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Crush Grip Goblet Squat (How-to Guide)

Tracy Thompson
Published by Tracy Thompson
Last updated: May 4, 2023

I love adding kettlebell training to both cardio and strength workout plans, and as a personal fitness coach, I’ve seen people make huge improvements with goblet squats.

The problem is that the setup can make it easy to mess up the proper form.

But if you avoid some simple mistakes, then this is a great exercise for good posture.

So, our team got together with a physiotherapist to come up with the best possible instructions for you to follow.

We also added some variations for you to try out.

Quick Summary

  • This goblet squat is an intermediate workout that is excellent for lower body strength through a deep squat movement and a hand at each side of the kettlebell.
  • With the right grip setup, you should also notice that it activates muscles in your upper back and shoulders.
  • This exercise is a great alternative to front squats with a barbell, where many people struggle with balance.

How To Do A Crush Grip Goblet Squat Correctly 

Starting position of crush grip goblet squat

Here are the steps to follow in order to get this version of the goblet squat right: 

  • Stand with an upright posture and a foot position that is slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Hold the kettlebell at chest height with the palm of each hand on each side of the ball with the handle pointing down.
  • Try to avoid the fingers making contact with the kettlebell and push your hands together like you’re crushing the ball (hence the name of the exercise).
  • Lean your torso forward slightly and start bending your knees until you get into a low squat position.
  • Make sure you keep a neutral spine alignment for the entire movement to avoid common back injuries.
  • Push your body back up to the starting position to complete one rep of the goblet squat.
  • Aim for 6-10 reps to build muscle and more reps if you’re trying to lose a few pounds.

Also Read: Powerful Grip Strengthening Exercises

What Are The Benefits?

Woman holding a squat

Goblet squats are a full-body exercise that comes with some great benefits for your fitness.

Improved Hip Mobility

One of the things this workout helps with is allowing people to get into a deep squat without having to worry about balancing a barbell.

And because you’re not dealing with more weight pushing down, it can be easier to get down low to improve the range of motion in your hips, knees, and ankles [1].

Stronger Posture

With this unique kettlebell grip, you also force muscle groups in your back to fully engage, which can have an excellent effect on your posture while sitting and doing other workouts [2].

You’re essentially building a stronger foundation that will help you lift more and avoid common injuries due to a weak core.

“Squats are a multi-joint, compound exercise that targets all the major muscles of the lower body, including the hips, glutes, and thighs.”
- Tara Laferrara, Certified NASM Personal Trainer

Avoid Mistakes

Group of people doing squat exercises

Just like with a barbell back squat, there are some common mistakes to avoid with a goblet squat.

Rounded Back

One of the most common problems I have seen with any kind of squat variation is that people tend to round out their upper or lower back during the movement.

This transfers a lot of pressure onto the disks in the back and can lead to severe pain and nerve damage [3].

Lifting Heels

Another common mistake I’ve seen people make is lifting their heels and transferring weight to the balls of the feet.

This could add unnecessary strain to your ankles and make keeping your balance more difficult.

One way to train yourself to avoid this is to use a resistance band instead.

Basically, stand your heels on the band, and if they come off the ground, the band will release.

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Goblet Squat Variations

Performing goblet squat variations

Here are some variations to the kettlebell goblet squat that can create an additional challenge.

To make it tougher on your upper body, you can either lift the kettlebell up over your head at the top of the movement or you can do what I call double bells.

That means holding a kettlebell in each hand rather than just one.

And to take this one step further, hold the bottom of the kettlebell up to force your hands and forearms to better balance them.


What Muscles Does Crush Grip Goblet Squat Work?

Crush grip goblet squats work muscles in your legs, core, and back. The unique hand position, when done right, should engage muscles in your shoulders and back that you normally don’t get with a regular goblet squat.

What Are The Benefits Of Crush Grip Exercises?

The benefit of crush grip exercises is that they force the upper arms, shoulders, and back to support the grip. A normal hand grip would result in most of the support coming from the hand and forearm muscles.

Start Doing Squat Exercises That Target More Muscle Groups

Doing different variations of the goblet squat is an excellent way to build core strength and stronger legs.

The compound nature of the workout also means that you train more areas of your body, which makes it a lot more time-efficient.

And to take building muscle to the next level, I always advise my clients to add the high-quality pre-workout we tested to their stack:

These can help you work a little bit harder and get to your goals a bit faster.


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