FITNESS: Split squat is perfect leg excercise

April 8th, 2022 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Building leg strength takes months of training. When it finally starts to get easy … add a heavier weight! (Photo: Shutterstock)

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By Paudie O’Donovan,  Neuromuscular Physical Therapist

THE different types of exercises you can choose to do in the gym are endless.

One arm, two arm, one leg, two leg, barbells, dumbbells, machines, cables, a lot comes down to choice.

The amount of weight you lift and the number of repetitions depending on the type of muscle you want to build is also personal choice.

Do you want to get big muscles, or just add good strength to certain muscles?

Then the way you do the movement is vital, so whether it’s eccentric, concentric or isometric.

Don’t over think it. What exercises you choose and muscle groups you decide is entirely up to you. Whether it’s upper body today and lower body tomorrow or maybe a complete body workout each day. That’s the beauty of it. Like I’ve said a million times there’s nothing written in stone!

This week I want to talk about a single leg exercise and that’s the split squat. It’s different to the normal basic squat. Actually there’s front, pistol, side, wall and plié squats to name a few.  Some say there’s up to 45 different types!

Split squat

A split squat is the perfect single leg exercise. It works the hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes. Done correctly not only will it build strength but it will also enhance flexibility. Take a generous step forward in a front lunge. Once in this position the action is up and down. Do not step back up to starting position. Load the front leg with 80-90% weight. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and then press up and down. Try to perform 8-10 reps (one set) and remember to breathe out while performing the movement. Rest for one minute and do a second set


Be careful with the distance you split your legs and try to have good form in the depth. You should feel the quadriceps around both sides of your kneecap being worked. Building leg strength takes months of training.

When it starts to get easy then you can add a heavier weight.

Paudie O’Donovan is a Neuromuscular Physical Therapist  specialising in pain relief and improvement of

mobility/flexibility.  He runs a SportsInjury Clinic in Skibbereen

Follow him on Facebook, Instagram or contact him on 086-2339618

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