Every program at some point should have a split squat or some variation of it prescribed. The benefits of performing a correct split squat are amazing! A split squat is a unilateral exercise that works multiple muscles in your lower body, including your hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. With proper form, split squats can increase leg strength, balance, knee capacity, and enhance flexibility. We perform a split squat by first placing a single leg in front of the other shoulder width apart. Then slowly lower your body down in a forward motion where the front knee is tracking over the toe and the hamstring is covering your calf at the bottom position. The torso should remain as vertical as possible with the back leg as straight as you can keep it. This bottom position allows you to strengthen the end range of the split squat where all the benefits happen.
Benefits of Squats
Improves balance due to being a unilateral exercise
Improves knee capacity by forcing front knee over toe
Improves hip and ankle flexibility due to the deep stretch in bottom position
Improves overall leg strength and helps improve imbalances from side to side
Variations of a split squat varies.
The order at which we progress the split squat would be:
- Front Foot Elevated
- Both Feet Flat
- Back Foot Elevated.
The load at which we progress the split squat follows as:
- Body weight
- Pulley system
We can also change the position of the barbell from front to back loaded.
Furthermore, we can add a dynamic movement to the split squat which is considered a “Lunge”. At which the lunge is performed the exact same as a split squat, but we are either walking or staying stationary alternating legs. Now the reps prescribed depends on your individual goal. Obviously, if we are trying to build muscle we would keep the reps on the high end of 10+ per leg. If we are trying to build strength the reps will be on the lower end.
In conclusion, the split squat is a great overall exercise and should never be neglected. If you
have questions on split squats. Please contact us.
Jermaine Hough Jr. MS