The split squat - the ultimate exercise for strong glutes!

The split squat - the ultimate exercise for strong glutes!

Posted in exercise

For our clients and those who know us well, the mention of the next exercise being the “split squat” sends heart rates soaring without having actually performed any movement! In this blog we will explain what split squats are, how to perform them and give you a few variations to make them even more exciting in your personal training programmes.

Our clients and admittedly us, Personal Trainers too, have a kind of hate/love relationship with the split squat. We know they are very hard and not always enjoyable, but simultaneously good for us and therefore we always give them as an effective exercise in our sessions (where appropriate).

What are split squats and why are they such an effective exercise? The split squat is a squat using a staggered stance. It is also called a Bulgarian split squat or Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (RFESS). Although it is called a single-leg exercise, it still uses both legs ( 

The split squat can be performed with the back foot on the floor (on tip toes) or the back foot on an elevation (on a stair or on a chair at home, or on a bench in the park). This exercise is an excellent way to get stronger legs and glutes which makes it a very popular functional training movement for our London based personal trainers to give to our clients. This is because it exercises the extensors (hamstrings, lower back and gluteus muscles).

Try these two variations of the split squat once you get more confident with the basic movement:

With added weights:

Add weights such as dumbbells or circular hand weights for a full body exercise using the split squats with a shoulder press. Hold 2-5kgs weights in each hand, lower into the split squat and on your way up perform a shoulder press with the weights for 15 repetitions. Rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat.

Plyometric set:

For an added challenge, go down into a split squat and on your super quick and explosive way up, add a jump! Be sure to land with control and by bending your knee as soon as your feet touch the floor to ensure a smooth transition into your next repetition.

It is always essential to perform these exercises safely and with good technique. If you are not quite sure how to get started, why not get in touch and ask our experienced personal trainers for more information and advice.

Let us know how you get on with these glute burners by emailing, tweeting or facebooking us!