I'm about to start working out at home. I have 40kg x 2 dumbbells and want to squat with them.

Given I keep the dumbbells at my sides, because of the diameter of plates it isn't possible to reach parallel or any deeper before the dumbbells touch the ground. The maximum possible depth is a bit higher than parallel.

(Also I'm not strong enough to keep a pair of 40kg dumbbells at my chest)

So how important the depth of squatting is in this particular case?

AFAIK, my glutes and hamstrings are not going to work hard enough if I don't go low. But I'll target them with other exercises.

Are there other things that I should consider/keep in mind if I decide to not squat low?

Thank you.

EDIT: Thank you everyone for useful suggestions.

I'm accepting David Brown's answer. I think, given the way my question is phrased, his answer is the most relevant.

But I personally decided to drop the weight to the point where I can actually clean the dumbbells and keep them at my shoulders/chest. I hope this weight will increase over time :)

So all the suggestions of decreasing the weight or using a platform are really appreciated.

  • 1
    Try standing on a narrow platform so that the dumbbell plates can go lower than your feet.
    – Noumenon
    Apr 5, 2015 at 11:16

4 Answers 4


The only thing I have been able to find is that the squat depth could affect your vertical jump ability - but I have no idea if you even remotely care about that.

Anyway, this study (http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2013/11000/Effect_of_Back_Squat_Depth_on_Lower_Body.11.aspx) proved that parallel squat has a higher postactivation potentiation (PAP) than a quarter squat - meaning that less-than-parallel squats could negatively affect your vertical jumping ability.

And while the study did prove a significant advantage of doing parallel squats when they are done right before preforming the jumps - the evidence on long term connection between PAP and enhanced athletic performance seems to be limited (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15903390).


Just stand on a simple, cheap wooden block. Just that simple.

You can make it out of several thick wooden boards glued together.


Those are some very large dumbbell plates then!

First and foremost, form and control are crucial with any exercise you perform. Period. It is not worth it to cheat yourself or, worse, risk injury if your form isn't correct because of the weight you are working with.

That being said, here are a few suggestions:

  • Purchase a new set of dumbbells that are thicker, not greater in plate diameter.
  • Decrease the weight to where you can successfully execute your squats with the full range of motion reaching the desired parallel position. Proper form and technique with less weight will go a lot further than practically killing yourself with too much weight

Here is a reference on performing controlled dumbbell squats with good form: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/dumbbell-squat.html

Hope this helps!


Yes, it's important to reach parallel when squatting; otherwise, you'll have muscular imbalance as your hamstrings will be exercised, but your quads and calves will not really benefit from the exercise.

Just decrease the weight and squat with the dumbbells raised to your chest.

If you don't have balance issues, you can use a raised platform also; however, be careful when performing the exercises not to lose your balance so you don't hurt yourself.

If you're indeed serious about squatting though, barbell squatting is still the best way to go :)

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