October 5, 2021

Dumbbell Shoulder Squats: What They Are and How to Do Them

Dumbbell shoulder squats help build strength and stability. Squats, o the other hand is a lower-body exercise that increases strength in your legs and glutes, are an excellent way to strengthen your quads and quads. Although squats can be difficult for beginners, they may become routine and easy for those who have become accustomed to them. You can make squats more difficult by adding dumbbells to the mix.

While there are many ways to hold dumbbells while performing squats you can choose from, the most comfortable is holding them at your shoulders. This is because your hands should be placed behind your neck or shoulders when doing squats. This allows you to do squats in a more natural way. Continue reading to find out all you need to know about dumbbell shoulder-squats.


  • Deb Averett, a NASM-certified personal coach and master coach at Row House, is certified by the NASM.
  • Cassie Ellis, a NASM-certified personal coach and leader at Row House, is certified by NASM.

What Are Dumbbell Shoulder Squats?

Doing dumbbell shoulder squats is the act of placing dumbbells on one’s shoulders while you do squats. Even light dumbbells, which weigh two to three pounds, can add difficulty to your squats if you do many repetitions. Cassie says dumbbell shoulder squats can help you build strength and stability that can be done anywhere. You can improve your cardiac capacity and muscle tone by using light dumbbells for high repetitions. You will have a bigger, more muscular rear end if you use heavier dumbbells.

Benefits of Dumbbell Shoulder Squats

Doing squats using dumbbells on your shoulders can provide all the benefits of squats such as strengthening your legs and glutes. It also offers additional benefits. Averett says that squats are great for your posture and core. “Squats improve posture and stabilize the hip flexors. This will promote core activation.” They also reduce the chance of injury in everyday life. She says that this is a functional movement that allows us to move well. We use our core and lower body muscles to move from sitting in a chair or getting out of bed. Squats can help us build strength and allow us to move more comfortably in our lives.

Because they don’t take up any space, squats can be done anywhere you are. Averett says that squats can be performed with any light props (non-dumbbells) that you have on hand, such as water bottles and heavy books.

How to Do Them

  • 1. Place dumbbells on your shoulders and raise them to your ears. Ellis says that your feet should be at least hip width apart. He also suggests that you keep your chest high and engage the core.
  • 2. 2.Lie down in a squatting posture. To maintain your balance, keep your weight in your heels and not move forward towards your toes. Throughout the whole squat, your heels should stay flat. Ellis suggests that you think of it as if you are going to sit down in a chair. For the safety of your knees it is recommended that you do not squat below your knees. Your knees should be parallel to your thighs. Also, your knees should never extend past your toes.
  • 3. Keep your core engaged and press against the floor to raise yourself up through your legs.



Anyone who isn’t at the level of fitness required to include weights in weighted squats may do them without them.

Averett suggests reducing your range to perform dumbbell shoulder squats. Averett says you can do the move with either a quarter or half squat (halfway) instead of a full range. To allow more mobility, she suggests extending your foot stance to the side.

A wall sit can be a great option if you are strong enough to lift dumbbells while balancing. Averett states that this will give you more stability which is crucial when it comes down to correct form and injury prevention.

Dumbbell Shoulder Squats vs. Barbell Squats

You have many options regarding the weight of dumbbells that you can use to squat with dumbbells placed on your shoulders. Particularly, dumbbells allow you to start with very light weights. This allows you to feel comfortable using weights on your shoulders while you squat, without having to go too far out of your comfort zone. Barbells can be used by people who are used to carrying heavier dumbbells when they squat. A barbell weighs in at 45 pounds. This means that you are adding weight to the barbell’s weight to your squat even before you add weight. Because the barbell weight rests on your shoulders, it can make the exercise more comfortable than you think. Using dumbbells is important. You need to pay attention to their placement on your shoulders. The main difference between dumbbell shoulder and barbell shoulder lifts is their placement.

Safety Considerations

Anyone with a knee injury should not perform dumbbell shoulder squats. This can lead to further injury if you add weight to the exercises while bending your knees. Squats should be avoided by people with lower back problems. To ensure that the dumbbells don’t cause pain, we must make sure that our arms and shoulders are strong enough to support them. These should be avoided if you have suffered from a shoulder injury.

The Takeaway

You can improve your squatting skills by doing dumbbell shoulder squats. These are similar to squats but with dumbbells placed on your shoulders. You can make the dumbbells as heavy or light as you like. This makes it a versatile move that anyone can do. These dumbbells are easier than barbell squats. You must be able handle at least 45 pounds of weight before you add any plates to your barbell. Anyone with a lower back problem, knee injury, or difficulty with their shoulders should avoid dumbbell shoulder squats. Doumbbell shoulder squats can be done by anyone.