The split squat is an exercise most lifters love to hate. With the reduced base of support, using less weight than the bilateral versions and the discomfort and soreness it gives you, it’s easy to dislike. Split squat and the various split squat variations fall under those things you don’t want to do but need to do.
Like getting regular checkups, taking the trash out or going to bed early for your training the next day. They’re all good for you, even though you may slightly dread them. And when you don’t avoid split squats or even split squat variations, they have great benefits besides defined quads.
Split squat benefits
There’s got to be a reason to embrace the pain and discomfort of split squats. The next time you’re trying to talk yourself out of doing them, remember the following benefits.
Split squat variations strengthens imbalances
During bilateral exercises, sometimes your dominant side can pick up the slack for the weaker side. Have you ever seen a lifter struggle to lock out one side over the other during an overhead press? Or leaning to one side coming up from the bottom of a squat?
By improving your strength imbalances, you will reduce injury risk, improve lifting performance, and hopefully lift more weight with your bilateral lifts.
Split squat variations and improved muscle recruitment
Unilateral exercises like the split squat makes you work harder and recruit more muscle fibers to perform the same bilateral squat movement.
Reducing your base of support with the split squat forces your abductors and core to stabilize your pelvis while in this split stance. In life and on the field of play, you often find yourself in a single leg stance, so it pays to improve this factor by training it.
Sneaky core training
When training unilaterally with split squats, you throw your body off-balance, forcing your core muscles to engage to keep yourself balanced and not fall over on your face.
Improved deadlift and squat performance
Split squats and split squat variations are arguably the best accessory exercise to improve both your bilateral squat and deadlift. When pulling from the floor or coming up from the bottom of a squat, leg drive is a key factor. Split squats with their emphasis on the quads strengthens this leg drive.
If you need to spice up your split squats for further quad gains, take these three variations out for a test drive. You can thank us later … or not.