The Dumbbell Goblet Squat Works Way More Than Just Your Legs and Butt

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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If you’re looking for a functional, effective way to seriously fire up your lower body, might we recommend the dumbbell goblet squat?

This underrated exercise isn’t on every gym goer’s radar, but it really has a lot to offer—especially to folks who struggle with barbell squats (also called back squats) due to limited mobility in their upper body, Katie Pierson, CPT, a Montana-based certified personal trainer, spinning instructor, and contributor at Girl Bike Love, tells SELF. A lot of people actually fall into that camp, Pierson explains, since today’s common work culture involves lots of time slouched forward at a desk, which can tighten chest muscles and round the back. That can make it challenging (or even painful) to set up under a barbell and move with it.

Enter, the goblet squat: Because you’ll be holding a dumbbell in front of your body at chest-level—like you would cup the old-school drinking glass that gave the move its name—this can be a lot more comfortable, says Pierson. Plus, it adds more upper-body and core activation to a traditional lower-body exercise. Sold? Here’s everything you need to know before you give it a shot.

What muscles does a dumbbell goblet squat work?

The goblet squat works pretty much all of your lower body, including your quadriceps (quads), calves, glutes, and hamstrings, says Pierson. In fact, this squat variation hits your quads a little more than the back squat does. That’s because holding the weight in front of your chest places extra load on those frontside leg muscles.

But the goblet squat isn’t just for your lower half. It incorporates some upper-body work, too, since your back needs to fire to keep the weight steady, says Pierson. Holding the dumbbell also challenges your core muscles as well as your arms and grip strength, she adds. So while exercisers typically consider a squat a lower-body strength move, the goblet variation brings on some bonus strengthening in other places, too.

What are the benefits of the goblet squat?

One of the major perks is that it can help strengthen a ton of different muscle groups in your body. Do the exercise regularly, and with enough weight to really challenge yourself, and you’ll notice your lower body—as well as your core, arms, and upper-back—get stronger.

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