on every repetition. 

2. Shifting Your Weight Too Far Forward

Many other weightlifters tend to lean too far forward during the dumbbell goblet squat. As a result, their knees shift over their toes and their balance is thrown off.

Shifting your weight too far forward adds unnecessary stress to your knees and takes tension away from your glutes. 

To fix this mistake, try to feel like you are squatting slightly backwards so that your knees are directly over your ankles at the bottom of every rep.

3. Completing Partial Reps 

Another classic goblet squat mistake is completing partial reps. Far too often, people will squat down halfway and then return to the starting position.

In order to maximize the dumbbell goblet squat and fix this mistake, try to drop your hips below your knees on every rep.

Dumbbell Goblet Squat Variations

1. Kettlebell Goblet Squat

The kettlebell goblet squat is a fantastic variation of the dumbbell goblet squat. For some, holding a dumbbell by the top part of the weight can be uncomfortable. 

The rounded handle of the kettlebell can solve this problem. To begin, grab the sides of the kettlebell handle with your palms facing towards you.

Then, perform the kettlebell goblet squat with the same form as the dumbbell variation.

2. Medicine Ball Goblet Squat 

For those of you who don’t have access to dumbbells or kettlebells, the medicine ball goblet squat is for you. 

Grab each side of a medicine ball and perform the goblet squat with the same form as the dumbbell variation.


3. Alternative Goblet Squats

You can also get creative with the goblet squat. 

If you don’t have weights at home, grab a heavy book, a plate, or anything else you can find to add some resistance to this squat exercise.

Dumbbell Goblet Squat Alternatives

If you enjoyed the dumbbell goblet squat, check out these other leg exercises to improve your lower body training:

1. RFE Split Squat

Begin by placing your trail foot on the elevated surface behind you. Step outwards with your lead foot so that your trail leg is slightly bent. 

Lean slightly forward and keep your back straight. Engage your core and squat downwards into your front leg. 

Pause for a moment at the bottom of the rep and drive upwards with your lead leg. Maintain tightness in your core and repeat!

 2. Alternating Lunges

With a barbell resting on your rear delts, step forward with one leg and lunge downwards in a controlled fashion.

Your back knee should nearly be touching the ground and your front knee should stay behind your front toe.

Then, contract your quads to rise upwards and return to the starting position. Repeat this motion on the other leg and keep alternating sides.

3. Dumbbell Jump Squat 

Grab both dumbbells with your palms facing each other and assume a standing position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. 

Squat down until your hips dip lower than your knees. Then, explode upwards and jump as high as you can. 

When you land, allow your knees to bend and then drop down into the next squat. Repeat! 

Looking For An Intense Lower Body Workout?

Follow along to this 5 minute dumbbell leg workout!

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Mike Kenler
Director of Writing | Certified in Plant Based Nutrition at T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

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