The goblet squat is a great full-body exercise that builds muscle (particularly in the legs, core, and glutes) and develops cardiovascular fitness. It's also a fantastic beginner-level progression of an air squat because it can help beginners add resistance to the exercise while simultaneously perfecting their squat form.
One of the best things about the goblet squat is that it's designed to help you move through a full range of motion while preventing common beginner-level mistakes, like leaning too far forward or allowing your knees to cave inward.
But it's not just good for beginners. Exercisers of all levels can use the movement as a solid warm-up during a lower body workout, or as a way to progress to a weighted front squat using a barbell.
As with all squats, the goblet squat targets all the major muscle groups of the lower body in a compound fashion. This translates nicely to functional everyday movements, as it mimics squatting down to pick something up off of the bottom shelf at the grocery store, rising out of a chair, or getting out of bed in the morning.
The more you train with exercises and movements that mimic day-to-day life, the more strength and energy you'll have to get you through the day.
You don't need much to get started with the goblet squat—just a kettlebell or dumbbell (or any weight you can hold) and enough space to stand and move comfortably with your feet roughly hip- to shoulder-distance apart.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, your toes angled slightly outward.
Hold a kettlebell in both hands at your chest, gripping the handles as though you were cupping a goblet—one hand on either side of the handles. Bend your elbows so the goblet is positioned right at the center of your chest.
Warm-up by using a lighter (or no) kettlebell to get a sense of the movement. Then, progress to a heavier weight for your full set.
Engage your core and look straight ahead—you want to keep your back neutrally aligned and your eyes facing straight ahead throughout the squat.
Press your hips back and begin bending your knees to perform the squat. Inhale as you perform this downward phase.
Keep the kettlebell close to your body during the movement.
Focus on keeping your chest tall as you continue pressing your hips back and lowering down. The goal is to get your hips below parallel with your knees.
Make sure your weight remains evenly distributed across your feet, or slightly more weighted toward your heels—you shouldn't come up on your toes as you squat.
Check your position at the bottom of the squat—your elbows should be positioned on the inside of either knee at the lowest point of the squat. This helps ensure that your knees remain aligned with your toes as you move into the deep squat position.
Press through your heels and reverse the motion to return to the starting position. Exhale as you rise, and be sure to press your hips forward at the top of the squat to more fully engage your glutes.
Complete a full set and carefully rack the kettlebell. Always avoid dropping weights from a height. Repeat through as many sets as desired.