One of the fundamental exercises for developing lower body strength is the squat.
Although conventional barbell back squat is the king of leg exercises, it doesn’t really work well for targeting certain lower body muscles. Additionally, carrying heavy loads may strain your lower back.
As a result, performing alternate squat exercises like the goblet squat can be very beneficial for both enhanced strength and injury avoidance, even though the standard back squat has many advantages.
The goblet squat, barely strains your back. Additionally, it is a flexible workout that you can simply modify to meet your bodybuilding objectives and your gym’s equipment.
More precisely, The Heels raised goblet squat should be on your list of exercises for improving leg strength. This quad-dominant exercise also referred to as the cyclist squat, will leave your thighs pleading for mercy.
Why you should do the elevated goblet squat?
No matter how strong you are, maintaining proper squat technique requires hip and ankle mobility. Consequently, you are able to squat deeply and engage the appropriate muscles if you have a full range of motion in these areas. Without adequate mobility, you run the danger of overcompensating and using your back to propel the exercise rather than your legs and glutes. Along with having trouble with your squats, you may also experience pain in your low back or knees, or you may continually feel tight or stiff in your hip or ankle joints and muscles.
If you recognize this, we advise elevating your heels as you squat rather than leaving them planted on the floor. The shin-to-foot angle changes as your heels are raised, and your foot exhibits less “dorsiflexion,” or backward bending. Because it demands less movement in the ankle and hips, you will be able to squat down deeper while maintaining an upright posture. Therefore, by raising the heels, you should ideally be able to squat down and get deeper than you could if your feet were flat on the ground.
Simply said, the heel-elevated goblet squat is an excellent alternative for people who are new to the squat or who have restricted hip and ankle mobility. But before you attempt this variant, it’s crucial to master the fundamentals of squatting, including maintaining an upright stance, moving your hips back, and distributing your weight evenly across your feet.
And if mobility is a concern for you, you should address it rather than ignoring it to prevent using this exercise—heel elevated squats—as a crutch.
What does elevated goblet squat work? Muscles worked by elevated goblet squat
Goblet squats train nearly every muscle in your lower body, just like any squatting exercise does. include, to some extent, the calves, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexors.
However, the more upright back position helps to relieve some of the strain from the hamstrings and glutes. Goblet squats are therefore the greatest exercise for targeting the quads.
The main muscles trained by heels elevated goblet squat are:
Quadriceps – The goblet squat with the heels up is a very quad-dominant exercise. The quads are made up of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius, which are the four muscles on the front of your thighs. The vastus medialis, commonly referred to as your teardrop quad, is the most active of these four. Your knee joints are extended by the quadriceps.
Abductors and adductors – The adductors and abductors, which are located on the outside and inside of your thighs, help balance your hips during the heels elevated goblet squat. They are in charge of keeping your knees from moving in the right direction or out of it.
Hamstrings – While performing goblet squats with your heels up focuses your quadriceps, your hamstrings are also engaged, albeit to a lesser extent. The biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus are the three hamstring muscles, and they are situated on the back of your thigh. Your knees flex and your hips stretch thanks to your hamstrings.
Gluteus maximus – Your glutes, or gluteus maximus, collaborate with your hamstrings to extend your hips. Although heels elevated goblet squats are less active than many other lower body exercises, this is still a good butt exercise.
Core – When performing heels elevated goblet squats, you must engage your core to brace your midsection and stabilize your lumbar spine. The rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis, and erector spinae are the core muscles. Your spine is supported from within by the intra-abdominal pressure these muscles collectively produce.
Difference between Goblet Squat vs Back Squat
Many of the same muscles are used in both back squats and goblet squats, but the movements are very different.
You’ll hold the weight in front of your chest with both hands during a goblet squat. Your elbows will stay in line with your knees as you squat down, and your weight will do the same.
A bar is racked on your upper back when performing a back squat. The bar will also fall straight down as you squat.
How to Do Heels Elevated Goblet Squats
- Set two bumper weight plates about hip-width apart on the floor. You could also use a long piece of wood. Stand with your heels up and the balls of your feet on the floor.
- Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your chest, just below your chin. Pull your shoulders back and down and tighten your stomach. Look in front of you.
- Bend your knees and squat as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Keep your upper body straight.
- Stand up, but don’t lock your knees. Keep your muscles tight by not locking your knees.
- Again, go down, and keep doing this for the prescribed number of reps.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Heels Elevated Goblet Squat
Even though traditional back squats have many benefits, like helping to strengthen your back, they can also make you more likely to hurt your lower back. This is because of where the load is.
A goblet squat gets rid of that tension while still working the quads and glutes, which are the main muscles that move during the exercise.
The movement is also a great way for people of all fitness levels to work out.
The heels elevated goblet squat also has the following benefits:
Easier for beginners – For beginners, the goblet squat is often easier than the back squat. This is because the movement is more natural and looks like things you do every day, like picking up something heavy off the floor.
Potential to scale – You can start elevated goblet squats with a light weight and still get benefits, but you can also lift a heavy weight during this exercise. Here’s a tip to keep yourself safe: Before moving up to a heavier weight, make sure you can squat with the right form and without hurting your knees or back.
Very focused on the quads – Most leg exercises work the quads and hamstrings together. Most of the time, these muscles work about the same. But when you do heels-up goblet squats, your quads work a lot more. You won’t be isolating your quads like you would with leg extensions. But the quadriceps are definitely the most important muscle.
Extra activation of the core – Because the weight is now in front of your body, your core will have to work harder to support the movement than in a traditional back squat.
Use less weight – If heavy squats and leg presses have given you banged-up knees or a sore lower back, training your quads with less weight will probably be a relief. For the heels-up goblet squat to work, you don’t need to use much weight. Because of the wide range of motion and the fact that the knees do most of the work, even a light weight will soon get your quads burning.
Train to failure in a safe way – Front or back squatting to failure isn’t a good idea unless you have a properly set up power rack. If you get stuck under a heavy bar, it can hurt you a lot. If you can’t finish a rep of the heels-up goblet squat, you can just put the weight on the floor in front of you.
Excellent for home workout – This exercise is great for people who work out at home because it doesn’t require much in the way of equipment. All you need is a dumbbell or kettlebell and something to lift your heels. You could do this exercise even if your heels were on two books. It’s the perfect way to work out your legs without any excuses!
Elevated Goblet Squat drawbacks
The heels elevated goblet squat is unquestionably a fantastic exercise for muscle hypertrophy, but it’s not so good for strength-building. You can only hold so much weight in the goblet position, and many gyms only stock dumbbells and kettlebells that weigh between 100 and 125 pounds. As opposed to this, you’ll probably be able to back squat considerably more.
Some exercisers may experience knee soreness from elevated goblet squats. If you already have knee problems, the high heels and wide range of motion could be problematic. The good news is that you don’t have to squat “ass to grass” to get the benefits of this exercise. Depending on how healthy and flexible your knees are, adjust your range of motion.
You must put in the necessary work in the squat rack if you want powerful legs that look stage-ready. Even if it IS feasible to have a strong lower body without squats, the odds aren’t on your side. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, squats are referred to as the “king of exercises” for a good reason!
However, you are not required to restrict your exercises to the standard front and back squats. The fact is, there are a ton of equally effective squat variations that you may use.
Goblet squats with your heels elevated are particularly quad-centric and don’t require a lot of weight. They perform well as a finisher after your usual workout and for at-home exercisers. Overall, you should include this exercise in your lower body routines.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.