Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning


Goblet Squat in High School Baseball

By Chris Giacchino, ATC, CSCS, Cleveland Indians

In an attempt to better serve the coaches, players and parents involved in youth and high school baseball, the PBSCCS periodically publishes information on factors that can affect conditioning and performance at these levels. Topics are selected from questions submitted by participants, coaches and parents involved in youth and high school sports.

The question for this posting was from a high school strength and conditioning coach who said – “I have a very small weight room and no squat racks or leg press machine, what is a relatively simple exercise that all of my baseball players can do to enhance lower body strength and help reduce the risk of injury” For a response, the PBSCCS contacted Chris Giacchino, ATC, CSCS, Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Cleveland Indians for his recommendation.

“In my opinion, one of the most effective and most underestimated strength training exercises for the lower body is the goblet squat.” The goblet squat is named for how you hold the weight in your hands; like holding a goblet. It is a relatively simple exercise that can be performed almost anywhere, anytime, by anyone that does not require special equipment. It is a closed kinetic chain, total body exercise that can strengthen several sections of the body from the ground up. They activate the muscles of the arms, shoulders and upper back to help keep the torso upright and improve thoracic extension. They teach the movement pattern in the squat and activate the muscles of core, hips, thighs, ankles and feet to prevent posterior pelvic tit and improve lower body strength. They also help improve mobility in the hips and ankles, enhance proprioception, improve balance and increase torso stability.

How to do it. Proper technique is essential with all exercises, including the goblet squat, to improve lower body range of motion, joint stability and strength, develop postural awareness, improve balance and increase trunk stability.

·       Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider and toes pointing slightly out.

·       Hold a kettlebell (KB) or DB close to your chest.

·       Your head is up, eyes straight ahead and trunk upright.

·       When using a KB, hold it by the horns and close to your chest.

·       When using a DB, hold it vertically with one end between the palms of your hands with fingers pointing up and elbows pointing down and close to your chest.

·       Inhale, set your core and then push your hips down and back, flex your knees and squat down as you are sitting on a chair.

·       Keep your head up, eyes forward, chest up and back flat from start to finish.

·       Keep the KB or DB close to your chest and squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your elbows are between your knees.

·       Pause slightly at the bottom position and then exhale, drive through your heels, extend your hips, knees, ankles and feet to drive up to the starting position.

·       Extend your hips fully at the top and squeeze your glutes.

·       This is one rep.

·       Keep the KB or DB close to your chest, head up, eyes forward, back flat and chest up throughout the range of motion.

·       Start with 2 sets of 10 reps with a light to moderate load to ensure perfect form.

·       Gradually increase to 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps with more weight.

Coaching points:

·        Be sure to hit the true bottom on each rep, i.e., thighs parallel to the ground.

·        Your knees should point straight forward over your toes; don’t allow them to cave in or bow out.

·        Check your position at the bottom of the squat; your elbows should be inside the knees at the lowest point of the squat to help ensure that your knees are aligned with your toes.

·        Keep the KB or DB and both elbows close to your chest.

·        Keep you core tight, head and eyes up, back flat and chest up on each rep.

·        Extend your hips and squeeze your glutes tight at the top of each rep.

·        Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up.

·        Avoid bending forward at the waist and keep both heels flat on the ground at all times. Both of these movements will upset stability and balance and increase the risk of injury by falling forward.


·       Athletes having trouble squatting against resistance and youth athletes can perform a body weight goblet squat. Hold your hands together as if holding a goblet (or straight out in front) and perform the same movements used in a goblet squat.

·       Athletes having trouble squatting to parallel can perform box goblet squats to help learn how to squat deeper.


·       Gradually increase sets and/or reps to improve local muscular endurance.

·       Gradually increase weight and decrease reps for 3-4 sets to improve strength.

·       Perform an explosive jump when returning to the top of the squat with lower to moderate resistance for 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps to improve rate of force development (power).

·       Increase TUT by adding eccentrics and isometric holds throughout the ROM

·       The goblet squat is also a perfect lead-up exercise for the back and front squat.


Chris Giacchino, ATC, CSCS, is a minor league strength and conditioning coach with the Cleveland Indians.


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