Dumbbell Goblet Squats: Benefits and Main Muscles Trained
Dumbbell Goblet squats are a great exercise for both beginner and advanced trainees. Not only can it be used as a strength exercise but it has multiple other benefits when added to a well made training program.
Exercise benefits include:
- Lower body muscle and strength development
- Improved squat mechanics
- Improved range of motion through hips
- Potential to reduce lower back pain
- Thoracic extension strength
Goblet Squats Muscles Worked
The goblet squat exercise trains the all same muscle groups as the more traditional barbell back squat. However, It places slightly more emphasis on the quads because you are holding the weight to the front of the body.
The Goblet Squat promotes a more upright squatting pattern allowing you to travel deeper into the bottom squat position. Often referred to as “the hole”.
A full range of motion goblet squat will train multiple muscle groups, including:
- Quads (Primary Working Muscle)
- Glutes (Primary Working Muscle)
- Back (Secondary Support)
- Abs (Secondary Support)
- Calves (Secondary Support)
- Hips (Secondary Support)
Everything you need to know!
Dumbbell Goblet Squats are one of my all time favorite exercises for warm ups, mobility drills and of course developing strength and size in the lower body.
It is a fantastic coaching tool for beginners too, allowing them to learn the correct squat movement without the added risk of having weight loaded on their back.
Holding a dumbbell close to the chest, in a front rack position, forces you to keep a neutral spine as you move through a full range.
Everything you learn in developing great dumbbell goblet squats will easily transfer over to every other lower body exercise in the future.
While learning to squat correctly might seem difficult in the beginning, its relatively easy to maintain once achieved!
For this reason I would encourage you to use the goblet squat everyday, as either a primary exercise or a warm up drill before full training sessions.
Goblet Squats Form in 5 Simple Steps
Step 1: The Set Up
Before you begin, make sure to have a platform or rack close by so you can safely pick up, and return, the dumbbells after a set. You need to be able to pick up the weight without forcing yourself into an awkward position.
If at any time during you doubt your ability during a rep you should end the rep. When in doubt, get out.
Step 2: Hand Positioning
There are a few different hand positions for the dumbbell in this exercise. Firmly gripping one end of the dumbbell seems to offer the most confidence and support throughout the rep.
Step 3: The Dumbbell Position
The dumbbell will rest in your hands, with your elbows tucked to your sides slightly to the front. The bottom half of the dumbbell will be in between your arms pointing to the floor.
Do not move the dumbbell away from your chest. This will ensure better balance and control throughout each rep while reducing strain on the lower back.
Step 4: Foot Position
Step back and position your feet so that they are slightly wider than your shoulders, with toes slightly pointed out.
This is to give you space at the bottom for a full range of motion.
Step 5: Start Of The Rep
Brace your core, engage your glutes, and take a breath. Break at your knees and hips, sit onto your heels.
Another way to think about this is sitting your hips down between your legs
Step 6: Finish Strong!
As you reach your bottom position, maintain the tightness of your core and glutes.
To return to the start position you can think about pushing the floor away from you. Squeeze your glutes as you return to a full standing position.
Once you have completed your set, return the dumbbell to the rack or platform. Thankfully you took the time to set this up in the beginning.
Most Common Mistake: knee position!
The most common mistake you will experience in the squat is allowing your knees to cave in throughtout the movement. Particualry on the concentric part of the moevment. That is, pressing from the bottom back up to the top.
This is referred to as the valgus fault and can happen for a few different reasons. The most common cause is a relative weakness between your glutes and quads.
Your glutes are responsible for pulling your knees out in a squat. When they are too fatigued, or too weak they will not be able to hold your knees out in a safe position.
Our body is as intelligent as it is will still find a way to move the weight (Dumbbell) from point A to Point B. (Bottom of the squat to the top of the squat).
To do this, it will allow your knees to cave inward and emphasize the strength of your quads.
Your body knows how the get the job done…even if it means risking your knee health.
The solution to the problem is in choosing the right weight and stopping at the right time.
Solution 1. Don’t choose a weight that you cannot complete at least 5 good reps with your knees out in correct alignment.
Solution 2. If you manage to get over 5 reps make sure to stop the set as soon as you notice your knees starting to cave in.
This is typically more of a problem with complete beginners are there is a larger difference between the strength of their quads and glutes.
Over time, from training the squat correctly this difference will even out and most muscles will fatigue at the same time.
Try it for yourself!
We regularly use Goblet Squats in our training journals. You can get free access to all training journals and programs by clicking the link below!