"Big on the Basics" Split Squat

"Big on the Basics" Split Squat

An elite lifter won’t always destroy each and every lift—even the most intense and skilled powerlifter will be injured at some point. Rather than dwell on what they cannot do, top notch athletes focus on what they can.

Train Smart

Every athlete has hopes and aspirations to get in the gym and train their ass off day in and day out. They seek to maximize their time there progressing at exceptional rates. But, life isn’t perfect and very rarely is your journey a straight line from Point A to Point B. Quite often, there are twists and turns, speed bumps and roadblocks that get in the way of optimizing your physical progress. These curveballs could be injuries, time constraints, emergencies or family issues.


Anything that can throw off your mental and physical game is a sure way to stall, or even worse, halt progress. An elite athlete knows when to step on the gas and when to apply the brakes. With this perception, he or she can make conscience decisions to “roll with the punches” with whatever life throws in the way.

Alternative Options

Elite Powerlifter Pete Rubish understands and dictates that due to a minor injury he is unable to squat. Although it is a setback to an athlete to not be able to get under the bar as he usually does, there are other alternatives available. Pete has been substituting his traditional squat motions for a Split Squat variation while he rests and recuperates his injured muscles. This ensures that he keeps moving forward (although maybe be at a slower rate) and keeps himself in the game.

Miles Away but Right at Home

At first sight, Mass wasn’t quite sure about the local Cologne gym “Simply Fitness”. It was copasetic with smooth equipment and mainstream music. Hell, it even smelled fantastic in there. While he could get the job done anywhere, it’s not his preference. Seeing the concern in his eyes, the manager showed him the downstairs—the room that not many knew about. The dungeon. And suddenly, it was like he was home.

From Bulgaria, With Love

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a quadriceps dominant exercise that targets the vastus lateralis (outer sweep). You can do it with either a barbell or holding dumbbells in each hand. As Rubish states: The dumbbells can be limiting because of the loss of grip as they get heavier and heavier. Your legs may be able to handle the load but your hands may not. One difficulty of this motion is getting properly set up. You must unrack the barbell (if using that option), plant your front foot, and then get your back foot onto an elevated platform located behind you. Blindly getting your back foot on this box or bench can be difficult and sometimes, dangerous, if you’re not careful. Once in position, you lower your body straight down and back up.

See What You’re Made Of

The Split Squat is a uni-lateral movement which means it targets one side at a time. This is in contrast to the traditional squat which bi-lateral. A bi-lateral motion can be debilitating at times because although your strength is going up, it could be one side that is making up for the weakness in the other side. This results in potential injuries due to poor alignment and development. When you perform a uni-lateral movement like a split squat, you see what muscles are doing what. You will be able to see what leg is better at balancing. Which one is stronger or which one gets tired quicker. By doing these types of motions, you will allow the weaker muscles and tendons to catch up to the stronger ones thus rendering a more sound and balanced physique that will translate to an overall better traditional lift.