Doing squats

How to Do Squats with Dumbbells

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: February 25, 2021
How to Do Squats with Dumbbells

The universe of squats is practically infinite. We've found many variations of this exercise with those that mainly work the leg muscles, as well as the buttocks and even the torso or, some variations also work the arms. When using weights, you have a choice of using bars, kettlebells, medicine balls or dumbbells. We'll focus on dumbbells in this article. If you have questions about this topic, this OneHowTo gives you a few tips on how to do squats with dumbbells.

You may also be interested in: What Muscles Do Barbell Squats Target?

Steps to follow:


The first question to answer is which dumbbell do you use? Do you use a 5 or a 15 kilo dumbbell? Obviously there are several factors that influence the answer, such as the individual's physical ability, their experience, the number of repetitions to do, etc. It's recommended you start with light weights and as you start to get used to the technique, then you can start using heavier weights.

Of course, bear in mind that you have to do 10 or 12 repetitions per set, so a very heavy dumbbell can cause you to become imbalanced, so you could damage your back or knees.


Once this question is answered, pick up a dumbbell in each hand and stand in the starting position. This is similar to that of normal squats with your feet open at shoulder height, taut abs and a straight torso. Your feet and knees must be pointing in the same direction.

Then bend your knees and start to squat down, which must always be in a controlled way. If you allow yourself to drop down without controlling the movement as you lower yourself, you can lose your balance or hurt your knees. Squat until you form a 90º angle and return to the initial position without lifting your heels off the ground at any point.

How to Do Squats with Dumbbells - Step 2

Normally, you do squats with light weight dumbbells so it allows you to do a double squat. Take your dumbbells in both hands and lower yourself down as if you're doing a regular squat. Unlike with a conventional squat, when you've lowered yourself down, instead of coming straight back up, just move slightly up and down again, before returning to the start position.

A good routine would be:

Starting position > lower to 90º > rise up to a ¾ squat > lower back to 90º > return to the starting position.


You can also do overhead squats with dumbbells or Turkish Get Ups, which is one of the most comprehensive exercises for exercising the muscles in the lower limbs, the torso and even the upper body. The key part of this exercise is keeping the dumbbell above your head.

Lift the dumbbell over your head, and squat down as if you're doing a normal squat. It looks easy but it's not. You can make this easier or harder by holding the dumbbell with both hands, one hand or with a dumbbell in each hand.

How to Do Squats with Dumbbells - Step 4
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Finally, you can use dumbbells to do sumo or open squats. Spread your legs beyond shoulder width, with your knees and toes pointed out in the form of V, and hold the dumbbell in front of your body. Lower yourself to the floor until your backside and knees are parallel, and remember to keep your torso straight.

How to Do Squats with Dumbbells - Step 5
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How to Do Squats with Dumbbells