VERY favorite leg exercise for really hitting
the thighs HARD is not a new exercise...it may
not even seem to you to be all that great of an
exercise at first glance. But when I tell you
how to do it FOR REAL, you're going to LOVE the
results you get with it.
exercise is the Dumbell Split Squat and it's going
to change the way you look at dumbell leg exercises
what it is:
be honest, it looks almost exactly like an incomplete
dumbell lunge. In fact, you may have even done
it before thinking it WAS a dumbell lunge.
big difference is this...when you do a regular
dumbell lunge, you start in a standing position
holding two dumbells in your hands. You take a
step forward with one leg then drop down into
a lunge position. From there, you push yourself
all the way back up to the standing position then
repeat with the other leg (stepping forward then
pushing all the way back up).
you do a Dumbell Split Squat, you START in the
split position (which looks like the bottom of
the lunge) and STAY there. You just move your
body up and down, keeping your feet exactly where
they are on the floor. No standing up, no stepping
is a key difference. It takes away many of the
balance problems you find with lunges...it also
takes away almost ALL of the knee stress that
you might experience with lunges (when you step
forward, your knee has to absorb all the momentum
of not only your body but the weight of the dumbells
you plant your feet, you can keep your balance
MUCH better. When you don't step forward, your
knees don't take that stress from the forward
Dumbell Split Squat is also ideal for home workout
situations in that you only need a couple of dumbells
to get an AMAZING leg workout.
Now, these are some great benefits but do you
want to know what REALLY makes this my favorite
leg exercise for hitting the thighs hard?
gives you the ability to absolutely DESTROY your
quads without mercy. It does this by having the
resistance very close to the ground at the hardest
part of the exercise (the bottom of the rep).
this means when you're doing the split squat,
if you get to the bottom of the rep and can't
push yourself back up, your dumbells are only
an inch or two from the floor! All you have to
do is set them down and you're done.
practical upshot of this simple feature is that
you can perform the exercise until your legs ABSOLUTELY
GIVE OUT. When you're doing a barbell squat, you
can certainly work your legs extremely hard but
it's tough to push them to the absolute limit
- you always have to get the bar back to the racks
before you're done.
practice and time, you can build up to some VERY
heavy dumbells with this exercise (I've gone as
high as 2 x 150 lb dumbells for reps).
exercise puts less stress on the lower back and
will work every major muscle group in your entire
lower body. Believe me, you'll feel this one in
How To Do Dumbell Split Squats:
pick two light to moderate weight dumbells the
first time you do the exercise. You can definitely
work up in weight as you work with the exercise
more, though. It's important to learn the technique
properly before moving on to more weight.
the two dumbells on the ground about 6 inches
apart. Set your left foot in between but a little
forward of the two dumbells. Now set your right
foot back about two feet or so and assume a lunge
position, kneeling on your right knee. Your right
foot should NOT be directly in line with your
left foot. When you place your right foot down,
set it a little out to the side.
this does is increase your base of support and
make the exercise more stable and allowing you
to generate more power. If you set your right
foot directly in line with your left foot, you'll
be spending most of the exercise trying not to
your abs and lower back tight and make sure you
keep an arch in your lower back here. Lean forward
and reach down and grasp the two dumbells. Bring
your torso back to vertical, picking up the dumbells
off the ground.
is the bottom position of the exercise. Now, push
yourself up with your left thigh. Don't stand
up to vertical...just straighten that front leg,
keeping your front foot planted firmly on the
important to keep your upper body VERTICAL as
you do this exercise. DO NOT allow your body to
lean forward as you do the exercise. Imagine it
as a straight up and down movement and that you're
sitting back as you do it. This visualization
will help keep you from leaning forward.
sure you don't utilize a forward and back, lunging
type of movement, as may be the tendency if you're
used to doing regular lunges. This is very much
an up and down type of movement.
your target number of reps with your left leg
forward. Push yourself hard! If you have to bail
out on the exercise, all you need to do is set
the dumbells on the ground at the bottom.
this point, you can either take a rest period
or immediately switch to the other leg in front
- I prefer to go right to the other leg in front
with no break. Do as many reps as you can with
the other leg now.
that you most likely will not get as many reps
with the other leg...no matter which leg is in
front, the rear leg is also doing a lot of work.
So if you start with the left leg in front, the
right leg is still doing work. When you switch
legs, the right leg will already be tired from
the previous set.
of this, it's important to always switch which
leg you start with on successive sets. Start with
your left foot forward on your first set, then
on your next set, start with your right foot forward.
This will ensure a balanced workload.
exercise allows you to basically "leave it
on the floor." Because you can just set the
dumbells on the floor, you can push your legs
to the point where they can hardly keep you standing.
That's my idea of a good leg workout!
the video, you'll also see a slightly different
technique that I use to get very heavy dumbells
into position for the exercise more efficiently.
It involves setting the legs near the top position
first THEN picking up the dumbells. It's a more
advanced move that should only be attempted by
those with a strong lower back.
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