The split squat is an exercise that most strength athletes hate. With the reduced support base, lighter weight than the bilateral versions, and the discomfort and pain it gives you, it's easy not to like it. Split squat and the different split squat variations fall under the things you don't want to do but need to do.
For example, regular checkups, taking out the trash or going to bed early to go to training the next day. They are all good to you, even if you may fear them a little. And if you don't avoid split squats or even split squat variations, they have great advantages alongside defined quads.
Benefits of split squats
There has to be a reason to accept the pain and discomfort of split squats. The next time you try to dissuade yourself from doing them, keep the following benefits in mind.
Split squat variations increase imbalances
With bilateral exercises, your dominant side can sometimes absorb the weakness for the weaker side. Have you ever seen a lifter struggle to lock one side over the other during an overhead press? Or lean to one side as you come up from the bottom of a squat?
By improving your strength imbalances, you reduce the risk of injury, improve lifting performance, and hopefully lift more weight with your bilateral exercises.
Split squat variations and improved muscle recruitment
Unilateral exercises like the split squat cause you to work harder and recruit more muscle fibers to perform the same bilateral squat movement.
Reducing your support base with the split squat forces your abductors and core to stabilize your pelvis in this split position. In life and on the field, one is often in a one-legged stance, so it pays to improve this factor through training.
Sneaky core training
When you do one-sided split squats, you throw your body off balance, forcing your core muscles to engage in keeping your balance and not falling on your face.
Improved deadlift and squat performance
Split squats and split squat variations are arguably the best additional exercise to improve both your bilateral squats and deadlifts. Leg drive is a key factor when pulling off the floor or getting up from a squat. Split squats with emphasis on the quadriceps increase this leg drive.
If you need to spice up your split squats for more quad wins, try these three variations for a test ride. You can thank us later … or you can not.