How To Do The Dumbbell Squat To Press

Man holding dumbbells by his shoulders
(Image credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The best full-body exercises are often a combination of two moves, because that’s the simplest way to involve as many muscle groups as possible. The dumbbell squat to press is a great example of this, since it combines one of the best leg exercises with one of the best shoulder exercises, and moving between the two brings other muscles into play as well.

Below you’ll find more info on the benefits of the exercise, plus a form guide and a quick dumbbell workout you can try that uses the move.

Dumbbell Squat To Press Benefits

Doing any kind of squat is always worthwhile, and adding dumbbells increases the challenge to your lower body, with the glutes and quads in particular benefiting from the move. Holding the weights by your shoulders also increases the work your core does during a squat to keep you stable.

For its part, the overhead press works your shoulders, as well as muscles in your upper back. Your core will again be working to keep you stable as you press the weights above your head, and if you do the entire dumbbell squat to press at pace you’ll quickly ramp up your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular fitness, which is why it’s a top move to add to HIIT workouts.

How To Do The Dumbbell Squat To Shoulder Press

Man demonstrates three stages of the squat to press exercise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell by each shoulder, with your elbows bent at 90˚ and your palms facing forwards. Lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then drive back up explosively and press the weights overhead until your arms are fully extended.

Dumbbell Workout

Now you know the move you can use the dumbbell squat to press in this fast-paced dumbbell workout. Complete four rounds of the following as fast as you can. Log your time, then try to beat it next time.

1 Dumbbell bench press

Reps 30

Aim to use 10kg weights for this. Lie on a bench and hold the dumbbells either side of your chest with your elbows bent at 90˚. Press the dumbbells up until your arms are straight. Lower slowly. 

2 Dumbbell squat to shoulder press

Reps 20

Aim to use 10kg weights for this.

3 Dumbbell jab

Reps 25 each side

Drop down to 5kg weights for this move. Get into a loose boxing stance, with one foot slightly ahead of the other. Hold the dumbbells in a vertical position in front of your neck and upper chest. Punch one arm forwards, turning it as you go so the dumbbell is horizontal at the end of the movement. Repeat on the other side. Continue alternating arms and keep your core braced throughout.

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.

With contributions from