Dumbbell Overhead Squat exercise targets the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and the core muscles as you have to contract your abdominals tight to support your lower back and keep the body in an upright position.

Secondary emphasis will be on the frontal heads of the shoulders and upper back which will be tasked with supporting the dumbbells overhead.

Dumbbells are much harder to balance than a barbell which means there is greater core activation.

It is for this same reason that you should only use light to moderately heavy dumbbells. Dumbbell Overhead Squats generates better muscle growth with high reps.

This is an effective exercise to develop leg, hip and core strength for soccer, basketball, football and tennis.

Dumbbell Overhead Squats How To

  • Assume your regular barbell squat position; feet shoulder width apart, toes slightly angled out and make sure your core is tight.
  • Clean and press a pair of light to moderately heavy dumbbells over your head.
  • In the fully extended position, your wrists must be directly in line with your shoulders, hips and heels. Pull your ribcage to your abs to tighten your core.
  • Inhale then initiate the squat by bending at the hips then flexing the knee. Descend until the top of your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Exhale then squat up by pushing your feet through the floor. Maintain alignment with your wrists, shoulders, hips and heels and keep your core tight all throughout the movement.
  • When you get to the top position, stabilise your body, inhale then descend again to the bottom position.
  • Repeat the movement until you have completed the targeted number of reps.

Form and Technique

This is a variation of the regular squat which puts most of the weight distribution on the quadriceps because of the upright position of the body.

Keeping your body in perfect alignment is crucial to maximise muscle development and for safety reasons.

Another key element here is maintaining stability with the dumbbells in the overhead position.

Using dumbbells requires more balance and this will result in constantly shifting forces on your shoulders.

A quick fix would be to turn the outer wrists slightly inward to remove pressure from your rotator cuff.

VariationsBarbell Overhead Squat

Routine for Strength: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Routine for Muscle Gains: 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps

Dumbbell Overhead Squats

How To Do Dumbbell Overhead Squat