Dumbbell one-leg split squat exercise

Dumbbell one-leg split squat

Exercise details

  • Movement pattern: Squat
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Main muscles activated

Muscles activated by dumbbell one-leg split squat exercise


Starting position

  1. Grasp a pair of dumbbells and hold them by your sides.
  2. Stand with your back facing the side of a bench, leaving a few feet of space between you and the bench.
  3. Raise one leg backward and place the top of your foot on top of the bench.


  1. Keeping your torso upright, inhale as you squat down with your supporting leg until either the knee of your supporting leg makes a 90-degree angle or the knee of your back leg nearly touches the floor.
  2. Exhale as you push yourself back up to the starting position.
  3. Repeat for more repetitions.
  4. Repeat the exercise with your opposite leg.

Comments and tips

  • Keep the dumbbells by your side, your head up, and your torso upright.
  • Keep your foot flat, and the knee and foot of your supporting leg pointing forward, in the same direction.
  • When you squat, make sure that your front knee does not move in front of your toes.
  • Although your quadriceps will always be the targets/prime movers, the wider your legs are split, the more you will activate your gluteus maximus.
  • The dumbbell one-leg split squat is great for improving your lunge and squat, as well as enhancing your balance and developing unilateral functional strength.
  • Always start with your weak leg, and do not perform more repetitions with your strong leg. This will promote equal contralateral strength (i.e. equal strength in both sides of your body).
  • The dumbbell one-leg split squat is also known as the dumbbell Bulgarian split squat and the back-foot-elevated split squat.
  • See also the dumbbell split squat and the dumbbell goblet split squat.

Dumbbell one-leg split squat video


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