Strength Performance Network

Split Squatting the Right Way: Respect the Assessment

I got an e-mail from a friend of mine today asking about a discussion he and one of his colleagues had this week concerning coaching the split squat. The athlete in question seemed to have an
issue with proper hip extension and there was debate as to whether or
not he was “hanging” on his hip flexor. Now this particular company
uses the FMS liberally, but like many, it seems that there may be a
disconnect between the application of the FMS results to the program

Remember, the FMS is in place to guide your program design start to finish. The FMS is rife with intentional redundancy to serve as a safety check, and if the athlete is unable to separate his hips well, a
minimum of three screens will help detect that: the ASLR, HS, and
ILL. Thus, if an athlete truly has a limitation in hip extension/hip
separation, should we really be allowing the athlete to engage in
activities that require a minimum of extension without first
establishing the appropriate mobility to support the movement? It’s
probably not the best idea.

Additionally, I buy the idea that some athletes try to weight shift so far anteriorly believing that you should be having 80 or 90% of your weight on the front leg or they fire up the hip flexors to use a HTS
stability mechanism. It is possible that there is a lack of mobility
as well. Generally, I do not see it as being a problem if the
innominate is not rolling anteriorly and is creating a hyperlordotic
curve while split squatting (and something that has a number of facets
involved that Charlie Weingroff will talk about at length on the latest
Sports Rehab Expert Podcast). This is one of the things that you’ll
see frequently that should be altered. In the past I’ve had good
success with using the simple cue “drop yourself straight down” or
“keep a straight line from knee to ear” for those with poor
stabilization patterns and they also benefit well from taking part in
some stability work with vectors in medial and lateral directions and
the hips separated.

If we are to split squat well, we naturally need good range of motion, authentic stability, and a motor program in place. You should be using your screening to identify the presence of these qualities and
design your program based on your objective findings. There is no
point in screening athletes if you are not using the data to better
individualize programming.


Carson Boddicker

Boddicker Performance

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