The "Split Squat"
1. Start with weakest leg first, hands on hips, Chest and shoulders elevated and straight, (no rounding forward)
2. Slowly lower the front leg, starting with knee flexion, as far as the knee will go while keeping the front heel on the ground. The hamstring and calf should be close to or touching each other, knee over the 1st and 2nd toe.
3. From the lowered position you are going to push upward transferring your weight from the ball of your foot to your heel as you go back to the starting position.
Who should do this exercise: short answer everyone...
-Runners with tight hip flexors this is a great pre run warm up to increase flexibility in the hip flexors and strengthen the medial knee,quad muscle which is typically weak on many runners
-Lower Back Pain sufferers, if you cannot at this time perform traditional back squats, there is no excuse not to try this. This exercise will keep your legs strong and improve structural balance issues that most likely gave you low back pain to begin with.
-Anyone with a history of hip and or knee problems, as a form of rehab and stabilization.
The split squat is also a fantastic exercise for myself or a qualified coach to evaluate the patient/athlete for any structural imbalances that are occurring. With just 1 or 2 reps I am able to determine how tight a patient’s hip flexors are, how stabile the knee is, and how stabile the foot may be.
The split squat is a mainstay in my training programs; it keeps my hip flexors flexible, strengthens my knees, and increases my leg strength and functional movement, easily without taxing my lower back. Try it today!
Just be sure to consult my office or a qualified coach before trying these exercises.