1.5 Rep Goblet Squat

How To Do A 1.5 Rep Goblet Squat
By Alli McKeeSeptember 26, 2016

1.5 Rep Goblet Squat Exercise

The 1.5 rep goblet squat 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 1.5 reps makes it more challenging than the regular goblet squat. 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, or the core strength to keep your torso in an upright stance.

Equipment needed:

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

Ability level:


The 1.5 rep goblet squat 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 1.5 rep goblet squat 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 1.5 rep goblet squat.


Women who are comfortable with the 1.5 rep goblet squat exercise can choose to perform negative 1.5 rep goblet squats where the lowering phase to each position 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 each 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).

Benefits of 1.5 Rep Goblet Squats:

The 1.5 rep goblet squat 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 1.5 rep goblet squat 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 1.5 rep goblet squat 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)

How to perform a 1.5 Rep Goblet Squat:

  • 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. Stand halfway up, squat back down to the bottom position, then return to the starting position.
  • 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 lighter kettlebell.
  • Only add more weight when you have good goblet squat form. Your number one priority should be good form, not making yourself tired.
  • Please refer to the goblet squat video.

Video Transcription: 

The one and a half rep goblet squat is a fantastic goblet squat variation if you’re not ready to go up to heavier kettlebell yet,  but you want to make the weight that you’re using a little bit more challenging. And it's exactly what it sounds like -- you’re going to squat down to the bottom of the squat, come up halfway, go back down and then come up.

So pick up the weight just like normal, push back, hold it under the horns, right next to your body, set your core, breathe in. Drop down to the bottom of the squat, come up halfway, drop back down, and stand all the way up. Remember, you’re maintaining a nice neutral core the whole time.

Man those are brutal!


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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.

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