MODULE 2.3: The Split Squat

What is the split squat?

The split squat is different to the squat, as it involves the application of force at a distance to an athlete's centre of mass, whereas the squat involves the application of force directly below an athletes centre of mass. In the below video, note how both feet are not "under" the athlete's centre, but rather applying force at a distance.

What does the split squat train?


The split squat is another quad dominant pattern, with minimal difference from a prime mover point of view compared to the squat, however there are differences in the movements these patterns transfer to (discussed next). The key difference in muscle recruitment relates to the rear leg, where generally speaking there is a requirement for hip flexion which can then bias the rectus femoris quite heavily, as well as recruiting through other hip flexors as stabilisers.


Training a split squat pattern transfers to sport-specific movements where force needs to be applied at a distance from the centre of mass, such as during a deceleration and change of direction. 

What are the technical KPI's of a split squatting pattern?

  • Hips move vertically up and down

    • To ensure feet loaded evenly

  • Knees track over toes

    • to prevent valgus/varus knee movement and engage hip/knee stabilisers

  • Vertical Torso

    • To ensure this stays a split squat movement and not a hinge

How can we address technical errors?

  • Cuing

    • Drop the knee straight down

    • Keep chest up tall

    • Touch ground lightly

  • Regression/progression of the movement

    • Start at the bottom

    • Use upper limb support

  • Use of constraints

    • Object overhead to encourage tall posture

    • Wall or chair blocking knee to force vertical movement

What are some variations of the split squat?

  • Walking lunges

  • Wall sit

  • Side squat

  • Step ups

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