The split squat is a simple unilateral leg strength exercise that can be helpful for strengthening the receiving position of the split jerk.
Place the barbell behind the neck as you would for a back squat. Step into a lunge stance long enough that your front shin will remain approximately vertical when you’re in the bottom of the movement and keep your weight balanced evenly between the front and back feet. With a controlled speed, lower yourself with an upright trunk until the rear knee lightly contacts the floor (don’t let it hit the floor or rest on the floor), then stand again maintaining the balance between the feet. Maintain the position of the front knee over the foot—don’t let it collapse inward or push it excessively outward. Perform the total number of reps on one leg before switching to the other leg.
The length of the split can be adjusted to obtain somewhat different effects. The farther forward the front foot, the more the exercise will rely on the posterior chain and stretch the rear hip flexors; the farther back the front foot, the more the exercise will rely on the quads. However, if using the exercise specifically to strengthen the receiving position of the split jerk, the stance should be identical to that position.
The split squat is primarily an exercise to strengthen the split receiving position of the split jerk, but it can also be used as a supplemental leg exercise to help balance weakness in one leg or hip, build better glute strength and hip stability, or as an exercise for hypertrophy at higher reps.
Sets of 5-10 reps are usually appropriate with weight that allows a smooth movement and no crashing into the bottom position.
The split squat can be loaded with any implement, from a barbell, to single or double dumbbells or kettlebells held in any position, to a sandbag. In the case of weightlifting, a barbell in the back squat position is most common.
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