The Goblet Squat: Learn How to Squat in 30 Seconds, Pain-Free

So you say you want to squat, but don’t know where to start. You aren’t sure whether you should squat with a bar on your back, stand on a BOSU ball and squat, or just forgo the idea entirely.

It’s a confusing world out but luckily that’s where we come in.

Invented by the legendary Dan John, the goblet squat is the easiest way to learn and master squatting mechanics.



It doesn’t involve racks, bars, balls, or any other potentially complicated equipment. It forces you into proper squatting position without having to do much thinking and makes learning how to squat as simple as one plus one equals two. Well maybe not THAT simple, but pretty darn close.

At this point we can hear the masses “Quite teasing us already, what does it look like? How do I do it?”. Check out this video and all your questions will be answered.

As far as equipment goes, kettlebells are the best choice for goblets squats due to their handles; makes it easier to hold compared to other weightroom tools. Dumbbells, sandbags, plates and small animals can also be used but should be second choice if kettlebells are available.

If you’re having trouble performing the regular goblet squat, the easiest variation to learn is the goblet squat to box.

1) Place a box behind you that allows your hips to drop below knee level.

2) Really sit back when you squat and use the box as a target.

3) Don’t actually sit down. Instead, touch your butt to the box, pause for a second, then stand back up.

4) Do not bounce off the box; the goal is to use your body to move the weight, not the elastic recoil from bouncing.

Using the goblet squat to box is also a good option if you experience discomfort in the knees while squatting.


The box helps enforce a posterior weight shift which loads the glutes and hamstrings while taking the strain off of the quads and knees. The number one reason people say their knees hurt during squatting is due to that forward weight shift and excessively shear loading on the knees – push that booty back and stay on your heels.

Now you know how to goblet squat, the next question is, how do I incorporate it into my current training routine. Here are 5 ways to maximize the use of your new tool:

1) Keep the reps higher.

Rep ranges between 10-25 suit the goblet squat as its main function is to reinforce good technique and not necessarily load you as heavy as possible.

2) Use it as a warm up or a main lift.

A couple sets of goblet squats before moving onto heavier loading help loosen up the hips without taxing your body. They also work extremely well as a main lift for people who have limited experience in the world of squatting.

3) Use it as a stretch.

Holding the weight in the bottom and using a stretching technique called PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) opens up the hips and relaxes muscles which may be limiting your squatting ability.

4) Add it as part of a circuit.

Because they are usually done at a lower load than a back or front squat, it’s a safer variation of a squat to put into a circuit as fatigue accumulation won’t lead to potentially fatal accidents that could occur with a barbell. They are also easier to transition to from other exercises and only require a kettlebell.

5) Use it as active recovery on off days.

If you feel like your joints are stiff, muscles are tight, and you have an awful case of DOMS (that soreness in your muscles that feels like you got punched really hard), these can be a great way to increase blood to the legs and open up stiff joints. It doesn’t have to be heavy or for lots of reps but even a quick set of 10 can make a large difference in how your body feels.

If you were ever unsure about how to squat or thought your knees would explode if you attempted, hopefully this has shown you the light.

Everyone needs a little squatting in their life and the goblet squat is the easiest way to start.


Photo Sources: squat, dj, profile

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