The Split Squat: How to Build Muscle and Avoid Common Mistakes

Updated: 20 hours ago



The split squat is a simple but highly effective lower-body exercise that can be used to build muscle and improve strength. In this article, we will discuss the muscle-building aspects of the split squat and how to perform the exercise. We will also focus on the exercise variations and the common mistakes people make.


Before we dive in: check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


What muscles does the split squat work?

The split squat works the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. It is a compound exercise that also helps improve balance and coordination. This exercise also works the stabilizer muscles, which are important for injury prevention.


The advantages of this exercise over other lower-body exercises are that it is a great exercise for beginners and can be done with little to no equipment. The split squat can also be progressed by adding weight, which makes it an ideal exercise for people of all fitness levels.


How to perform a split squat?

There are many variations of the split squat, but the most common is the dumbbell split squat. To do this variation, start by holding a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length. Place your left foot approximately two feet in front of your right foot. Lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the ground and your right knee is close to the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.


Certain cues to be aware of are to keep your chest up, squeeze your glutes, and not let your knees cave in.


Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing split squats is not lowering their bodies far enough. This can lead to joint pain and decreased muscle activation. Another common mistake is not keeping their chest up, which can cause lower back pain. Finally, people often let their knees cave in, which puts unnecessary stress on the knee joint.


To avoid these mistakes, be sure to lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is close to the ground. Keep your chest up and squeeze your glutes throughout the entire movement. Do not let your knees cave in, but keep them in line with your ankles.



Variations of the Split Squat


Variation #1: Barbell Split Squat

The barbell split squat is a variation of the split squat that uses a barbell instead of dumbbells. This variation is great for people who want to add more weight to their split squats.


To perform this variation:

  • Start by placing a bench next to a barbell.

  • Place your left foot on the bench and hold the barbell with both hands at shoulder-width apart.

  • Lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the ground and your right knee is close to the ground.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.



Variation #2: Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat is a variation of the split squat that targets the quads more than the hamstrings. This variation is great for people who want to focus on building their quads.


To perform this variation:

  • Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand.

  • Place your right foot on a bench behind you and your left foot approximately two feet in front of your right foot.

  • Lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the ground and your right knee is close to the ground.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.


The Bulgarian split squat can also be done with a barbell. To do this variation:

  • Start by placing a barbell in a rack at about hip height.

  • Place your right foot on a bench behind you and your left foot approximately two feet in front of your right foot.

  • Grab the bar with an overhand grip and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the ground and your right knee is close to the ground.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.


Variation #3: Zercher (Front Loaded) Split Squat

The Zercher split squat is a variation of the split squat that targets the quads more than the hamstrings. This variation is great for people who want to focus on building their quads.


To perform this variation:

  • Start by holding a barbell in the crease of your elbows in front of your chest.

  • Place your feet approximately two feet apart.

  • Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is close to the ground.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.


The Zercher split squat can also be done with dumbbells. To do this variation:

  • Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length.

  • Place your feet approximately two feet apart.

  • Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is close to the ground.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.


Variation #4: Overhead Split Squat

The overhead split squat is a variation of the split squat that targets the shoulders and quads. This variation is great for people who want to focus on building their shoulders and quads.


To perform this variation:

  • Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length overhead.

  • Place your feet approximately two feet apart.

  • Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is close to the ground.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.


The overhead split squat can also be done with a barbell. To do this variation:

  • Start by holding a barbell in each hand at arm's length overhead.

  • Place your feet approximately two feet apart.

  • Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is close to the ground.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.



Summary

There are many variations of the split squat that can be done to target different muscle groups. Choose the variation that is best for you and your goals. Be sure to lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is close to the ground. Keep your chest up and squeeze your glutes throughout the entire movement. Do not let your knees cave in, but keep them in line with your ankles. Perform the exercise with proper form to avoid joint pain and decreased muscle activation. Use the tips in this article to help you master the split squat and build muscle.


For a complete routine, check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


0 comments