Goblet Squat With Heartbeat

How To Do A Goblet Squat With Heartbeat
By Alli McKeeFebruary 19, 2016

Goblet Squat With Heartbeat

What is a goblet squat? The goblet squat with heartbeat is one of many great kettlebell exercises you can use to strengthen the lower body and anterior core. This exercise is a perfect option if you don’t have access to a heavier kettlebell, as the heartbeat movement makes it more challenging than regular goblet squats. Because you use a lighter kettlebell than you would use with the regular goblet squat variation, this exercise is also a great choice if you currently do not have the requisite level of upper body strength to hold a heavier kettlebell.

Equipment needed:

Although a kettlebell is used for this exercise, if you do not have access to a kettlebell, you can use a dumbbell and perform a dumbbell gobet squat. Just make sure that your upper body and torso remain in the same position as if you were holding a kettlebell.

Ability level:


The goblet squat with heartbeat might be too advanced for women who are just beginning to strength train. This might be due to lack of strength, stability or mobility. A few great exercise options for beginners could include goblet box squats (squatting onto a box/bench and standing up), regular goblet squats, or bodyweight squats (regular tempo, pause squats, or negatives)


The goblet squat with heartbeat is a great option for the intermediate lifter, and is pretty versatile as it can be placed at the beginning of the workout to prepare the body for more advanced exercise variations, or it can be performed after the more advanced movements have been completed. You can perform this exercise on its own, you can pair it with another exercise as part of a superset, or can you even make it part of a metabolic conditioning circuit. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps of the goblet squat with heartbeat.


Women who are comfortable with the goblet squat with heartbeat exercise can choose to perform negative goblet squats with heartbeat where the lowering phase is increased to 3-5 seconds. This trains the muscles eccentrically. You can also perform the pause squat variation, pausing for 3-5 seconds in the bottom position, or you can combine the negative and pause squat variations. You can also increase the weight/resistance for multiple sets (2-4+) of fewer repetitions (3-6), but make sure that your form remains good.

Benefits of Goblet Squats With Heartbeat:

The goblet squat with heartbeat is very beneficial for someone who might not currently have the requisite levels of technical proficiency, strength, stability and mobility to perform barbell front squats. Like the barbell front squat, this exercise also trains the body to remain in a more upright position, and challenges the core muscles, particularly the anterior core. This exercise can be used in many different kettlebell workouts for women. How a woman chooses to use the goblet squat with heartbeat is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much weight is being used, the set/rep scheme used, where the exercise falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general, the goblet squat with heartbeat can be used to do any or all of the following:

  • increasing lower body strength, primarily in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings
  • increasing upper body strength, especially if a heavier kettlebell is being held
  • increasing core strength, particularly the anterior core
  • building muscle
  • fat loss (if your diet and exercise routines are conducive to fat loss)
  • increasing conditioning (if used as part of conditioning circuits)
  • These are the goblet squat benefits

How to perform a Goblet Squat With Heartbeat:

  • Clean the kettlebell up to the starting position. If you are not comfortable doing this, get somebody to pass it to you.
  • Grab the kettlebell by the “horns” making sure that you keep the kettlebell right against your chest. To do this, squeeze your upper arms into your sides. You can even pretend that you are crushing something in your armpits. Allowing the kettlebell to separate from your body will cause the muscles in your lower back to do unnecessary work.
  • Before you descend into the squat, take a deep breath in (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core (imagine that you’re about to block a soccer ball with your stomach), and lightly tuck your rib cage down towards your hips (close the space in your midsection).
  • While maintaining muscular control and the same tempo the entire time, simultaneously move at the knees and hips, and aim to sit between your heels.
  • Once you are in the bottom position, press the kettlebell away from your body, bring it back to your chest, and stand back up.
  • When you extend your arms, keep your chest up, shoulders back, and keep your shoulders packed. Do not allow your shoulders to round or shrug.
  • As you stand up and lock out at the top position, squeeze your glutes, quads and hamstrings, brace your core, and keep your rib cage down (close the space in your midsection) to prevent your lower back from arching and help you maintain proper alignment.
  • Keep your torso relatively upright and your chest up.
  • Make sure that your weight remains in the mid-back portion of your feet but keep your toes down, particularly your big and baby toes. This will improve your stability and strength, and ability to perform the exercise.
  • Maintain a neutral spine.
  • Do not allow your knees to collapse in or fall outside of your feet.
  • Squat only as deep as proper form allows you to go. Do not sacrifice form for depth.
  • Reset before each rep.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  • Make your first set your warm-up set and just use bodyweight or a light kettlebell.
  • Only add more weight when you have good goblet squat form. Your number one priority should be good form, not making yourself tired.

Video Transcription: 

One of my favorite variations of the kettlebell goblet squat is the goblet squat with heartbeat.  Now, this one absolutely kills your anterior core, also known as your abs, so you are definitely going to need to lighten up on the weight a little bit. If you normally use a 16 kilo or 35 pound kettlebell, you’re going to want to drop down to a 8 or 12 kilo which is about 18 to 26 pounds.

This is what the goblet squat heartbeat looks like; you are going to clean the bell up the exact same way you do with a regular goblet squat and when you drop down in the bottom, you are going to press it away from you and then pull it back to your chest. Then, come back up. That’s one rep. Push back into my hips, grab the weight, clean it up, pull it up to my chest but not too close, sit down on the bottom, press it out, row it back and stand up. I’ll show you from the side what it looks like...  make sure you can control that weight the whole time.



Want to learn more about the women’s health and fitness issues you care most about?

Get Access to Our Free 5-Day Courses

Find the most up-to-date and helpful resources for tackling body image struggles, pre- & postnatal training issues, and everything in between.

Whether you’re a health and fitness professional looking to level up your knowledge or a woman wanting to feel stronger, fitter, and more confident, get the advice you can trust from the experts at Girls Gone Strong.

About the author:  Alli McKee

Alli is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. She's contributed to and modeled for a number of major publications including Oxygen magazine and the New Rules of Lifting: Supercharged. You can find out more about Alli on her personal blog at www.allimckee.com.

More Resources

envelope-oclosechevron-upchevron-downbookmark-otwitterfacebookchainbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram