Programming the Split Squat (part 1)

The split squat is an excellent unilateral (single leg) exercise and one of my favourite foundational movements as it allows for each leg to be trained more individually. This allows for the potential correction of any left versus right leg imbalances and a greater utilisation of the gluteus medius muscle which is integral for leg stabilisation. How I utilise it though ultimately depends on the skill of the client and the training goal.

It could be programmed initially as your primary lift but as you progress through subsequent training phases your strength and skill will increase. As such you’ll require an increase in the difficult of the exercises to start the session but you can still feature the split squat in later phases. It could simply be gradually phased out and its priority in the training program lowered to that of an accessory movement. This allows for more taxing and neurologically demanding movements to occur first whilst you’re fresh.

The split squat could be used for an athletic client as follows:

Phase 1 Program (3-4 weeks)

A1 – Split Squat 4 x 6

Phase 2 Program (3-4 weeks)

A1 – Back Squat 4 x 5

B1 – Split Squat 3 x 8

Phase 3 Program (3-4 weeks)

A1 – Jumps or Cleans 3 x 3

B1 – Back Squat 5 x 3

C1 – Split Squat 3 x 10

Click on the link below to see a more advanced version – the Front Rack Barbell Split Squat. I utilise a variety of styles but here I’m dropping straight down for a more even distribution of the weight.

Happy split squatting