The most common complaint with the rear-foot-elevated split squat (other than it being a brutal exercise that can leave you waddling the day after): Feeling a straining sensation, or discomfort, in the hip flexor or quad of the elevated leg.
The discomfort may likely be caused by three potential problems, all are thankfully easy to fix.
Watch this quick video to fix your rear-foot-elevated split squat.
Possible problem 1) The bench or platform the rear foot is resting on is too high.
If you feel pain in your hip flexor or quads, try using a lower bench or platform. If a lower surface isn’t available, elevate the front foot a few inches by standing on a weight plate or sturdy platform.
Possible problem 2) Your front foot is too far in front of the bench.
If the front foot is too far forward, this could be why you feel a strain in your hip flexor, because it’s in a stretched position as you squat down. Simply bring the front foot back a few inches until you no longer feel the discomfort. Focus on lowering the knee of the rear leg straight down, and not back. Look at the photo at the top of this article for an idea of how you can aim for your split squat to look in the bottom position.
There’s nothing wrong or “dangerous” about the knee going forward over the toes. Just make sure the front foot is flat on the ground — toes and heel shouldn’t rise off the ground. Keep in mind everyone has different limb lengths too. If you have long femurs, like I do, then your knee will likely travel further forward over the foot than someone with short femurs.
Possible problem 3) You’re driving the rear foot down into the bench.
This one is quite common, and trainees often do it without realizing it: They drive the back foot down and into the bench to assist the front leg. Don’t do that. Try to make the front leg do all the work — have the rear foot resting lightly on the bench or platform.
What if rear-foot-elevated split squats cause knee pain?
This too may have a simple fix. First, be sure to distribute your weight evenly across the front foot. Don’t roll forward onto your toes or back on your heel. No part of your foot should come off the ground as you perform the exercise.
Another possible issue that can cause knee pain is lowering too quickly. Lower down slower, under control, for every rep. Take a solid 2-3 seconds to lower down, then smoothly reverse the motion to stand back up. Don’t “bounce” out of the bottom.
Related Articles You’ll Enjoy
- Learn to Lift: The Beginner Guide to Strength Training
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