Not many people seem to enjoy leg work, and in particular, the word ‘squats’ can cause dread to many lifters, who’d much prefer to use the leg press or invent excuses as to why they can’t squat that day.
The fact is, many people just don’t like doing squats, or, don’t feel safe with a barbell hoisted on their back. If they work out alone, then I completely understand that, so I propose that you get your leg work in by doing dumbbell squats, instead.
Now, you could be forgiven for thinking that holding heavy dumbbells up high whilst you squat would be even more tenuous than having a far more stable barbell up there… and you would be right.
That’s why the dumbbell squat is done with the dumbbells not held up, but, held hanging to the sides. (You now have no safety reasons at all to avoid squats, I’ve just entrapped you!)
Performing the dumbbell squat is easy:
1. Take hold of 2 dumbbells (make them heavy!) and hold them to your sides, palms turned inwards. (Use a lot of small denominator plates rather than a few big ones to allow you to squat lower without the plates touching the floor.)
2. Take a stance width which suits you, being sure to keep your toes pointed slightly outwards, as always. (For dumbbell squats, you may need to alter your stance from regular squats, so be prepared for change.)
3. Now, facing forward and keeping your back straight as you would with regular barbell squats, bend at the knee until your thigh goes below parallel to the floor, and then push back up. (When descending and ascending, always be sure to make the knees follow the direction the toes point in. Keep your shins vertical at all times, and don’t be tempted to bend your arms to try to help with the weight, as this will only throw you off balance; keep them straight and by your sides!)