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If you think there’s one way to do the goblet squat then think again. Just like the traditional squat, the goblet squat is a go-to move when it comes to strengthening your lower half. Also like the squat, this exercise has a few variations—and a few form points to hit.
Thankfully, with this workout, you’ll learn ways to mix up the move and incorporate it into one killer leg-day routine.
The Benefits of a Goblet Squat Workout for Runners
Squats are probably one of the first moves on your to-do list come leg day. But practicing the traditional squat over and over can get monotonous—until you sprinkle in the goblet squat or its variations.
“The goblet squat helps to increase strength and stamina in all the muscles of the lower body including the glutes, quads, and hamstrings,” says Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder and CEO of TS Fitness in New York City and creator of this workout. Adding a kettlebell into the mix forces you to use your upper body strength and engage your core, which is super important for runners who need to maintain a strong, upright posture and a stable spine on the run, he adds.
Practicing different versions of the goblet squat, like the split-stance variation in this workout, will help runners improve stability, single-leg strength, and lower body range of motion all in one workout.
How to Do a Goblet Squat Correctly
Before we dive into the workout, it’s helpful to learn the best form tips for nailing your goblet squat. Follow these four steps from Tamir:
- Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes turned slightly out. Hold kettlebell at chest with both hands, wrists and elbows vertical.
- Keeping chest upright and core engaged, inhale and send hips down and back.
- Lower until thighs are at least parallel to the the floor (without dropping torso forward) and think about spreading the floor with feet so knees track forward.
- Exhale and drive through heels to stand back up, extending hips and squeezing glutes.
How to use this list: Do the exercises in the order listed below for the number of reps listed. To warm up, do exercises 1 to 4 for 1 round. Then, do exercises 5 to 8 for 3 to 4 rounds, resting for 30 to 45 seconds in between each exercise.
Each move is demonstrated by Tamir in the video above so you can learn proper form. For this workout, you will need a kettlebell and a long resistance band.
Warmup, 1 round
1. Spiderman Lunge
Why it works: This exercise will help warm up your key muscles, including your core, and increases mobility, specifically in the hips, says Tamir. “This helps with running because mobility is very important and it loosens up the hips prior to a strength workout,” he adds.
How to do it: Start in a high plank position with shoulders stacked over wrists, core engaged, so body forms a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels. Step left foot to the outside of left hand, bending at the knee. Hold for two seconds, then step back to plank. Then step right foot on the outside of right hand, bending at the knee. Hold for two seconds, then step back to plank. Continue alternating for 10-12 reps on each side.
2. Forward Lunge With T-Spine Rotation
Why it works: This full-body exercise will activate your glutes, quads, and hamstrings for the moves to come, while mobilizing your thoracic spine, which is the upper part of your spine, says Tamir.
How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hands down by sides. Step forward with left foot, bending both knees 90 degrees, so right knee hovers just above the ground and left knee tracks over toes. Rotate torso to the left and extend left arm out horizontally at shoulder height, opening chest to the left. Follow your hand with your gaze. Rotate forward, then step left back to stand up. Repeat on right side. Continue alternating for 10-12 reps on each side.
3. Lateral Squat
Why it works: Practicing this move will help loosen those adductor (a.k.a. inner thigh) muscles that often get tight while running, says Tamir.
How to do it: Stand tall with feet about three to four feet apart and arms down by sides. Bend right knee, shifting weight into leg, and sending hips back as if sitting in a chair while reaching arms out in front of you. Drive right heel into the ground to straighten leg, keeping feet wide. Repeat on left side. Continue alternating for 10-12 reps on each side.
4. Banded Squat
Why it works: Practicing this move will prep your body for the weighted squats to come, says Tamir. The band also increases resistance as you stand up and decreases resistance as you squat down, he adds.
How to do it: Stand on top of a long resistance band with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the band in each hand in front of shoulders. Send hips down and back as if sitting in a chair. Drive both heels into the ground to stand up. Repeat. Do 10-12 reps.
Strength Set, 3 – 4 rounds
5. Goblet Squat
Why it works: Squats are known for improving leg strength but this move can also help improve spine stability, says Tamir. Just holding the kettlebell up helps to strengthen the core and stabilize the spine when you run.
How to do it: Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly out, holding a kettlebell with both hands at chest. Lower hips down and back, as if sitting in a chair. Keep core tight, chest lifted, and lower until thighs are about parallel to the floor. Drive both heels into the ground, extend hips, and squeeze glutes to stand up. Repeat. Do 8-10 reps.
6. Staggered-Stance Goblet Squat
Why it works: Improve single-leg strength and stability, while targeting the quads, which this move works more than the traditional goblet squat, Tamir says.
How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands at chest. Step right foot back so toes are in line with left heel. Using right foot as a kickstand to maintain balance, transfer weight to left leg. Send hips back and down to lower into squat. Drive left foot into the ground to stand up, extending hips and squeezing glutes. Repeat. Do 8-10 reps. Then switch sides.
7. Goblet Reverse Lunge
Why it works: Mimic the single-leg movement of running with this exercise that improves balance and strengthens all the major muscles of the legs.
How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands at chest. Step backward with left foot, bending both knees 90 degrees, so left knee hovers just above the ground and right knee tracks over toes. Then drive right heel into the ground to stand back up, stepping left foot forward. Repeat, with right foot stepping back. Continue alternating for 8-10 reps on each side.
8. Goblet Lateral Lunge
Why it works: Break up the traditional forward and backward motion of running with this exercise that has you moving in the frontal plane, a.k.a. side to side, which is important for building a more robust, injury-proof body, Tamir says.
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands at chest. Step right foot out about three to four feet, bending knee as you sink weight into right hip and push hips back, as if sitting in a chair. Keep left leg straight and chest up. Sit back as far as your mobility comfortably allows. Drive right foot into ground to stand up, stepping it back to hip-width apart. Repeat. Do 8-10 reps. Then switch sides.
Monique LeBrun joined the editorial staff in October 2021 as the associate health and fitness editor. She has a master’s degree in journalism and has previously worked for ABC news and Scholastic. She is an avid runner who loves spending time outside.