7 Best Knee-Friendly Goblet Squat Alternatives

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Goblet squats are a great option for people who are new to weighted squats and do not have enough strength, stamina, and balance to go for back squats with a loaded barbell. They are also recommended for people suffering from back issues who are not allowed to do regular squats. 

However, if you are suffering from knee injury or pain, goblet squats may worsen your condition, just like any other squat variation. That’s why I have found these goblet squat alternative exercises that can help you target the same muscle groups and achieve almost the same results that you would get from goblet squats. 

These goblet squat alternatives are not just knee-friendly exercises but also a better option for people who do not have enough balance and stability for squatting with weights. 

So, let's begin!

Wall squats- The most challenging goblet squat alternative 

Goblet squat alternative

A lot of people assume wall squats are easy and suitable for beginners. But, if you have ever tried it, you will agree with me that it is not meant for everyone. You need to have a lot of core and quad strength to do deep wall squats, where your hips are parallel or below parallel to the ground. If your legs aren’t strong enough, you may not be able to hold your position for more than 10 seconds. And, you may not be able to do a decent number of reps.  

That's why I recommend this goblet squat alternative to only those people who are strong enough to keep their quads in constant tension for at least a minute and do at least 4 reps at a time. 

You can either stay still while squatting or you may raise your heels as you can see in the image above. Feel free to do any other leg movement that you can while still staying in the squatting position.

📖 Related Article: If you are looking for goblet squat alternatives, you may be interested in learning how to regain/improve your deep squat mobility

Glute bridges and hip thrusts- safest goblet squat alternatives for people suffering from knee pain or injury

Goblet squat alternative exercises

Both these exercises involve the use of abductors, glutes, hamstrings, abs, and lower back muscles. They are pretty easy on the knees and almost all other joints of your body. Plus, you will be surprised to know that hip thrusts put more stress on the glute muscles than squats. 

So, grab a mat or a chair and start doing these two easy goblet squat alternatives that can help you tone your lower body without straining your knees. 

To increase the intensity of these workouts, you can hold weights on your thighs. Bumper plates are better but if you don’t have them, you can use dumbbells/kettlebells. To ensure that your knees remain in line with your body, you may use a resistance loop band

💡 Quick Tip: Looking for dumbbells for your small home gym. I highly recommend FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbell because you can adjust its weight as you grow stronger. It eliminates the need for multiple dumbbells.

FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbell

Stability ball hamstring rolls- The perfect goblet squat alternative for people who love challenges 

Hamstring curl as goblet squat alternative

This exercise too helps strengthen glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core; the four main muscle groups used for doing goblet squats. But, as expected it requires you to use a lot of stabilizing muscles. If you have never tried stability ball exercises, go slow, or else you may end up hurting yourself. 

Deadlifts- A goblet squat alternative for people who love to train with weights 

deadlift as goblet squat alternative

This compound exercise helps activate the largest lower body muscles. It also targets the spinal and hip muscles. If you are unable to do goblet squats due to knee pain or injury, you should try deadlifts because, in this exercise, the knees remain pretty stable. 

You can deadlift with a loaded barbell or with dumbbells.

💡 Quick Tip: If you want to deadlift heavy, I strongly recommend you to use hex bars or trap bars such as Hulkfit Olympic 2″ HEX Open Trap bar because they keep the weights on the side of your body, thereby minimizing strain on your lower back.

Hulkfit Olympic 2″ HEX Open Trap bar

Banded leg curls- A no-fuss, extremely simple goblet squat alternative

goblet squat alternative

If you are recovering from an injury, resistance band exercises are a safer option than free weights because they offer smoother movements. Resistance band leg curls are not a replacement for heavy exercises such as goblet squats but they can help keep your leg muscles active until you have recovered enough to perform other variations of squats. Plus, the isolation and contraction of muscles during curl helps strengthen them so you can train harder and better. 

💡 Quick Tip: If you are already in a good shape, the standard inexpensive resistance bands sold online may not provide enough challenge to you. That's why I recommend Rogue resistance bands because they can provide up to 200lbs of resistance.

Rogue resistance bands

Leg press using leg press machines- The goblet squat alternative meant for advanced trainers 

Goblet squat alternative

For this, you will have to buy a leg press machine and weight plates. Now, not many of us would be interested in making such a huge investment of money and space. But, if you are an athlete, a budding powerlifter, a military person, etc, who has to keep his legs strong and toned, having a leg press machine in your home gym makes a lot of sense. It provides all the benefits of goblet squats and yet, it keeps you safe from injuries and accidents. 

📖 Related Article: Do you know changing the position of your feet on the leg press machine can help you target different muscle groups? This article lists 5 Different Leg Press Foot Placements and Their Benefits.

Back squats using smith machine- a goblet squat alternative suitable for people suffering from balancing problems 

Smith machine squat as goblet squat alternative

This isn’t a knee-friendly exercise in the true sense because you will still be lifting weights. But, as you may be knowing, smith machines are designed to help you lift heavier and safer because the barbell is connected to the machine and there is no way it will fall on your feet or chest even if you miss your rep or lose your balance. 

Many people do not have enough flexibility to squat deep without losing balance. Now, goblet squats too require a decent amount of balance. If you don’t have that, you may want to invest in a smith machine for working out safely in your home gym. I have already created a list of the best smith machines in case you are interested. 

Wrap up: 

I have selected the most common and easy-to-do goblet squat alternatives that almost everyone can do at home. But, I am sure there are many more options that can be added to this list. 

Do you know one? 

Feel free to share your ideas or suggestions so I can improve/grow this list if needed. 

That’s it for this article. But, there are many other informational articles available on our website that could interest you. Keep reading!

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