Front Foot Elevated Split Squats

If you’ve trained with me you’d know I love me some split squats!!  And for some very good reasons too.  Talk about training the boo-tay!

This exercise has so many benefits its like fish oil.  You should be devouring them.

– First, due to the elevated foot position, it allows the musculature surrounding the knee to be trained effectively without as much knee joint stress,  Great option for anyone with knee pain. The slanted box version  takes further pressure off the knee capsule, so if you`re at a bad starting point, this may be where you want to start.

– Most people can’t squat past parallel safely from two legs whether it be a back squat, front squat or even bodyweight.  So it trains the hamstrings and glutes to achieve the eccentric flexibility necessary to assume a proper and desirable squat bottom position.  A desireable bottom position in a squat is femur past parallel, hamstrings touching calves with a neutral spine.

The girl below shows all of this.  If you cannot do this you should not be squatting. 

– Another advantage of unilateral split squats is that they stretch the hip flexors very well. This translates to greater stride length and faster times in short-term speed conditions.  BUT it is especially good for people who sit down all day.

– Most people present with one leg stronger than the other for various reasons.  When they squat from two legs they feed into this dysfunction and continue to favour the strong leg thus leading to strength deficits from leg to leg.  Performing single-limb exercises is important in getting this back in balance. Structural balance means the strength ratio between the hamstrings and quadriceps is appropriate and the strength from leg to leg is as close to even as possible.  Why? an athlete is at a greater risk of pulling a hamstring if the hamstrings on the right leg are stronger than those on the left.

– Performing split squats is a way to deload the spine whilst still providing a great stimulus for the legs.  It’s to use them if a persons lower back has not yet recovered from a squat or deadlift session

– You don’t run on two legs so if you do perform running its best to have single leg training in your program somewhere.  That way you teach the body to generate force into the ground and stabilise via one leg…

– Properly performed split squats should make you sore not only in the glutes but also in the hamstrings, quadriceps, and adductors.  Great for shaping the legs and ass

– Great auxillary exercises after big bang exercises like squats and deadlifts to maximize growth and hormone response.

Regardless of the set/rep protocol you use with this exercise, always start with the weaker leg first to help correct muscle imbalances faster.

How To

• Move your front knee directly forward maximally before lowering your hips.
• Lower the hips, keeping your back as erect as possible and your chest up.
• Lower your body under control until your hamstrings come in contact with your calves.  Do not load this exercise if    you cant do this.  Work on your flexibility
• Make sure your knee travels forward and over your toes throughout the descent.

• First, raise the hips.
• Keep your torso as perpendicular to the floor as possible throughout the ascent, particularly at the sticking point.
• Exhale throughout the ascent.

• Keep your trunk as erect as possible throughout the movement.

Safety Concerns
• Keep the eccentric lowering under control.
• Do not lean forward.

Start with 2-3 bodyweight sets of 8-12 then add some load.  You can advance through dumbbell, back barbell, front barbell, low cable, overhead barbell, overhead dumbbell, single arm dumbbell variations etc as a start

So there you go.  If your unable to perform a two legged squat properly, have done those lame pump squats for too long, are recovering from a back problem, have strength imbalances from leg to leg, are a runner, need some variation or just want to get sore in a new way, try the front foot elevated split squat.  It’ll make you happy

See you in the gym!

Personal Training – Bondi Junction

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