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How to Do a Split Squat

Learn how to do a split squat in this Howcast video about physical therapy exercises for the knees.


Hi, my name is Eric Sampson and I want to talk a little bit about how to do a split squat. Split squats are a very high level exercise used in the exercise population, as well as the rehab population and physical therapy clinic. It's considered a closed chain exercise, just like your traditional squats meaning your feet are on the ground and your ankle, hip, knee all have to work together to complete the task.

It's a much more challenging exercise, because it involves a lot of coordination of the three joints, as well as your trunk and your core to complete it. There's a couple of things you really have to worry about with a split squat. This is what I want to demonstrate now. So come on in to a split squat position. Like a traditional squat, you're going to worry about one important feature and that is the knee position, as you're lowering yourself down.

The knee should not translate forward over your toes all right, but rather stay behind the toes. This will ensure that you're using your muscles of your leg optimally and you're not putting undo pressure or stress on the knee joint itself. The other factor that you want to worry about in a split squat is your position of your trunk and shoulders. You want to try and stay as tall as you can while you're completing the exercise.

If you let your trunk lay too far forward, you're going to lose one extra factor with this stretch, and that is the ability to stretch out your hip flexor on the leg behind you, which is a great feature of this exercise. This is something that I recommend for the exercise population, to do two to three sets of ten on alternating days, but also for the running population. It's a great way to get on with this exercise just before running. You can accomplish a lot by doing just 10 repetitions on each side.

Again, you're going to be stretching your hip flexor, as well as strengthening and warming up your leg muscles. So a split squat easily can be progressed by doing it with hand weights or doing more repetitions or holding it longer in this position. So a great high level exercise, a great closed chain exercise. Something that you want to consider doing though, once the pain and some of the range of motion problems have been taken care of already, and that's the split squat.

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