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What is a Dumbbell Squat?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2016
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The dumbbell squat is a variation on a regular squat exercise that involves using dumbbells, or handheld weights, to enhance the impact of the workout. When performing a dumbbell squat, a lifter will hold a dumbbell in each hand; the weight depends on the lifter's current physical fitness as well as his or her fitness goals. The lifter will then perform a regular squat as he or she would without dumbbells in the hands. The dumbbell squat intensifies the motion and works the muscles to a higher degree than a regular squat would. There are a few different variations of the dumbbell squat as well so a workout can be varied according to fitness goals.

To perform the most common type of dumbbell squat, one should stand up straight with the feet about hip-width apart. Bend down to pick up a dumbbell with each hand. The dumbbells should be of matching weight to work the body evenly and to prevent a loss of balance. Return to a standing position and prepare to squat. The squat is performed by bending downward at the waist as though sitting on a chair. One should be sure to keep the back straight throughout. The squat is at its bottom point when the knees are bent at about ninety degrees. The torso will naturally bend forward, but it is still important to keep the back straight throughout. Do not slouch.

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The dumbbells will hang straight down, the arms dangling at the sides throughout the entire motion. Once the bottom of the squat motion has been reached, one should hold the position briefly, then return to a standing position. The lifter will usually do ten to fifteen repetitions of the motion before putting the weights down and resting. Depending on the lifter's fitness level, several sets of the exercise can be done to build muscle.

Intended to build muscle in the glutes, hips, and thighs, the dumbbell squat can be changed slightly for comfort and ease. Instead of hanging the dumbbells at the sides of the body, the weights can be lifted just above the shoulders and held there throughout the squatting motion. A significantly more difficult variation on the dumbbell squat is the one-legged squat. To perform this exercise, a lifter needs to have exceptional balance, and for safety, a spotter should be standing by. The one-legged squat is performed exactly like a regular squat, except one leg is lifted off the ground and all the weight is placed on the other leg.

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