The Right Way to Do Dumbbell Squats

Squats Gone Wrong

I think when his trainer said dumbbell squats, maybe they meant hold the weights not stand on them?
How do people come up with this stuff?

Squats Gone Wrong
Shattered ankle in t-minus 5….4….3…

While on Facebook, this image came across my timeline.  I knew immediately this wasn’t some joke or staged exercise.  It was another “functional fitness” believer preaching the virtues of doing stability work.
Before I go on … Stability work is important!
What I do not agree with is the manner in which it is being done.  The image above clearly being one of those.

In defense of this particular exercise somebody said…

“You guys have to realize that when training for performance versus looks, a major tool is trying to balance while performing. Its a great core workout and improves balance. What he is doing is very impressive.”

Here’s my No B.S. take on this exercise in particular.
When the exercise itself puts you more at risk than any potential benefits, it’s a bad setup.
From an entertainment perspective only, I agree that what he is doing is impressive.  It takes a no fear attitude, a lot of practice and some excellent core strength and balance.  Purely from a Las Vegas show frame of reference, indeed, the person has skill.
Maybe this exercise should be called … how to break your ankle.
Would variables to make it harder be:

  • standing on one leg
  • doing a jump squat
  • how about a pistol squat added in for good measure

How to Do Dumbbell Squats:

1.  Stand with the feet slightly apart with a dumbbell in each hand.  Arms relaxed (use straps if you have grip issues) and look straight ahead.
2.  Take a breath, slightly arch your back and bend at the knees.
3.  When your thighs are about parallel, stand up.
4.  Remember to breathe out!
A dumbbell squat mainly works the quadriceps (front leg muscle) and the gluteal muscles (butt).
Tip:  No need to go heavy on this one.  Use a weight that is 50-60% of your estimated 1 RM and attempt for 10-15 repetitions per set for the best results.
Dumbbell Squats from Strength Training Anatomy
One of the best resources I’ve ever owned regarding the best exercises for every body part is called Strength Training Anatomy.  This is by far the best reference you can own that will show you every muscle used and how to properly do the exercise.   My only complaint is that I wish it was in paperback form so it would fit in my gym bag nicely!
Be Fit, Stay Strong!
Marc David – CPT

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