The Dumbbell Split-Squat is a Squat variation you can use to build strength and power in your legs and hips, particularly the quads. One of its advantages over a traditional Squat is that it works the legs individually to build balanced lower-body strength. Through this guide, you’ll learn how to perform the Dumbbell Split-Squat to take your training to the next level. Finally, check out some of STACK's Dumbbell Split-Squat workout videos, featuring elite athletes like Chris Johnson, to learn how to adapt the Dumbbell Split-Squat for your sport.
Dumbbell Split-Squat How-To
- Assume staggered stance holding dumbbells at sides
- Bend front knee to lower into lunge until thigh is parallel to ground; keep front knee behind toes
- Extend hip and knee to drive up to start position; repeat for specified reps
- Perform set with opposite leg
Beginners should focus on perfecting form and technique before adding resistance. Perform Bodyweight Split-Squats and Single-Leg Squats to build strength and stability.
Advanced Dumbbell Split-Squats
Advanced athletes can increase the challenge by placing their front foot on an Airex pad, elevating their rear foot to improve stability and balance or performing with a barbell to emphasize strength and trunk stability. Also, explosively drive up out of the Split-Squat to increase power, or hold the lunge for three to five seconds to increase strength.
Common Dumbbell Split-Squat Mistakes and Solutions
- Front Knee Travels Beyond Toes: Increase foot separation in the starting stance so your front knee is directly over your ankle and your thigh is parallel to ground in the lunge position.
- Rear Knee Touches Ground: Increase foot separation in starting stance so your rear knee is one to two inches above ground in the lunge position.
- Torso Tilts Forward: Reduce the weight of the dumbbells for subsequent sets. This could result from tight hip flexors and quads. Perform a proper dynamic warm-up and focus on consistently stretching these muscles post-workout.
Dumbbell Split-Squat Technique Variations
Before performing the Dumbbell Split-Squat, it’s important to master the traditional Squat. Learn how to Squat and find a full list of Squat variations in Squat 101: A How-To Guide.