When was the final time you probably did a dumbbell break up squat? 

In the event you’re unfamiliar with this train (or not doing it usually), it’s possible you’ll be lacking out. 

It’s so efficient as a result of it lets you practice your whole decrease physique one leg at a time. This helps you construct balanced measurement and power and probably enhances athletic efficiency. 

Furthermore, you possibly can carry out it virtually wherever utilizing no matter tools you will have accessible, making it a extremely adaptable lower-body train you possibly can carry out wherever and nonetheless you want. 

On this article, you’ll be taught what the break up squat is, why it’s useful, which muscle mass it really works, tips on how to carry out it with correct kind, keep away from frequent errors, and embrace it in your program, the very best alternate options, and extra. 

Table of Contents

What Is A Break up Squat?

The dumbbell break up squat is a lower-body train.

To carry out this train, seize a dumbbell (or kettlebell) in every hand and step ahead with one foot. Bend each knees, reducing your physique till the knee of your rear leg brushes the ground, then stand again up.

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Split Squat: Benefits

1. It trains your entire lower body.

The split squat trains your whole decrease physique, together with your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves

It additionally mimics actions we make in on a regular basis life (e.g., climbing stairs, stepping over objects, and working). Therefore, the break up squat can assist make each day actions simpler by strengthening the muscle mass concerned in these actions.

2. It trains your decrease physique unilaterally.

The break up squat is a unilateral train, which suggests it lets you practice one aspect of your physique at a time. 

That is useful as a result of unilateral workouts . . .

  • Might allow you to elevate extra complete weight than some bilateral workouts (workouts that practice either side of the physique on the identical time), probably helping you achieve extra muscle over time
  • Assist you develop a higher mind-muscle connection along with your quads, glutes, and hamstrings since you solely must deal with a single leg at a time
  • Assist you appropriate muscle imbalances as a result of either side of your physique are pressured to elevate the identical quantity of weight (one aspect can’t “take over” from the opposite)
  • Improve a number of facets of your athletic efficiency greater than bilateral workouts, together with leaping, agility, and pace

3. It’s extremely adaptable.

The break up squat doesn’t require a squat rack, machine, or bench, so you possibly can carry out it just about wherever, whether or not on the health club, at dwelling, or in a resort room whereas touring. 

Moreover, you possibly can add resistance to the break up squat utilizing any tools you will have accessible, together with dumbbells, kettlebells, a barbell, or resistance bands. And if in case you have none of those at hand, you should use simply your physique weight.

In different phrases, the break up squat is an adaptable train for coaching your decrease physique, wherever and nonetheless you select to train.

Break up Squat: Muscle groups Labored

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Calves

Right here’s how these muscle mass look in your physique:

split squat muscles worked

Split Squat: Form

The best way to learn how to do a split squat with proper form is to split the exercise into three parts: set up, descend, and squat.

strength training

1. Set up

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and let your arms hang at your sides. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, your chest up, and your shoulders back, then step 2-to-3 feet forward with your right foot. 

2. Descend

Lower your body by bending both knees until your left knee touches the floor and your right thigh is parallel to the floor. As you descend, keep your upper body upright and allow the heel on your left foot to come off the floor.

3. Squat

Reverse the motion by pushing through your front heel to straighten your legs and return to the start position. Once you’ve performed the desired number of reps, switch legs and repeat the process. 

Here’s how it should look when you put it all together:

split squat form

Split Squat: Common Mistakes

1. Taking an overly narrow stance.

Having your feet almost in line with each other can make balancing more difficult. Avoid this by ensuring your feet stay about hip-width apart throughout the exercise. 

2. Bouncing your knee off the floor. 

Descending too quickly can cause you to bounce your knee off the floor. 

While it might make the exercise feel easier, it can increase injury risk and prevent your legs from working as hard, robbing you of muscle and strength gain.

3. Stepping too far forward.

Taking an overly long stride during the set-up can make the split squat uncomfortable and balancing more challenging.

To avoid this, only step 2-to-3 feet forward when setting up.

How to Include the Split Squat in Your Program

Include the split squat toward the end of your lower-body or leg workouts after your main bilateral exercises. Here’s an example of how you might do this:

If you like the look of this workout and want a strength training program for your entire body, check out my fitness books for men and women, Bigger Leaner Stronger or Thinner Leaner Stronger.

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The Best Split Squat Alternatives

1. Barbell Split Squat

dumbbell split squat

Using a barbell instead of dumbbells for the split squat allows you to lift heavy weights because you aren’t limited by your grip strength, which is generally better for gaining muscle and strength. 

The downsides are that it’s not as easy to drop the weight if you lose balance, and it places the load on your back, which may not be suitable for those with back issues. 

2. Bulgarian Split Squat

split squat

The only difference between the Bulgarian and regular split squats is that the former involves raising your rear foot on a bench or box.

Elevating your rear leg places more weight on your front foot, which means the Bulgarian split squat works your muscle mass barely extra. 

That stated, the break up squat calls for much less coordination and stability, making it a extra appropriate alternative for newbie weightlifters or these recovering from accidents.

3. ATG Break up Squat

split squats

The ATG break up squat is basically a daily break up squat carried out by means of an extended vary of movement

Within the ATG (“ass-to-grass”) break up squat, you decrease your physique so far as doable and push your entrance knee over the prime of your foot, inflicting your entrance leg’s hamstring and calf to fulfill. Some specialists consider this makes the ATG break up squat extremely efficient for gaining quad power, bettering flexibility, and creating injury-resistant knees. 

Keep in mind the ATG model requires a level of flexibility many lack. If so for you, a great workaround is to raise your entrance leg and place a wedge below your foot.

+ Scientific References