There are loads of different ways to do squats, variations are described further below. Here's the best one to start off with, the squat with dumbbells. Not sure about your reps and sets? Click here.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes facing straight ahead.
Hold each dumbbell with your arms straight down by your sides, palms facing in.
Keep your back neutral (not overly arched or slouched), chest up and head facing forward throughout.
Bend your knees and go down into the squat by using your glutes to stick your butt backwards (like you're about to sit down).
Keep going until your knees are almost at 90 degrees. Keep your knees pointed in the same direction as your feet, but don't let them bend beyond your toes.
Focus on your thighs and butt as you come back up.
Go into the next rep without locking your knees. Complete your reps and sets with slow, steady movements.
Inhale as you squat down, exhale as you lift up.
Keep your heels down throughout, and stay evenly balanced on your feet.
Brace your core muscles to stabilize your body as you squat.
You can vary this exercise by holding the dumbbells up by your shoulders (arms bent at your elbows).
Make it a whole body exercise by combining dumbbell squats with bicep curls.
Dumbbell Squats - Variations
Here are some variations for slightly different challenges:
This time hold only the 1 dumbbell with both hands in front of your body. As you squat down, keep your arms straight and dumbbell in-between your knees. Keep the same great technique as above.
This exercise is great because you can easily turn it into a whole body workout. As you come up from the squat, raise your arms up straight ahead of you (keeping your elbows slightly bent). Then bring them back down into the next squat.
Against a Wall:
Stand facing away from a wall, with your feet about 50cm away from it.
Slowly lean backwards so your back is flat against the wall.
Slide down until your knees are at 90 degrees, as if you're sitting on an invisible chair.
Hold this position for 20 seconds, and come back up.
Progress by holding for longer each time.
Tips - This was the nemesis during my knee injury rehab! As with any endurance building exercise, much of it is mind over matter. Try and push yourself an extra 5 seconds after your mind tells you to stop. A little leg shaking is OK, but stop before your legs are complete jelly!
This exercise is also done against a wall, but this time only on one leg at a time. It's pretty hard so make sure you're comfortable with the above exercises before trying this.
Stand against a wall (as above), move your right foot closer to the middle of your body, and lift your left foot up off the floor slightly. Take the weight on the right leg and slide down into the squat.
Repeat with opposite legs, and remember to keep good form.
Dumbbell Squat Videos
Enjoy these dumbbell squats! Need a visual idea of the best technique? Check out these quality videos: