Split squats are a fantastic multi joint exercise that will target several muscle groups as well. They can be performed just using body weight, which if they are new to you I would recommend to start with, or you can also use dumbbells, Smith machine or barbell. Whilst you may think it is a unilateral exercise (working one side of the body), you will in fact be working both sides and the core is going to be fully fired up to keep balance.

Performing split squats

You will require a bench or box ideally about knee height.

  1. Start by perching your bottom on bench or box, extend one leg all the way out, brace through your core and ground into front foot and lift back foot onto box or bench.
  2. Slightly hinge forward at the hip but keeping the chest up then drop back knee down nice and slowly.
  3. As you come back up you want to make the movement more dynamic.
  4. Do your reps on that leg then repeat from start on other side.
  5. If doing split squats just body weight you should keep elbows in close to the body. When holding dumbbells, you can hold one in same hand as foot that is behind you so as not to offset the body or hold one in each hand. If using Smith machine or barbell, ensure it is resting on shoulders rather than your neck.

Benefits of the split squats

Split squats are great for hip mobility and flexibility. If you are wanting to get lower in your back squats, then split squats are a must do exercise. They are also good for strengthening both sides of the body, balance and building muscle.

Things to consider

Placing a marker i.e. small plate weight by your front foot so that you know you are placing the front foot at same point each time. A block can be placed for the back knee to drop to so again you know you are getting same range of movement each rep. Keeping the torso more upright will give you more focus on quads whilst more of a lean forward will work the glutes more.

Give them a try in your next workout! Grab one of the gym team to check your form if you are unsure.

Blog by Anthea Champion – Personal Trainer (Champion Fitness)