The Benefits Of Split Squat
wHAT IS THE Split Squat?
It’s a single leg exercise that is alternated between the two legs (known as a Bulgarian split squat). This exercise is executed with your back foot placed firmly on a bench or on the ground with your front foot carrying the majority of your body weight. In shorter words, split squats are a unilateral variation to the traditional squat, a split squat is essentially a stationary lunge. This stationary lunge will kill your quadriceps, as well as glutes.
It can be performed using various means and equipment. It is done with both of your feet firmly on the ground which is the primary way of carrying out this exercise, giving the rear foot all the allowance it needs to assist the target of the practice, which is the front foot.
It can also be done with your leg on a box or bench, cutting the assistance offered to the front foot. With this method of performance, a study showed that 87% of the visible load provided by any source of added weight either a barbell or a dumbbell would have support from the front foot. It’s not clear if the amount used shares the load proportionally between the front leg and the back one. This method causes difficulty in the movement because the balance of the leg is tested and shifts all the weight of the load to the front leg.
It can still be performed with elastic bands with high resistance curled under the foot in front as a form of resistance and above the shoulder although this means work well with your rear feet placed on a box or a bench. It is also performed with barbells and dumbbells.
This method of exercise encourages the growth of new muscles. When doing the split squat which targets all major muscle groups in the leg region, it gives the muscle fibres the boost they need to increase in size and also initiates the process that stimulates your recovery. This split squat places the required amount of tautness on the abdominal muscles which adds the benefits of your overall functional strength boost.
How to perform the split squat
There are different ways of performing the split squats. It is advised to do it without any resistance first to get grips of what it’s about. Performing without the added weights is a way of doing and it is done:
Taking a step forward from the position you’re standing on as if you want to leap
With the back heel of your foot raised and with your torso straight, lower yourself slowly till the back of your knee almost touches the floor, then you lift yourself back up.
You can do as much as whichever leg in front can carry, then switch to the other leg. Make sure your knees are straight in line with your toes, let it not pass your foot as you lower yourself.
Variations of split squat
Like I mentioned earlier, getting to terms with the split squats without resistance is a sure way to yourself acquainted with this form of exercise, from there you can increase the mode of this exercise by adding weights of all kinds to it such as barbell, dumbbell, and kettlebell which is held against the chest. Tips to using weights during split squats are:
Let your knees be in line with your toes
Make sure the weights are held properly to avoid back sprain or sprained ankle
Begin the movement with the back leg other than the front, to avoid injury to your front knee
When doing split squats with weights: Example the barbell weight
Carry your weight and stand straight like you would when doing a regular squat
Take a step forward, raising your back heel with you, so your foot becomes supported by your toes.
With your shoulders taken backward and your chins and chest elevated, lower yourself slowly testing the strength of the front knee until your back knee is almost touching the ground then rise to your starting position.
split squat with a bench or box
Get a bench or box or whatever can hold your weight from knee length. Each of these need to be the height of your knee.
Position yourself to look like you’re about to leap forward with your torso straightforward, and your hips lined straight with your body and your back foot on the box, bench or an elevation your knee height. Your front foot should be half of a meter in front of wherever you placed your leg on.
Lower yourself until you’re your front thighs are almost in a horizontal plane, remembering to keep your knee in line with your foot
Stand up to your central position with the help of your front heel.
Performing a Split Squat
Keep accurate distance, find a range that works for you because if you’re too close to the bench, your quads will be strained causing your knee pains. Standing too far away will ask questions of your hips flexor and cause strain to your groin.
There are various ways of holding a weight when doing the split squat, find a load that works for you and begin with it. Once you’re used to it, switch to a different weight. Maybe dumbbell, barbells or kettlebells.
Benefits of the Split Squat
The first benefits of split squats are testing your balance to the maximum. This would cause an improvement within your core strength and grip and add muscles to your quadriceps, calves, and hamstring.
Because the glutes are involved heavily in this exercise, it is good for those who want the best on their posterior look.
The split squats prop less stress on the lower area of the back, and when doing them with weights, they directly put the load pressure on your quadriceps, hamstring, and glutes.
The split squat is a fantastic functional movement that brings benefits such as flexibility, mobility and those that are proprioceptive.
The squad splits offer a better range of motion, make full use of your balance and knee strength and reduce the imbalance of your muscles.
Front Foot Elevated Split Squats
This will allow you to get more Range of Motion on the front leg, getting a better stretch in all the muscle (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Adductors).
Rear foot Elevated Split Squats
This variation allows you to put more of your own body weight onto the front leg, allowing for more overload. (Requires good balance and ankle stability.)
Both of these variations including the standard split squat can be performed with a dumbbell or barbell. When using the dumbbells you will allow the weight to hang close to your body avoiding swinging. Barbells in this movement will be resting on the upper back just as in your traditional barbell back squat.
When to use Split Squats
Many times, us gym goers and fitness professionals will predominantly perform bilateral (double leg) movements for a prolonged period of time. Sometimes this will lead to a imbalance due to the fact that majority of people have a dominant side of their body that will take over in bilateral movements like back squats. This is when unilateral exercises come into play, included into your days when you back squat or front squat you should include split squats, this will ensure that you are making sure that both your legs get an equal amount of volume and load and help correct that muscular imbalance that you may be facing. When doing unilateral exercises ALWAYS PERFORM YOUR WEAK SIDE FIRST@
There’s a lot to gain from carrying out split squats, it would push you to limits you have not attained before and what you’ll get in return would be far higher than what you put in. Feel free to make your routine fun by spicing it up with different approaches.