Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.: The squat is an exercise you can do with dumbbells to work the muscles in your thighs and buttocks. With the squat, you'll target the gluteal muscles, here, the hamstrings, here, and the quadriceps, here. Strengthening these muscles can help you improve your ability to perform daily tasks, as well as improve your performance in a variety of sports.

Nicole L. Campbell: To do a squat with dumbbells, hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Let your arms hang straight below your shoulders. Tighten your abdominal muscles and slowly descend, bending through the hips, knees and ankles while keeping your spine in a balanced, stable position. Your knees should be centered over your feet and should not move ahead of your toes. Slowly return to the starting position. You'll feel tension in the muscles in your thighs and buttocks. Visualize yourself lowering your body into a chair.

When you're doing squats, keep your back in a normal arched, balanced position. Descend as low as you can, but do not bend your knees more than 90 degrees.

If you have trouble doing a standard squat, put down the weights and try a chair-assisted squat instead. Sit in a chair, then lift up out of the chair by pushing upward with your legs. Push upward with your arms on the armrest, if needed.

For most people, one set of 12 to 15 repetitions is adequate.

Remember, for best results, keep your back in a normal arched, balanced position, do not bend your knees more than 90 degrees, and keep your movements smooth and controlled.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Jan. 12, 2021