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Dumbbell Squat Superset With Dumbbell Step Ups

This superset is a great leg builder that targets the hips, booty, hamstrings and upper thighs (quadriceps). I love these two movements for a variety of reasons. First, the dumbbell squat is the best leg builder there is. Nothing beats it (lunges come close!). The thing about the squat is that if really hits the deep muscle fibers which a lot of exercises have a hard time doing. Second the stair step up really targets the booty and quadriceps (front of the upper thighs). When these two movements are performed in a successive manner (superset fashion) it can really help develop your lower body in a relatively short period of time. It’s a challenging combination but well worth the effort!

Feel free to use stairs, a step apparatus or a short step ladder for the dumbbell step up exercise (I’m using a short ladder step up). If you don’t know what a superset is, please see our page called “what is a superset”.  

Superset Exercise #1 - Dumbbell Squats

Position for the dumbbell squat exercise

Place two dumbbells either in front of you or at your sides. Place a step up apparatus in front of you. Bend at your knees and pick the dumbbells up. Turn the dumbbells so that they your palms are facing each other. Stand straight, retract your shoulder blades and puff your chest out proud. Your feet should be spaced shoulder width apart. Keep your head level with your eyes forward.

Execution of the dumbbell squat exercise

Slowly bend at the knees while keeping the dumbbells at arms-length by your side. Keep your back as straight as possible and lower until the dumbbells are by your ankles. Pause for a brief moment and using your legs, propel your body upwards while keeping the dumbbells at your sides. Repeat the movement for the prescribed repetitions.

Once you’ve completed the prescribed repetitions for the dumbbell squat exercise, immediately move onto the dumbbell stair step exercise.

Superset Exercise #2 - Stair Step Ups

Position for the dumbbell stair step up exercise

Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Retract your shoulder blades and puff your chest out proud. Keep your back nice and straight, head level and eyes forward. Make sure you are about half a foot away from the step apparatus.

Execution of the dumbbell stair step up exercise

Using your right leg, step up onto the platform and move your left leg up and lightly touch the platform (with your left leg). Step back down using your right leg and repeat the movement for the prescribed repetitions. Repeat for the left leg.


Dumbbell squat: Breathe in as you squat down and breath out as you return back to the start position
Dumbbell stair step up: Breathe in as step up and breath out as you step down.

Important points.

·         This is a superset exercise so no resting once your completed the first exercise (dumbbell stiff leg deadlifts) – immediately perform the second superset (hip thrusts).

·         Don’t look down when you are performing the dumbbell squat. This may cause you to lose balance and affect your posture (rounding your back). Keep your eyes forward

·         You may have to look down as you perform the step up (to see where you are stepping). Try and keep your back as straight as possible.

·         Really squeeze your buttocks and hips as you squat back up (for the dumbbell squat)

·         Squeeze your buttocks as you step up (for the step up exercise).

Video for the dumbbell squat / dumbbell step up superset

Over his 30 plus years of experience, Blake Bissaillion has worked with nationally ranked body builders, power lifters and fitness professionals. In this time he has picked up volumes of applied knowledge that he openly shares with his clients. Mr. Bissaillion’s objective is to help as many beginners to weight training and fitness to achieve their weight loss and fitness goals while getting into their best possible shape. Mr. Bissaillion owns and operates Belly Be Gone, a fitness company that offers fitness and nutritional guidance and products.

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