Dumbbell Squat Clean

Updated September 19, 2019
Woman doing squats and holding weights

For a quick exercise that can be done at the home or gym without taking up a lot of space, consider trying a dumbbell squat clean. Squatting clean can give your muscles an extra workout while the dumbbells take up very little room in your home or gym.

How to Dumbbell Squat Clean

You will need to know how to do a proper squat before you add weights to this move; squatting incorrectly not only gives your body less stability, but it also increases the risk of injury substantially.

  1. Place the dumbbells on the floor on either side of you, in reach, with room for your feet to be a shoulder width apart.
  2. Place your feet at a 45-degree angle, facing outward for better balance. Bend your knees and lower your bottom until it touches the backs of your feet. Your knees should be higher than your bottom.
  3. Take hold of the dumbbells in each hand. You can raise them up to your shoulders or keep your arms loose with a firm grip on each weight.
  4. Raise your chin and push your chest out so your spine takes a very slight curve in your lower back.
  5. Push yourself into a standing position from the true squat, taking the dumbbells with you. Drive your weight down into your heels; do not rock forward onto your toes. Do not lock your knees at the highest point; keep them very slightly bent.
  6. Pause for a moment at the highest position and slowly lower yourself back into the true squat position, taking the weights with you.
  7. Do not pause in the squat position; as soon as you return to the clean squat, immediately drive upward again.
  8. Repeat until fatigue or until you can no longer complete the squats accurately with good form.

Squat Clean Variations

When you're ready for more challenge, try one of these variations of the squat clean. You're ready for these when you're able to complete traditional squat cleans with proper form.

Dumbbell Squat Clean Thrusts

Follow the steps for the squat thrust above, but when you push your body back up from the squat (at the end of Step 5), push the dumbbells into an overhead press. Continue on as follows:

  1. Bring the weights back down as you drop back into the squat.
  2. Repeat, starting at the beginning. It's important to control the movements, especially when you push the weights overhead. Core stability is key in this movement.

Dumbbell Squat Clean and Jerk

Similar to the dumbbell squat clean thrusts above, the dumbbell squat clean and jerk pushes the weights overhead. The difference with the clean and jerk is the pause before the weights are pushed overhead and the fast-twitch movement involved in the push overhead. The entire body gets involved in the weights going up.

  1. The body takes a slight hop as the weights get pushed up quickly.
  2. This movement is not as controlled as the clean thrusts, but is more appropriate when heavier weights are involved because the jerking motion helps get the weights up.

Single Arm Dumbbell Squat Clean

For the single arm dumbbell squat clean, follow the steps listed for the dumbbell squat clean, but with one major difference - only one hand holds a hand weight. The other hand reaches out slightly to help with your balance as you move, but the work is only on one side at a time.

Squatting Clean

Squatting is one of the most difficult and one of the most productive strength training exercises available. The force required to squat will quickly produce results, building muscles in your legs, shoulders and back much faster than other exercises aimed at the same muscle groups. Squatting clean can be more difficult than power squatting or chair squatting, which will work your muscles harder, giving you a better workout with fewer repetitions. When working out with dumbbells, it may be easier to squat clean, picking the dumbbells up off the floor when you are in the full squat, rather than having the weights lowered onto you.

Squatting With Dumbbells

Some people may find that squatting with dumbbells is easier than a bar. Dumbbells take up little room and don't require a special handling system to deliver the weight to your back. You also have the option of positioning the dumbbells at your shoulders or holding them with your arms loose at your sides, whichever option feels for comfortable for you.

Getting Results

Performing a dumbbell squat clean in good form will help you achieve the results you want without the need for large machines or specialized equipment at home. Practice squatting clean every time and know you're getting the best workout you can.

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Dumbbell Squat Clean