How to Do Dumbbell Squats

Dumbbell Squats have always been one of the most effective exercises available to strengthen and tone your entire body. Squats are a great choice for every age and fitness level. Everyone from beginners to seasoned athletes can benefit from squats.

Squat exercises are considered by many as the King of exercises because they work the largest muscles in the body, the thighs and glutes. They also a spike in the metabolism that spurs upper body growth and a large increase in calories burned.

Research shows that using free weights like dumbbells with your squat exercises will activate the upper leg muscles almost 50% more than doing machine squats.

Dumbbell Squats

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Have your feet facing straight ahead with your toes pointed slightly out. I have my toes pointed out for better balance and to put less pressure on the knees.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and make sure to lock your back at a slight angle forward. Your back will remain rigid through the exercise letting your abdominal, glute, and quad muscles do all of the work.

  • Bend your knees and slowly lower into a squat, just like you are going to sit in a chair. Stop when you are at a 90-degree angle. 

  • Slowly stand back up and make sure you don’t lock your knees at the top. Repeat the exercise for 10-12 reps.

dumbbell squat exercise position #1
dumbbell squat exercise position #2Kyle Demonstrating the Dumbbell Squat


  • Make sure you lock your back at one angle and keep it there through the exercise. You want to feel the impact on your quads and glutes, not on your back. 
  • Keep your head up. Research has found that when you look down while doing a squat, your body leans forward 4-5% putting extra strain on your lower back.

  • For added focus, try and pick something to stare at that is directly in front of you at eye level while doing your squats.

  • Most individuals should start with light weights or no weights at all until they are comfortable performing squats. You can always add weight and increase it as you progress.

  • To increase the effectiveness, keep your abs engaged through the entire exercise, give your butt an extra squeeze when you are returning to your starting position. 

Benefits of Dumbbell Squats

  • Core Activity. Adding weights to a squat exercise really forces extra work on the core muscles as they try and maintain balance and stability. Squats actually work the muscles of your core better than most ab exercises.  

  • Compound Exercise. Compound exercises like dumbbell squats work multiple muscle groups at the same time and can effectively burn more calories per rep than isolated exercises which only work one muscle. This makes the squat one of the best exercises you can use in your efforts to lose weight and/or re-sculpt your body.

  • Metabolic Spike.  Dumbbell squats create a post workout "afterburn" effect that keeps your metabolism spiked higher for hours even after your workout is over.This increase in your metabolic rate will burn a considerable number of extra calories. 

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

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