No one ever looked at their workout and said “Hell yes! split squats are on the menu today!”
The truth is, if you want a great butt, strong legs and healthy hips, you should be incorporating split squats into your routine regularly.
The three main reasons we love split squats at Elevate St. Pete:
- Increasing strength and muscle mass (great legs and butt)
- Addressing imbalances
- Improving mobility
Regardless if your goal is to look better, perform better or improve your functionality as a human, you should be performing some variation of split squats.
Benefit 1: Increase strength and definition of legs and butt.
Split squats get your glutes, quads, hamstrings and core involved. And depending on the variation, you can place more emphasis on any one of these areas.
For developing general strength and hypertrophy (muscle mass), we like to program 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps per leg.
Benefit 2: Address muscle and strength imbalances.
It’s common to find muscle and strength imbalances in all bodies, spanning from athletes to general population. We find this to be even more prevalent in athletes that perform repetitive movements on a dominant leg or arm.
Your imbalances cannot hide while working one side at a time, unlike squatting with both legs on the ground.
It’s important to be equally strong and balanced on both legs to avoid injury. The split squat does just that. If you find you have a big imbalance from one side to the other then you should focus more on single leg work until you bridge that gap.
Benefit 3: Improve your hip mobility.
Mobility is defined as a joint’s ACTIVE range of motion. It is how much range of motion you can access, use and generate force through on your own accord.
The split squat not only improves your passive range of motion (flexibility) but it also increases your mobility by strengthening those end ranges (assuming you’re squatting to your full range of motion).
Inflexible and/or weak hips can lead to back, knee and hip pain. Split squats can help improve both of those issues.
How to perform the split squat:
In depth video on the more advanced Rear-Foot Elevated, AKA Bulgarian Split Squat:
Want to switch up HOW you do your split squats? Below is a list of a few more split squat options for you to explore and keep in your strength training arsenal.
- Rear foot elevated, AKA Bulgarian Split Squats
- Back or front racked with a barbell
- Front racked with dumbbells or kettlebells
- Suspension/TRX split squats
If you haven’t done split squats in a while (or are new to them completely), remember to start light on the weight (if you use any at all) and slowly build up your capacity over a few weeks’ time.
Happy squatting! And #sorrynotsorry about your leg soreness 😉
- Nicole Race, Owner Elevate St. Pete