One of the best exercises you can perform in the gym is the squat but what if you are training at home with limited equipment? When doing this exercise in the gym you would typically use a power rack or a squat rack as well as an Olympic barbell and some weights. However if you are training at home you probably won’t have access to that sort of equipment unless you are lucky enough to have a well equipped home gym.
So how can you do squats at at home? Well, the good news is that with just a couple of dumbbells you can perform this excellent exercise and get your legs and lower body in great shape in no time at all.
Why Even Bother Doing Squats?
If you are new to working out and are just starting out on the road to getting in shape you might be wondering why a normal, sane person would do the squat exercise. It can look quite dangerous from a far, seeing someone tottering about with 100’s of pounds of iron resting on their neck while they squat down lower than you probably ever do even without any weight on your back! So why bother doing this lower body exercise? Well there are a few good reasons for doing squats:
- If you fail to exercise and develop the muscles in your lower body, your upper body won’t improve as well as it could as your body has a natural tendency to keep both your halves in proportion.
- Despite the above your upper body will develop somewhat and if you don’t work your lower body you will end up with chicken legs propping up an out of proportion, muscular upper body: not a good look!
- If you want your lower body to be toned and beach-ready then you need to exercise your leg muscles and the squat is the best way to do it. No one wants to see a flabby backside at the beach and the squat is one sure-fire way to eliminate any unwanted wobble.
- The more muscle your body consists of the more calories it burns during the day and night. As there are lots of muscles in your legs and lower body, developing those muscles can help increase your overall daily calorie expenditure meaning its easier to lose weight and you can get away with eating more of what you like, not just the food that is good for you.
Dumbbells Squats at Home for Powerful Legs
So now you know why you should be doing squats its time to look at how you can do them at home without lots of expensive gym equipment. The best way to do this exercise with the least equipment without going totally DIY and doing water bottle squats or building your own rack is to use a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells and do this exercise that way. As dumbbells tend to be lighter than an Olympic bar and some plates you probably won’t be able to go as heavy as you can in the gym but you can do more reps and go deeper to make up for this shortcoming.
How to Do Dumbbell Squats:
- Get into the starting position by standing up straight with your legs shoulder width apart and your toes pointing out ahead of you but with a slight turn out to the sides. Take a weight in each hand with your palms facing in and your arms relaxed by your sides.
- Start to bend your legs at the knees but keep your back and neck straight, while you look out, straight ahead.
- As you begin to squat down make sure that your knees are above your toes and do not move forwards, past them. You should not be leaning forward but lowering yourself as if sitting down on an imaginary chair.
- When you get to the point where your thighs and upper legs are parallel with the floor you can stop there and return to the starting position by breathing out and pushing up from the heels of your feet in an explosive a manner as you can manage.
- Alternatively, if you are using a weight that is comfortable and you don’t have any heavier dumbbells, or you just want to push yourself further you can continue squatting past where your upper legs are parallel with the floor and go down as low as you can. This is known as ‘ass to the grass’ and makes this exercise even more effective and challenging.
- Once you get back to the starting position take a moment then do it all over again.
How many reps? If your goal is to build muscle and tone and develop your lower body then we recommend doing 3 or 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps. Personally I’d go for one warm up set with a light weight of eights reps and then three sets of heavy squats for eight reps each. However if you only have light weights at home then do more reps and sets until you can do no more.
Going Deep vs Using a Heavier Weight
For some people going down as low as parallel is enough for them and they prefer to add more weight to this exercise instead of going down as low as possible. Personally, I always always opt for doing an exercise as well as possible before increasing the weight. So for me, I’d recommend you go down as low as you can rather than doing a half-squat and increasing the weight.
Over to You
So whether you are male or female, training because you want to lose weight, get in shape or just get stronger the squat should be at the heart of any routine you follow. If you are training at home there is no excuse not to do this exercise as a pair of dumbbells or a set of kettlebells are more than adequate. Even if you don’t have any weights you can still do this exercise and get some benefit from it.