The rear foot elevated split squat is believed by some prominent strength coaches to be the best squat variation. We believe all squat variations have their place in rehabilitation and return to sport, but we do acknowledge that rear foot elevated split squats confer a lot of advantages!
For example, the ability to focus on one leg at a time allows us to address side-to-side strength differences in a way that bilateral squatting doesn’t. In a bilateral squat, it’s easy to let the uninvolved limb do more work – and it might not even be all that apparent to the naked eye.
In the rear foot elevated split squat, a good rule of thumb is that the front leg should be doing about 70% of the work compared to the back leg’s 30%. Check out the exercise in action in the video below!
Compared to pure single-leg squats where the off-leg dangles, rear foot elevated split squats are less of a balance challenge since the off-leg remains a point of contact. The lesser balance requirement means we can load the exercise more. Yet another benefit is the stretch the hip flexors of the back leg get. On that point, one mistake some athletes make is adopting a split stance that’s too long.
Experiment to find the right distance between the working leg and the chair such that you feel a stretch through that the front of that hip without arching the low back. Another parameter to experiment with is the height of the elevation. Some athletes are comfortable with the chair height shown; others do better with a lower elevation (e.g. a 12-inch box). As seen in the video, this exercise can also be performed with weight, and we recommend this Yes4All Adjustable Kettlebell Weights Set, available on Amazon.
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