Front Foot Elevated Split Squat for Everything Squat, Pistol & Knees
Written by TJ O’Brien
I personally use this movement, which I sometimes call “split squats” for short (however, there are MANY styles of split squat, so it’s helpful to clarify), to open my hips for squatting.
When we were working out outside during our shutdown, I often had my class perform them with just body weight, front foot on the curb of the sidewalk.
I like the move so much because it is a builder of strength and mobility. We’re trying to extend our back leg, which gives us a big hip flexor stretch. While we do it, we’re squeezing that glute for active hip extension. Meanwhile, we’re pulling our front knee over our toes, using our tibialis anterior (shin muscle), getting active ankle flexion. Additionally, we’re trying to bring our front leg glute to our heel, building knee compression. And heck, while we’re at it, we’re getting hip flexion of our front hip, building our bottom position of a squat.
ALL of the above are needed to perform a great looking squat. But by isolating one leg and elevating it, we can get far deeper into a good position than that of a regular squat.
Our goal with this movement should be to:
- Get knees as far over toes as possible with heel down
- Keep chest up
- Extend back leg until a deep hip flexor stretch is felt
- Progressively lower the elevation of the front foot (over time!)
If you’re feeling stiff, start with the front foot up to 12” off the ground. As you progress, you can lower the elevation. You’ll notice that the limiting factor is how much you can extend (straighten) your back leg. If you have good hip extension and strong hip flexors, you’ll be able to perform this on flat ground with your front foot flat on the ground, front hamstring covering the calf.
If you’re holding some relatively heavy DBs by your side (totaling approximately 50% of your body weight), then you’ll surely feel a pump in your quads/VMO as well. That’s great! We’re building strength along with our range of motion. Watch more videos like these @invictus_mobilitytraining!
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