Goblet Squat Progression: From Beginner to Advanced

Being able to move from beginner to advanced in the goblet squat is one of the common signs that you’ve gained the skills required in the squat to build strength and muscle mass in the lower body. In this article I provide a road map from the very first session where performing a technically sound goblet squat may be impossible all the way to moving on from the goblet squat and using other variations to help improve your strength and increase your muscle mass.

7 min read
Sean Klein
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
14/05/24
Last updated
14/05/24
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In This Resource
  • Goblet Squat Regressions
  • Goblet Squat Progression
  • Intensity: Weight Progression
  • Volume: Sets and Repetition Progression
  • Designing Training Cycles For The Goblet Squat
  • Goblet Squat Progressions
  • Pause Goblet Squats
  • 1.5 Goblet Squat
  • Lunging In Conjunction With Squatting
  • Moving Past The Goblet Squat

Goblet Squat Regressions

Regressions are simply easier versions than the exercise in question. Therefore all the exercises listed below are easier in someway or another than the goblet squat. In order to get good at the goblet squat, you will need to be able master all of these variations beforehand.

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This is essentially mimicking sitting and standing in a controlled manner. This will likely be far to easy for most people reading this article, however you would be surprise by the amount of the population who cannot perform this movement with the control required to progress directly to the next exercise.

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The box counter balance squat is a great way to help those struggling to keep their torso upright and with poor mobility in the hips to help learn the basics of the squat movement before progressing to the goblet squat.

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The counterbalance squat is an excellent way to help a individual take their first steps towards a full depth squat. The style of the loading encourages an upright torso from the beginning. It also helps people get a feel for what a full depth feels like without having to worry about loading or being intimidated by weights, making it very beneficial for the first few sessions.

Goblet Squat Progression

Progressing at the actual goblet squat will have nothing to do with exercise selection, but much more to do with the variables that go into programming for the goblet squat.

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Intensity: Weight Progression

This may seem painfully obvious, but many individuals can get into such a routine on certain exercises that they do not increase the weight they are using while performing an exercise. Once you can perform a specific weight with excellent technique for 10+ repetitions you should consider increasing the weight. This will increase the stimulus and therefore create adaptation, resulting in progression.

Volume: Sets and Repetition Progression

Another way to increase the stimulus of an exercise is through increasing the amount of volume performed on the exercise. Volume is made up of two components, sets and repetitions. If on a certain weight you start with three sets of five repetitions and you progress this overtime to five sets of ten repetitions the volume has increased from 15 to 50 repetitions, this will have a huge impact on the amount of stimulus, adaptation and progression made, all through increasing the volume. For more information on the sets and repetitions required for the goblet squat, have a read through my article on the topic .

Designing Training Cycles For The Goblet Squat

Putting goblet squats into well designed training cycles or blocks will drastically help your progression. This involves manipulating the two factors discussed above, volume and intensity, into a block of sessions to slowly increase the stimulus overtime, known as progressive overload . Here is a sample cycle or block of training:

Week 1 - 3 x 8 @12kg

Week 2 - 4 x 8 @12kg

Week 3 - 5 x 10 @12kg

Week 4 - 4 x 6 @16kg

Week 6 - 5 x 8 @16kg

Deload (easy week)

This is an example of how an exercise like the goblet squat can be manipulated through a training cycle. Please note that these rarely go 100% to plan, you must adapt them to yourself and your circumstances.

Goblet Squat Progressions

Pause Goblet Squats

Pause Goblet Squats involve performing a 2-3 second pause at the bottom of the squat, this makes them more challenging. If you feel you have mastered a certain weight on the goblet squat, try performing a training cycle with pause goblet squats on this weight and see if you can master this. Apologies these are currently not in our movement library.

1.5 Goblet Squat

These are very challenging versions of the goblet squat as they require so much more energy that a classic goblet squat. The 1.5 goblet squat involves performing a full depth squat, coming back up to the point where the knees are parallel with the hips, moving the hips back down into a full depth squat and then coming back to the starting position. There is no comparison between a traditional goblet squat and a 1.5 goblet squat, so make sure that you are starting on a weight that you find very comfortable when performing a goblet squat. When performing this exercise, try and avoid bouncing in an out of the bottom of the squat, make sure that you are controlling every part of the movement. Apologies these are currently not in our movement library.

Lunging In Conjunction With Squatting

Whilst you are taking the required steps to progress your goblet squat, make sure that you are also progressing through different lunge variations. This will mean that you are performing more squatting volume within your week and will greatly advance the progress you are making. Below are three different lunge variations that you can consider using, starting with the easiest variation and finishing with the most challenging.

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Moving Past The Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is an amazing squat variation for beginners and intermediate level individuals to make progress in their squat. It can also be beneficial for advanced individuals to use from time to time, but there comes a point of diminishing returns when it becomes more challenging to hold the kettlebell in place than to perform the squatting movement. This means that it is not the most effective exercise for building strength in the lower body. Moving from the goblet squat to the back squat and front squat is an important step in building a strong and capable lower body.

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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

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