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Killer Goblet Squats

I want to drink Ovaltine out of this…

The Goblet Squat is an outstanding alternative to the Back Squat that you can use from time to time in your training in order to mix things up and enjoy a bit of variety. It is most often performed with a dumbbell or kettlebell, but odd objects can be used as well.

The Goblet Squat was invented by the world-renowned speaker, author, accomplished athlete, and all-around strong dude, Dan John.

Dan John Loading up for a Monster Discuss Toss

How to Perform the Goblet Squat

The Grip

If you are using a dumbbell, hold it by one of the heads and allow the other one to hang down vertically. The butt of the palm can be positioned slightly under the ridge of the dumbbell head in order to support it better and more easily.

If you are using a kettlebell for the resistance, take a grip by holding the horns of the handle. The bell will point down to the floor.

Crush Grip with the Dumbbell and Kettlebell

For an additional challenge, a grip can be taken in such a manner that you must compress in either on the dumbbell head or the body of the kettlebell. Doing so in this manner allows you to elevate the recruitment of the upper body musculature without having to sacrifice the benefits you get from the movement. For more info on this, check out this old post on Upper Body Crush Lifts once you are done with the rest of this article.

Depending on your limb length and chest size, the dumbbell or kettlebell may come in contact with the chest. If you are a beginner at the Goblet Squat, or if you are going for higher repetitions, you can maximize your leverage, by keeping the bell close. To increase the challenge, you can let it drift away, but if you do this make sure you stay tight and don’t let it pull you forward. This is an advanced technique, so BE CAREFUL.

Foot Positioning

Position the feet around shoulder-width. The toes should point forward and slightly out.

(My right foot externally rotate a bit more than my left. This is not just when I perform Goblet Squats, but also when I walk. Try to keep yours even if you can)

The Movement

Once you are set up it is time to squat. The first movement – and this where a lot of people make a mistake – should be ass back, not ass down. In other words, in order to start your decent, push your butt backwards and then start moving down.

Throughout this movement, the chest should stay proud. If your chest drops, it will change the leverage of the lift and you run the risk of dumping the weight as well as causing injury to yourself.

Continue until the full comfortable range of motion is attained. Your goal should be to reach the position where the elbows touch the inner quad muscle. I am slightly above that in the above picture, mainly because of where I was holding the kettlebell. Holding it up high is more comfortable for me. If I hold it a bit lower, my elbows touch my quads.

Killer Goblet Squats

Now that we have covered all that, I want to show you a goal I am working on right now. These are without a doubt the toughest Goblet Squats I have ever tried – Holding the Inch Dumbbell.

Before you give me a rash of Shit about my form, I know that I was stopping a bit high with these. The reason is because I was pretty seriously fatigued already before trying this. I had already done Front Squats with a Bar, and Goblet Squats with the 95-lb kettlebell, so my quads were burning up and my glutes were blasted, so my bottom position was pretty fatigued.

I wasn’t planning on doing Goblet Squats with the Inch Dumbbell at all. In fact, what happened was I had blown up my quads and glutes with the 95-lb Goblets and I tried to lift the Inch and couldn’t because of my finger injuries and I got pissed, so I went for it.

On the first try, I was able to lower down into the hole but couldn’t come out and dropped the Inch to the floor. On the second try, I got one rep. So for the third rep I challenged myself to get ten reps.

Here’s the video:

More updates on this will be coming. I WILL get this for ten reps with better form!

All the best in your training.


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12 Responses to “Killer Goblet Squats”

  1. Thomas Says:

    Hi Jedd,
    This excercise is deadly. I tried these after it was announced from smitty as a Diesel Crew challenge with halt of the body weight.
    I tried it out and it was really excausting. Since then these squads are in my program 😉

  2. Ben Edwards Says:

    That was an awesome video Jedd!!! I’ve never thought about doing that with the Inch. I don’t think anyone has before you.

  3. Jedd Johnson Says:

    They are freakin’ tough. Thanks Ben!

  4. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thanks bro. Gonna be lots more crazy stuff going on here, so keep your eyes open!

  5. Rick Walker Says:

    That was cool to watch…looks like an awesome exercise.

    You fingers must be screwed up bro, you usually life the Inch with ease.

  6. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Dude, I can’t close a 1 right now.

  7. Rick Walker Says:

    So what you are saying is we should get together right now and do a 2 man grip contest so I can say I beat you???

    Hope it gets better man, and stay the hell away from that thing!

  8. Jeremy Priestner | Art of Lifting Says:

    I’ve tried using Goblet squats with wrestlers with quite a bit of success. As evidenced in this video, they are incredibly taxing on the grip. Unlike other grip exercises that isolate either grip strength or endurance, this simultaneously builds both. A highly underutilized tool.

  9. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thanks Jeremy!

  10. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Yes, that is essentially what I am saying.

  11. Jerry Shreck Says:

    The “inch” is a bitch! Always happy to see you playing with it.

  12. How to Perform Squats Says:

    I do not think most people realise just how important the squat really is. It is almost certainly the best muscle building compound exercise out of all of them. Most people begin using far too much pounds when they first start squatting, this is a bad idea. Lift a weight were you are able to perform 10 reps, when you are lifting at this weight you can completely focus on good form, learning how to carry out squats with decent form is going to prevent injuries when you start putting more weight on the bar. What’s more to help stop further incidents from occurring, make sure that your knees are moving directly over the top of the toes. I hope these tips help!

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