Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Unilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Adductors, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Dumbbell Split Squat Overview

The dumbbell split squat is a dumbbell lunge variation and an exercise used to target the muscles of the quads, as well as the rest of the muscles of the leg.

The split squat looks very similar to a lunge. However, the feet stay in one place for the most part during this exercise. Thus, some may refer to the dumbbell split squat as a static lunge.

Dumbbell Split Squat Instructions

  1. Set up in a split stance position while gripping dumbbells by your side with a neutral grip.
  2. Descend by flexing both knees simultaneously and continue until the back knee touches the ground directly beneath the hip.
  3. Drive through the front foot and extend the knee as you return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Dumbbell Split Squat Tips

  1. If you want to emphasize the quads during the split squat, focus on taking a slightly smaller split stance and drive up through the ball of the foot.
  2. If you want to emphasize the glutes and hamstrings during the split squat, focus on taking a slightly larger split stance and drive up through the heel of the foot.
  3. If you’re an overextended athlete then you may find it more beneficial to allow for slightly more torso lean throughout the drill as this will help to keep your neutral and load the front leg more effectively.
  4. If the front leg keeps diving in excessively as you reverse from the eccentric to concentric, attach a band to a rack, loop one end around your knee, and allow it to pull you into a valgus position (not excessively, just slightly). From here, push out against the band to engage the glute and keep yourself in a more neutral position.
  5. You don’t need to feel like you have to be completely upright as you complete the movement. On the contrary, you should have a slight forward lean and focus on keeping your lumbar spine neutral.
Posted on: Wed, 10/26/2022 - 22:14

Is it one leg per set or both legs per set? I am thinking about the 5 days dumbbell program (day 3).

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 10/28/2022 - 18:46

Reps per set is for each leg, Ivar.

Posted on: Thu, 10/01/2020 - 20:15

Hey I noticed that there is no video or explanation of the dumbbell hip thrust (the next exercise of this workout). I was wondering if you could explain what this exercise is about and how to do it? Thanks.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 10/02/2020 - 09:07

Hey Ryan - We have a video of a single leg dumbbell hip thrust (https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/single-leg-hip-thrust-with-d...). That should give you an idea of how to hold the dumbbell when you're performing a dumbbell hip thrust. Our barbell hip thrust video (https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/barbell-hip-thrust) show you proper form for the regular hip thrust.

Posted on: Tue, 09/01/2020 - 00:18

What is the difference between dumbell split squat and dumbell rear lunge?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/24/2020 - 08:55

Hey Sounak - in the rear lunge, you return to a fully upright starting position with both feet stacked under your hips and shoulders. In the split squat, you return to the split stance position.

Posted on: Thu, 06/04/2020 - 12:40

I just wonder that when it says 3 sets, does it mean on each leg or is it that one leg gets more workout than the other in this specific set?