Form Friday: Split Squats

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by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Muscle Groups:  Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings

Importance: The split squat is a great movement for placing increased emphasis on a single leg, while also being able to use the opposite leg to assist and help balance. Doing single leg work like this helps address and fix imbalances from one side to the other.

Proper Form:

  • With your toes facing forward, stand with one foot forward and one foot behind you. Your feet should be approximately hip width apart.

    • Split your feet out far enough (front to back) so that they are somewhere between 2-3x your typical walking stride length

  • Initiate the movement by starting to flex at your front knee and hip

  • Allow your back heel to rise off of the floor while your rear knee bends

  • Flex your front knee and hip so that your knee tracks out over your mid-foot while your rear knee nearly reaches contact with the ground

  • Once you reach the bottom position, push up through your front heel as you begin to re-extend your front hip and both knees

  • Drive up until you reach your starting position

  • Repeat for desired number of repetitions; then repeat on opposite leg

Progression/Regression: Assisted Split Squats, Pistol Squats or Shrimp Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats

Tips:

  • Keep your torso upright throughout the movement

  • Wider stance will emphasize more glute

  • Narrow stance will emphasize the quads

  • Be sure to allow your lead leg to do the work, don’t let your assisted leg take too much of the weight

Sample Workout: Repeat 3-5 times

  • Split Squats x 10 (per leg)

  • KB Swings x 15

  • Band Side Steps x 15 (per leg)