This is a great way to get a HUGE range of motion on a squat exercise while keeping your torso in a very upright and neutral position.
Most squat exercises have you freestanding, which means you have to compensate for the position of the weight by basically being less vertical, which puts tension onto the back. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be an obstacle for some people, especially if you want to get FULL range of motion.
This version is a one dumbell squat using the OTHER hand to grip on a bar. You can use this grip to spot yourself but primarily to brace your body, which will allow you to keep your torso more upright while doing DEEP squats.
It’s a nice exercise that will let you hit your quads and glutes HARD. The glutes respond extremely well to deep squatting – they fire more strongly from the deep bottom position than with parallel squats.
I’m using a 125 lb dumbell and I’ve got the bar set on the rails of a power rack about 4 feet off the ground. You can see how even at the bottom of the movement, my torso is vertical and I’m sitting back. THAT is what this exercise does for you.
Now just stand up.
Torso stays vertical the whole time.
I like to do half the reps on one side then immediately switch to the other for balanced effects on the core and legs.
On each rep, don’t take tension off the legs but touch one end of the dumbell down on the ground to make sure you’re getting full range of motion. Just keep that tension on!
Being able to sit back like this is also going to help you keep your knees from going beyond your toes (if you’re worried about stuff like that – me, I’m not worried because the knee is designed to movements like that).
And unless you have knee issues, deeps squats are NOT bad for your knees, as many people worry about. Smith machine squats and leg extensions are MUCH worse for your knees.
This is a nice variation to try – it also allows you to really push the reps until your legs are trashed as you can just set the dumbell down when you’re done and you can use your arm to spot yourself.
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.