- You can use a bench, step, box or do this from the floor.
- Take a short lunge stance. Your feet will be closer together than a traditional lunge.
- Allow your torso to lean forward slightly as you sit down.
- Sit down as far as you can while maintaining good technique.
- Do not allow your front knee to move forward beyond your toes.
- Press strongly into your front leg as you come up to stand. 70-80% of your effort should come from your front leg.
- Repeat all repetitions on one leg before going to the other side.
- Your front knee should remain steadily pointing forward. Do not allow it to wiggle or drift in toward the midline. If you cannot keep your front knee stable, it might mean that you need additional lateral hip stability or greater foot and ankle alignment and stability. See the Pelvic Teeter Totter, Clamshell and Kidney Bean Feet exercises to help with this.
- You can do this movement from the floor, a bench, with weight, or with a combination of these variables. Choose a setup that allows you to perform 5 - 10 repetitions each leg. You should feel challenged, but still be able to maintain good technique.
- If you need balance assistance, perform this exercise next to a wall where you can hold on until you get stronger
The Split Squat is one of the first single leg variations that I teach when working with a new client. This is a great exercise for learning how to balance and generate power in a split stance. I find that most people can easily do a variation of this exercise, even those with knee joint pain and tissue damage.
Do NOT keep your torso perpendicular to the floor as in the picture below. A vertical torso is not optimal.
Remember to sink your body down toward the floor, NOT forward. Do you see how my knee is moving way out in front of my toes in the picture below? In this instance my momentum is going forward and not down. You want to move your body down.
Do NOT allow the knee of your front leg collapse toward the midline as in the picture below.
To return to the starting position, push strongly down into your front foot. Remember to keep 70% of your weight in your front leg. This is mostly a single leg exercise. The back leg is acts more like a kickstand helping with balance than a participant in force production.
Once you master this movement, try the Alternating Reverse Lunge.
Enjoy and keep moving!