Dumbbell split squat exercise

Dumbbell split squat

Exercise details

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

Main muscles activated

Muscles activated by dumbbell split squat exercise


Starting Position

  1. Grasp a pair of dumbbells and hold them by your sides.
  2. Step one foot back far enough so that when you lower your back knee, you are in a half-kneeling position.


  1. Keeping your arms to your sides and torso upright, inhale as you lower your back knee almost to the ground by bending both knees and flexing your front hip.
  2. Exhale as you return to the starting position by straightening both knees and extending your front hip.
  3. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  4. Repeat with the opposite foot in front.

Comments and tips

  • The dumbbell split squat is great for developing unilateral leg strength, enhancing balance and improving your lunges and squats.
  • Maintain an upright torso and a neutral back throughout the exercise.
  • For the safety of your knees and ankles, make sure that your knees and feet point in the same direction.
  • When you squat, your front knee should not move past your toes.
  • The heel of your rear foot may be elevated off the floor throughout the movement.
  • The majority of your weight should be on your front foot.
  • Drive through your front foot when returning to the starting position.
  • The quadriceps will always be the target muscle in this exercise, but you may vary how much the gluteus maximus is activated by adjusting the distance between your feet. The further apart your feet are, the more activated the gluteus maximus will be.
  • To promote equal strength in both sides of your body, start with your weak leg and do not perform more repetitions with your strong leg.
  • See also the dumbbell one-leg split squat, the dumbbell Bulgarian split squat, and the dumbbell goblet split squat.
  • You can also use barbells or opt not to use any gym equipment in the Bulgarian split squat.

Dumbbell split squat video


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