This exercise is a movement that has all the benefits of full back squats, and possibly some more. As this is a single leg movement there is less loading placed on the spine, while maximum tension is placed through the quads, glutes and hamstrings.
As with most unilateral exercises there is an element of balance and coordination when performing the split squat. The FMT Exercise of the Month series is all about providing the exercises that give the ‘biggest bang for your buck’. Hence, you won’t find silly leg extensions or other isolation movements here! Think about it: if you are holding 40kg dumbbells in each hand and banging out reps on split squats – what do you think your quads would look like?! Beyond that, your trunk muscles, ankle stabilizers and even your shoulder muscles will be working hard to help you perform the movement properly.
FMT Variations for Beginners:
Body weight with low box
Body weight with pause at bottom
FMT Variation for Intermediates:
DB in each hand
Barbell on back
Pause at bottom with weight
Split Squat Jumps
FMT Variation for Advanced Trainees:
Front leg on step (increase depth of squat)
Single arm DB
For most clients I use this exercise as an accessory movement which follows after a squat or deadlift variation. If the Bulgarian Split Squat is something you have yet to discover then I strongly invite you to throw it into your regime this month to encourage the ‘go’ muscle growth and strengthening process.