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alternatives to goblet squats

7 Goblet Squat Alternatives to Keep Your Workout Fun!

Goblet squats are one of the most popular types of squats for good reason, they are easy to modify to meet your needs and effective.  But what happens when your routine becomes dull and you need to change it up?  That’s where we come in.

Fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike are looking for alternatives to the goblet squat whether they use our workout system, or train alone, and we’d like to share with you seven of the best options you have when this movement “gobbles” up the routine and is no longer enjoyable.  And finding the right alternative means starting with knowing how the goblet squat works your body.

Goblet squats have two key benefits:

  1. They’re a great full-body exercise that works your whole body including the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, hip, back, shoulders, biceps, and core.
  2. By keeping the weight in front of your body, they keep you in an upright posture throughout the lift. This puts more emphasis on the glutes while you hinge less at the hips than a standard barbell squat.

Here are 7 alternatives to goblet squats and when to choose which.

  1. Front squat
  2. Landmine squat
  3. Overhead squat
  4. Dumbbell overhead press squat
  5. Squat to front raise squat
  6. Kettlebell swing squat
  7. Stadium Stairs with arm weights

Front squat

The front squat keeps the weight in front of your body just like the goblet squat, and it allows you to load more weight by using a barbell. If you want to focus on higher reps with no weight, try using a squat machine that keeps you in the upright position over your heels to fully engage those glutes.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the barbell in the rack position with an open hand grip, elbows up, and chest up.
  3. Descend as if you're sitting in a chair.
  4. Keep descending until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  5. Pause and then push through your heels to stand up.

Landmine squat

Landmine squats are another great choice, and you can do them with or without an overhead press. Because one end of the barbell is stuck to the ground, this alternative to the goblet squat makes you work hard to stay balanced so that the weight doesn’t rotate left or right (and that you don’t bend forward or back during the lift.)

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the weighted side of the barbell in your hands in front of your chest with the other end secured in the landmine pivot.
  3. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  4. Push up through your heels and press the weight up through an arc until your arms are fully extended.
  5. Return to the starting position.

Pro-tip: Use one arm with the bar positioned to the side (vs in the center) of your body for a tougher workout and an incredible balance challenge.

Overhead squat

This alternative works your full body (especially the shoulders) just like the standard goblet squat, and makes you work harder to balance because of the high center of gravity.

  1. Hold a barbell over your head with your arms fully extended and slightly wider than your shoulders.
  2. Squat while keeping your arms straight and over your head.
  3. Keep descending until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Pause and then push through your heels to stand up.

Dumbbell overhead press squat

You’ll get all the great benefits of the goblet squat plus an extra burn in your shoulders with the overhead press. If you do this variant with only one dumbbell (in one hand) at a time, then you’ll add an extra challenge for your oblique muscles as well.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level with your arms bent.
  2. Squat down while keeping the dumbbells still.
  3. Pause and then push through your heels to stand up.
  4. Press the dumbbells up over your head as you stand up.
  5. Return to the starting position.

Pro-tip: You can work your rotator muscles for extra toned shoulders by adding an extra move by keeping your arms extended while you rotate the weights down to the side, the front, or both, then back above your head. 

Squat to front raise

The front raise motion helps to tone the shoulders while also making your core heavily engaged. This multi-plane movement (i.e. squatting straight up and down while rotating the weight through an arc in front of you) makes this alternative to goblets great for balance and coordination.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell with each hand so that the hand grip is parallel to the ground.
  3. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. As you squat down, keep your arms extended as you raise the dumbbell until it’s straight out in front of you.
  5. Pause briefly and then push through your heels to stand up as you slowly lower the dumbbell.

Pro-tip: Add some extra toughness for your lats by rotating the dumbbell left and right as you hold it in front of you (like you’re turning a steering wheel).

Kettlebell swing squat

If you’re short on time and want strength and cardio, then you can’t go wrong with kettlebell swings. By swinging a kettlebell over your head you get a full body workout and elicit cardiovascular excitement (source).

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Hold a kettlebell between your legs with both hands.
  3. Squat down until the weight almost touches the ground.
  4. As you stand up, keep your arms extended as you raise the kettlebell over your head as if you’re tossing it behind you (don’t let it go unless you have a great insurance policy).
  5. Keep your arms extended as you return the kettlebell to the starting position in a slow, smooth, controlled motion (keep your back straight throughout, don’t let yourself bend).

Stadium stairs with arm weights

While not a squat exercise, running stairs with arm weights targets all the muscles of the goblet squat and gives you an aerobic workout at the same time. Using wrist weights or carrying small dumbbells will help tone your arms as you climb the stairs.

If you don’t have a stadium nearby, any set of stairs like the Exorcist stairs for people in the DC area, the Rocky steps in the city of brotherly love, or the Joker Stairs in NYC will do.

You don’t have to keep doing the same exercises over and over to get the benefits.  There are always other movements that use the same muscle groups.  And now you have 7 alternatives to goblet squats that you can use to keep leg day fun!


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